Open, Honest Worship


by Edwina Cowgill, Contributor

I love praise and worship music. I always have my car radio on a Christian station, preferably satellite, which plays non-stop music. Many days at work, I listen to praise and worship music. When I write, I’ll often have music playing in the background.

Worship music does for me what water does for a thirsty person. It quenches my thirst. It relieves my parched soul. It gives me strength, takes my mind off me and my problems and focuses it back where it should be: on the Almighty God.

The Bible commands that we praise God. “Shout for joy to the LORD, all the earth. Worship the Lord with gladness; come before him with joyful songs” (Psalm 100:1-2 NIV). God doesn’t say we have to be a soloist, an opera singer, a star recording artist. He says, “Shout for joy . . . .”

If you’re still hesitant to sing in church, perhaps you can relate to this translation of Psalm 100: 1-2 from Eugene Peterson’s The Message:

“On your feet now—applaud God! Bring a gift of laughter, sing yourselves into his presence.”

Worship is far more than just praise and worship songs, far more than singing or playing a musical instrument. We were created to worship God and not just through song. Everything we do should be an act of worship to Him. And the more honest, open, and vulnerable we are, the more authentic our worship.

Authentic worship is what Amy Grant is conveying in the song, “Better Than a Hallelujah.” When I first heard this song, I had to listen closely because I thought the writer really missed the mark with:

“God loves a lullaby in a mothers tears . . . a drunkard’s cry . . . . “

You’re kidding, right?

“. . . the tears of shame . . . the silence when the words won’t come . . . .”

God thinks these things are “better than a Hallelujah sometimes”?

I didn’t get it—until she got to the chorus:

“We pour out our miseries,
God just hears a melody.
Beautiful the mess we are,
The honest cries of breaking hearts
Are better than a Hallelujah.”

God wants us to be honest and open with Him. But doesn’t He already know what we’re going through, how we feel? Of course He does. He wants us to be honest with Him because it benefits us. As we openly share our feelings with Him, we realize there is no retaliation from God. No name calling; no being treated as if we are the lowly tadpoles in the bottom of the pond.

As we come to understand that God will not reject us because we are a mess, we learn that we are accepted and loved unconditionally. So the next time you think your life is a mess, remember that God would rather you come to Him openly and honestly. Be Bold! (Ephesians 3:12 NIV) Approach Him just as you are. He will extend His arms and welcome you!

Used by Permission, Copyright 2017 Edwina E. Cowgill, All Rights Reserved
“Better Than A Hallelujah,” by Sara Hart and Chapin Hartford, River Oaks Music Company Copyright 2010

About Edwina E. Cowgill:

Edwina has written over 600 blog posts, published several short stories, and this summer released her memoir, Abandoned Into the Heart of God, under her pen name, Alexandria Bagnell.

She serves as the co-facilitator for the local writers group and is currently working on two books, writing under her own name. Edwina is also on staff of a 500+ member church and works part time for a local university in the School of Theology.

Edwina is married, has two adult children, one grandson, and a Corgi who rules the house! She would love to hear from you at

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s