Worship Without Words

Something unusual happened in church this past Sunday. Before the service, an announcement was made that the projector for the large screen was not working so the congregation would have no words projected for the songs we sang. We had to worship without words.

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true spiritual worship

The first song we sang was a song I had heard before, but I only knew one line from its chorus.

As the song began, I felt a flood of emotion. First, I realized how familiar this moment felt to me. I am often a part of worship times where I do not have the words to the songs because they are written in Arabic. Everyone around me is singing and worshiping God, and I will have no idea what they are singing.

While the words to songs can be inspiring and moving, they are not essential for the worship of God. Romans 12 says true spiritual worship is when we present ourselves to God as a “living, holy sacrifice.” When we engage in that practice, we are able to worship God without words.

sing your own words

Remember the story Jesus told about two brothers who were told by their father to go work in the fields. One brother said he would, but did not go. The other said he would not, but then repented and went. Jesus said the second brother is who did the will of the father, and he is the one who honored his father. Our words are important, but they are far from being our sole means of worshipping God.

One way to worship God without words is to sing your own words authentically. We can sing our praise, adoration, and love to Jesus, in the free, spontaneous expression of our heart. It may not fit the music perfectly, but I believe it is melodious to God, nevertheless.

We actually do not need words at all as we can even worship with our bodies.

We can lift our hands or move our bodies without words of any kind.

We can even make our lack of understanding an act of worship. Our willingness to simply be gladly present in a time that means much to others and has no benefit to us, can be a sacrifice of praise to God.

This past Sunday was a Sunday in which we did not have the words to the worship songs. It was a wonderful opportunity for us to worship more deeply than we often do. I almost wish I had not known three of the four songs so well. Worship without words can be powerful!