The Heart Of Worship

But when Daniel learned that the law had been signed, he went home and knelt down as usual in his upstairs room, with his windows open toward Jerusalem. He prayed three times a day, just as he had always done, giving thanks to his God.” Daniel 6:10, NLT

A sermon by Rev Zach Meerkreebs in an ordinary chapel service at Asbury College on 8th February 2023 ignited a revival that lasted 16 days and drew thousands to the town of Wilmore in Kentucky. It was a sermon based on Romans Chapter 12 in which the issues of guilt, shame, anxiety, abuse and the struggle to sincerely love others were addressed. It was a message that touched the hearts of the young people, many of whom were struggling with feelings of sadness or hopelessness and even suicide. 

There was an outpouring of the Holy Spirit on the students who were hungry for a God who can change their lives. Asbury Seminary Professor Kenneth J. Collins observed that the students were sick of trying to live without a true hunger for God which they could not find in the culture around them.1 There was a need for a true revival to change the habits of the heart and shape how believers live each day.

It was challenging to see the movement of the Holy Spirit in our day and age. We are living in the end times – this was clear from our small group discussion on the book of Daniel. This was the lesson from the dream of King Nebuchadnezzar that God revealed to Daniel.2 

The story of Daniel being thrown into the den of lions inspires me to cultivate a heart of true worship. Daniel chose to disobey Darius’ decree to worship only the king and no one else, divine or human for 30 days. He did not count the cost of losing his life to put God first in his life. Daniel could have easily refrain from worshiping God for thirty days but he knew how easily his faith would be eroded in 30 days without the habit of worship.3 

Some 40 years ago, I had heard a message by Danny Morris in Barker Road Methodist Church on the Ten Brave Christians: The John Wesley Great Experiment. One of his Sunday School teacher, Sam Teague, was inspired to draw up a 30 day spiritual programme to live a life that matters. The Ten Brave Christians movement gave birth to the revival in Asbury in 1970. Unfortunately, Danny Morris’ sermon fell on thorny soil in my heart and it dawned on me that I had been living in a spiritual wilderness for the past 40 years trying to serve God in my own strength without the Holy Spirit.

I was led to reread the book, The True Wilderness, by H.A. Williams, which convicted me of the truth that sharing second hand convictions, irrespective of whether they are orthodox, modernist or non-Christian, has no transformative power. It is only the truths of God’s love that have been proven true in my own experience, living them and knowing them at first hand, that can lead others to the loving embrace of God.

Williams found that our intellect craves for complete systems of logical explanations and that there are areas of human life, such as personal relationships, where such explanatory systems can falsify as well as illuminate. The wine of life cannot be contained in the bottles of old mindsets – we will find ourselves with no wine when the bottles have been burst by the wine.4

Lent is a time to cultivate spiritual disciplines that will open our hearts and minds to the Holy Spirit. The most important lesson from the Asbury revival is the need to live a surrendered life so that the Spirit can rewire our minds, renovate our hearts and so transform our lives. It is not trying to live a purpose driven life but a Spirit driven life. It is learning to live life fully in the face of death and suffering.

We need bottles of new mindsets for the new wine of life that God wants to pour into our hearts. It is impossible to live like the followers of Christ in the book of Acts without the Holy Spirit.  We need radical humility to confess that we do not know what to do and our need to turn our eyes upon Jesus.5 Then the things of this earth will grow strangely dim in the light of His glory and grace.6

The discipline of prayer prepares us to be a living sacrifice through silence and solitude to abide in Christ. Through the discipline of fasting we  remember that man does not live by bread alone but by every word that comes from the mouth of God.7 Instead of trying to turn stones into bread, we are to be living stones.8 The discipline of charity is to learn to be a sheep – to see heaven everyday in every person.9 Through these spiritual disciplines of Lent, we are led to live as a child of God in the family of God and to become the hands and feet of the Risen Christ to heal our broken world.

After the revival, when the music fades and all is stripped away, we need to long for the Spirit to search deep within our hearts. To remind us how weak and poor we are as every single breath comes from our King of endless worth. To come back to the heart of worship:

I’m coming back to the heart of worship
And it’s all about You
It’s all about You, Jesus
I’m sorry, Lord, for the thing I’ve made it
When it’s all about You
It’s all about You, Jesus.10



  1. The Ashbury Revival –
  2. Daniel Chapter 2:1-45
  3. Daniel Chapter 6:1-17
  4. The True Wilderness, H.A. Williams
  5. 2 Chronicles 20:12
  6. Turn Your Eyes Upon Jesus
  7. Matthew 4:4, GW
  8. 1 Peter 2:5, NLT
  9.  Patrick Kee, Living With Our Shepherd Of Love
  10. When The Music Fades, Matt Redman

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