Have you ever gone to church or to a worship event and felt like everyone was experiencing God but you?
I’ve been a Christian for over five years now and it’s been a journey of learning to pray, worship and spend time with God.
Once, I went to a worship night at my church. I was pumped. Ready to praise and connect with God.
But as the evening went on, everyone seemed to be being stirred by the spirit apart from me. I watched as many started having powerful encounters, speaking in tongues, some lay down on the floor. I closed my eyes and prayed that I would be able to have the same experience. I wanted to be overwhelmed by His presence.
But I honestly wasn’t feeling it.
This is something I think we can feel ashamed of, but some of my closest friends have admitted to me that they too can sometimes struggle to connect with God in worship.
So what do we do about this?
1. DON’T BEAT YOURSELF UP
That night, I felt frustrated and honestly a little defeated, which is exactly the opposite of what I should have been feeling as I was praising God.
After about half an hour of trying to force a connection that I couldn’t feel, I simply sat down on the floor and closed my eyes. I didn’t pray for a while. I just sat and listened, allowing the words to fill my spirit.
I finally felt peaceful and began to enjoy the experience. I realised that I had been so focused on trying to connect with God that I hadn’t actually allowed Him in. I had been questioning what I was doing wrong, what trick I was missing, rather than turning my attention to all that He is.
I focused on what I was lacking rather than what He was offering.
Relax and allow Him to whisper into your spirit.
2. GIVE THE DISTRACTIONS TO HIM
In order to hear Him talk, we do actually have to be listening. I am the first to admit that in worship I sometimes can’t help but think about something someone said to me earlier that day or a deadline I’d been putting off. My mind wanders.
Instead of allowing these wandering thoughts to get the best of us, why not try to be honest about our distraction and lift it up to Him, instead of pretending it doesn’t happen?
It’s likely that whatever is diverting our attention is something that’s causing us some kind of anxiety. Worship is the time to bring these distractions to God rather than ignore them.
3. GO BACK TO BASICS
Sometimes there are verses or particular lyrics that move us, and that’s great. God inspires those lyrics.
But the one thing that should never fail to stir us is the love story of Jesus dying for us. The story is beautifully simple but we can sometimes lose sight of it.
There is so much to learn and discuss when it comes to the Bible, but we must never forget the power of the gospel.
4. REMIND YOURSELF THAT HE SHOWS UP
“Ask and it will be given to you; seek and you will find; knock and the door will be opened to you.” Matthew 7:7
When we fully believe with all our heart that God is present, the way we worship changes. We stop trying to force an experience and allow Him to give us an authentic one. It takes the pressure off, knowing that we don’t have to twist His arm to spend time with us. He wants to meet with us.
If you are struggling to feel God’s presence, why not strip back your faith to its very core and whisper these words over yourself? Breathe them in and take some time to let their power move you:
Jesus was abused, rejected, mocked, and hated by many.
He was nailed to a cross.
He died and took the weight of our sin on His back.
He rose again.
We can now enter into a relationship with God and live in freedom.
You were lost.
Jesus called you by name.
You became found.
We don’t have to kick up a fuss to get God’s attention. When He feels distant, He is still working things for our good. He hears and knows us. So relax, draw close to Him, and allow Him to talk.
“You will seek me and find me when you seek me with all your heart.” Jeremiah 29:13
This article was written by Ella Connolly who is an English and Drama student at Exeter University in the UK. She is an avid reader and writes even more, blogging about faith, life and crafts at Ella’s Scribbles.