I love listening to worship music. In our household, my husband and I are always playing some type of Christian music - instrumental, indie, acoustic, rap... you name it.
There is a special anointing that God puts upon these songwriters to take inspiration from biblical principles, pair them with a melody, and create a beautifully sacred moment for anyone to praise their Creator in.
It doesn't matter how musically talented you are; we all have the opportunity to use the very breath in our lungs to bless and honor the One who is worthy of it all.
As we cry out with all of creation with eager hope at the coming of Jesus (Romans 8:22-23), we experience a small part of what it will be like to praise the Lamb for all eternity.
Yet, as I shuffle my Spotify worship playlist throughout the day, I must confess that I don't always pay attention to the words as I should.
While the melodies still keep my spirit in a tender place and are certainly a better alternative to the current playlists of the world, I realize there are times that I press play because I don't want to be left in the silence.
Perhaps there are times that I rely on the words from the secret place moments between the Holy Spirit and the songwriter to be what steward my secret place moments too.
Can anyone else relate to this?
Now, this isn't to say we should cut out worship music from our daily life, nor remove them from our secret place time with the Lord.
I've lost count of the times worship songs have led me into a tender heart-to-heart moment with the Lord or I've encountered a song that the Holy Spirit used to speak into a situation in my life.
What we need is to not be satisfied with the spiritual wells dug by others to be the main source for our relationship with God.
We can't allow the praises written by others to be the only "prayers" we pray today. Can they supplement them? Absolutely!
But worship songs, YouTube sermons, or a one-page morning devotional cannot be seen as an acceptable replacement to our individual time with God.
The conversations between God and another person cannot be the only dialogue we have with Our Creator. We need to dig our own wells.
The Purpose of Digging Wells
Some of you have not dug a well with the Lord before, so I want to take a moment to define this more.
Digging a well refers to the spiritual work that all believers put into cultivating a deep relationship with God. As we dig deeper, we are able to hold a larger capacity for the Living Water in our lives to draw from.
It is in the sacred moments alone with the Holy Spirit, reading the Word and spending time in communion with Him, that we build an authentic relationship. We loosen our grip on the things of this world to cling to the One that matters most.
Without experiencing these defining moments that draw us closer in friendship with God, we lose precious opportunities to learn more about Him, His character, and His promises.
These moments are the beautiful history that comes with any friendship. Yet, unlike any other relationship in the world, they are also the moments that have the power to transform us to become more like Jesus.
Ultimately, digging the well is the tool God uses to refine us. As we dig deeper, we lose ourselves to find the One we've given our lives to know. As we commune with God and learn more about Him, His Living Water rushes over us - refreshing our souls and equipping us to go out into the world as His faithful stewards of the Good News.
Our time preparing in the secret place - the moments digging and allowing God to soften the soil of our hearts - is the life source we draw from to complete the tasks we are assigned to complete in our lives.
Preparing our Hearts with Praise
Praise is an integral part of how we approach God. In Psalm 100:4 it says, "Enter his gates with thanksgiving; go into his courts with praise. Give thanks to him and praise his name."
The purpose of praise is to fix our eyes on who God is and what He has done for us. We prepare our hearts by stripping ourselves of distractions, humbling ourselves as we magnify God, and offering our very breath as a sacrifice. These are moments to prepare ourselves to rest in the Presence of God.
And, especially in moments where it is easier to skip this time with God or it is hard to find a reason to praise, we have an opportunity to dig our well even deeper.
A conviction and hunger to dig deep - despite our feelings or outward circumstances tempting us to fill ourselves with something other than God - is the catalyst for a deeper relationship with Him.
If you haven't begun to dig your well with God, I want to encourage you to start today. Whether you've been living off the water from someone else's spiritual well or you've never experienced what it means to drink from the Living Water, I invite you to answer the knock on your heart from the Lord. If you open the door, He is faithful to enter and make His home in you (John 14:23).
Six Practical Prayer Pointers
My goal is to make these big topics become places for us to practically grow in daily. Here are six pointers for closing the distance between your praise and prayer life and how you can begin digging your well with God.
1. Prepare the Way
Everyone's secret place looks different (for some, it even depends on the day). Wherever or whenever you choose to spend time in prayer, do your best to create a distraction-free zone. Put your phone on silent, grab your Bible, and set aside time to intentionally seek God.
2. Start with Purpose
When you begin your time of prayer, it's important to come knowing the purpose. Are you there to dig a well and commune with Him? Are you praying for a specific cause on your heart? Are you asking for understanding of a specific passage you're reading?
Spend a few moments to know your purpose (there can be multiple!) and share that in prayer. We don't always have to come with a specific purpose (sometimes it is simply to be still in God's Presence), but it's helpful to identity this so you can stay focused.
When we have a laundry list of prayer requests, questions, and feelings, it can be overwhelming. Breaking things down keeps us from getting distracted by our thoughts.
3. Begin to Praise
Begin to praise God! You can list out things you are thankful for, play a song or two and sing along, read a Psalm, or sing out your own song.
Make this time intentional, truly reflecting on who God is and what He has done for you. If you have a hard time starting this, begin by listing off things you're thankful for like your home, health, family, car, etc. Start small, think simple, and you'll realize how blessed you are!
4. Confess in Repentance
As humans, we are flawed and tempted daily to sin. As you prepare to pray, take a moment to identify if there is anything you need to repent for. God is holy, and we are called to be holy as He is (1 Peter 1:15). In humility, approach the throne of grace with a repentant heart, knowing that the blood of Jesus atones for every sin we have (or will) commit.
Cleansing ourselves from sin allows us to better connect with God. Oftentimes, when we are living with sins like unforgiveness or bitterness, our hearts harden and are unable to connect with God as we normally would.
5. Lay out Petitions
Going back to your purpose, spend time talking to God about it. Share your heart on the issue - be fully vulnerable with Him and what your struggles are. Ask for His wisdom and provision in the situation. Search the Scripture for His promises and ask that you'd experience them!
Remember that this is your Father that you're talking to. While He already knows what you're dealing with, He wants to hear from you. Prayer is a gift given to us so we can co-labor and directly communicate with Him. The veil of the Old Covenant is torn by Jesus, and we now speak directly with the Father in the New Covenant.
For the times of simply spending time with God, I love to flip through Scripture. Spend time meditating on His Word or simply being still (which is a spiritual discipline all on its own).
6. Position for His Presence
As you seek Him, know that He shows Himself to those who search for Him. Encountering His Presence doesn't always look like an important revelation or a strong upper room-like wind. Many times, it looks like finding a passage in Scripture that resonates with you.
Sometimes, nothing changes in what you've prayed about, yet you leave your secret place feeling peace, refreshment, and filled with a new measure of faith. There are even times you'll end your time feeling nothing at all. These are all normal!
The key is to position yourself for His Presence, knowing that He is with you and hears you no matter what you "feel." Feelings are made by God and are good, but we cannot rely only on our feelings to determine if we've been in the Presence of God. His Presence is many times marked in a way that is unseen by us in the moment, but soon we will see His finger prints over our hearts as we invite Him to prune our branches to bear His good fruit.
No matter the outcome, we must approach our time with God with an expectation that we will meet with Him. How that happens, and to what degree we're aware of it, is up to Him.
Start Digging: Ending in Prayer
As you follow these steps and habitually invest in time in the secret place with God, you will start to dig your own well. You will start to see yourself growing closer to Him and becoming more like Jesus. You'll find yourself becoming more sensitive to the Holy Spirit throughout the day, and, my prayer is that you'll become hungrier for His Word!
Let me pray for you today.
Lord, I pray that we grow a conviction to dig our own wells with you. Let us not be satisfied by the water coming from someone else's well - build within us a hunger to have a deep, authentic relationship with you.
Help us to be mindful of moments to rest in your presence. Grow in us a desire to spend time in prayer daily. In the moments that we dig at hard ground, fill us with the strength and grace we need to persevere - understanding that digging deep with you is the most rewarding thing we can do in our lives.
When other responsibilities and distractions tempt us to skip out on time with you, remind us that as we seek your Kingdom first, everything else will fall into its rightful place.
Thank you, Lord, for allowing us to commune and speak directly with you. May we never forget what a gift it is. In your name we pray, amen.