We've been sold short.
It's not true.
Worship is not a lifestyle.
Your lifestyle could be Worshipful, but Worship is not a lifestyle.
Perhaps I should explain...
I can see how we got there. In the words of Matt Redman "I'll give you more than a song, for a song in itself is not what you have required."
In fact, tonight, at band communion, one guy shared his impression of this song. He said that he didn't know the song particularly well but that it made him think specifically about what the music finishes (fades) on a Sunday and we all go back to our lives, that it's '...all about you...' and I've never heard anyone interpret the song like that before. I really liked it. That is why I love other people (well, one of the reasons.) Onwards.
So, the thinking goes that Worship had to be more than singing, which is right. I just think we've plumped for the wrong solution to the problem we all face.
We all want to figure out this relationship on offer from God. It's mind blowing, so we have to have a system. Across history different people have tried different ways; from retreating from the world to trying to embrace all of it. Getting the balance right is very difficult. 'Worship' seems to be another one. 'It's close, but it's not right!' to quote the legendary Roy Walker.
Anyway, back to worship. Worship is simply not enough. Yet it is actually very inviting, it seems like we can achieve it and it can be guilt free!
Prayer on the other hand could be a lifestyle. Following Jesus is definitely a lifestyle. Both can cause the greatest guilt in us sometimes, whether we think we're doing well or not. Maybe that's why we choose Worship so easily. Then we can just let Worship be 'music' if we want and opt out. And back in again... It can be costly or without cost at all. Sometimes, we just don't want to pay the price, so we don't.
If your starting point is 'Prayer is a lifestyle' and that's how you lived, then I believe that you would see fruit coming from that lifestyle choice like thanksgiving, service, praise, discernment, joy, worship... Nirvana really had it right when they sang "Come as you are..." and it is this that we miss so often in prayer. We try to pray about the things we think we should pray about, rather than the things that are actually on our hearts. No wonder we struggle so much then. Prayer needs to be where we come as we are, pray how we are and pray for the things we think and feel at the time. God wants us how we are now, in order to lead us forward. Jesus modelled this time and time again, meeting people where they were, maybe up a tree or maybe by a well. If we accept this, we can be released from guilt, because there is no success or failure. Simply choosing to be with God, or choosing not to be.
Some would say that learning to Worship in all life's circumstances is the same sort of thing, but it comes to this: Worship should be one way. From us to God. It is about Him, not us. Prayer should be two way; a dialogue.
I think this is what God's really teaching me right now. God has been asking OG 'Will you Love me?' for some time. I think I need to re-arrange thing to get them back in the right order.
So I choose to learn what 'Prayer is a lifestyle' can teach me about following the One I love.