What to Do When You Don’t Feel Like Worshiping
I waited patiently for the Lord; he turned to me and heard my cry. He lifted me out of the slimy pit, out of the mud and mire; he set my feet on a rock and gave me a firm place to stand. He put a new song in my mouth, a hymn of praise to our God. Many will see and fear the Lord and put their trust in him.
~ Psalm 40:1-3 (NIV)
We’re singing the hymns and praise songs, listening to the preaching and fellowshipping with other believers. But something is missing from this worship service. There’s an absence of genuine emotion, a lack of real feeling. The usual awe and gratitude that accompanies worship is replaced by emptiness.
What can we do in times like this when we don’t feel like worshiping God?
Don’t try to fake it—There is a common admonition to “fake it til you make it,” to act as if you feel something until you actually begin to feel it. But God doesn’t want this type of faux worship (see Matthew 15:7–8). We can neither ignore our emotions nor act as if we are feeling something toward God that we are not.
Clarify our emotions—Sometimes the issue is not that we don’t feel anything, but rather that we are overcome by other strong emotions. For instance, if we have recently experienced loss or grief, we might not feel like singing songs of praise. In such situations the answer could be to find other ways to commune with God, such as fasting.
Confess our sin—If we feel cold toward God, it could be a sign of hidden sin that needs to be confessed. Examine your heart and repent of any behavior that might be causing you to distance yourself from the Lord.
Wait patiently for God—David likely found himself in such a situation at the beginning of Psalm 40. But he “waited patiently for the Lord” (verse 1) until God “put a new song in [his] mouth, a hymn of praise to our God” (verse 3). As Steve Fuller explains, “The Hebrew word [for waiting] does not mean passive waiting; it means eager seeking. It means taking the steps that God has promised to use to help us, while trusting him expectantly to work.”*
Seek God by turning to him in prayer, reading Scripture and meditating on his Word. Recognize that, like David, if you wait on God, he will in due course pull you from the mire and put a new song in your mouth.
When we don’t feel like worshiping, we can examine ourselves, confess our sins and wait patiently for the Lord.
Father, I praise You today for all that You have done in my life. You are faithful even when I am faithless. Your love pursues me even when I am unlovable. Your forgiveness covers my sin and frees me from its penalty. I praise You for your love and faithfulness to me. Your presence in my life changes everything, empowering me to live each moment of every day, content in knowing You are in control. As I face today, Lord, remind me that no matter what happens, I can praise You! In Jesus' Name, Amen.In Jesus,
* Steve Fuller, “When You Don’t Feel Like Worshiping,” Desiring God, August 24, 2014, http://www.desiringgod.org/articles/when-you-don-t-feel-like-worshiping.
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Scripture taken from the Holy Bible, New International Version®, NIV® Copyright ©1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc.® Used by permission. All rights reserved worldwide. Devotion taken from NIV Lifehacks Bible.
When we don’t feel like worshiping...