A few years back I was diagnosed with having acute anxiety, after experiencing a sudden onset of panic attacks that came completely out of the blue.
The anxiety was debilitating and stopped me from doing a lot of simple, everyday things that we take for granted. I lived in a constant state of fear and panic until I reached the end of my rope.
That night marked the beginning of the process to my complete healing and the next few months went like a blur as I spent night after night, alone with Jesus.
God’s presence was so strong during those moments. It was amazingly intense, addictive and all I wanted to do was just be alone with Jesus and be in His presence.
I’d never experienced anything like it and discovered that though I was at my absolute weakest & lowest point, Jesus was enough for me.
This went on for quite a few months and my decision had been made, “What was the point in worshipping in a church, when I had discovered this personal worship, where it was just me & Jesus?”
I’d made up my mind and decided I wasn’t going to go back to leading worship or even be part of the worship team. I’d got something better!
One night and weeks later as I worshipped alone at home, I felt like God was speaking to me and was asking me to come out of hiding. He’d filled me up and now it was time to pour back out.
I got cross at first and felt like I was happy to stay as I was but I also knew in my heart that isolating myself wasn’t what God wanted for me. God was calling me to lead His people into His presence.
Soon after I got invited to lead worship at a conference and although I hesitated at first, I agreed and realised that this was what God wanted. It was during that time that God completely changed my heart and showed me the importance of corporate worship.
There were people of all ages and backgrounds, people who may not have necessarily got on with each other in day to day life, but these people had gathered together, as one, to lift up the name of Jesus. This was powerful and the presence of God was extremely evident.
Psalm 133:1-3 says this:
How good and pleasant it is when God’s people live together in unity! It is like precious oil poured on the head, running down on the beard, running down on Aaron’s beard, down on the collar of his robe. It is as if the dew of Hermon were falling on Mount Zion. For there the Lord bestows his blessing, even life forevermore.
As we worship together, we are in complete unity and God will pour out His blessing upon us.
Whether we are worshipping collectively as a group or are on our own in intimate worship, we are not forced by God to worship Him but are called by love to come into His presence.
‘Called by love’ was written during that intense period of intimacy I had with Jesus.