I have grown up in a family full of strong, God fearing, and loving men. I am so proud of them, respect them, and they have a great deal to do with the way I view men, and the way I feel men should treat and take care of women... Regardless of their relationship.
That being said, I am always encouraged to find, see, meet, become friends with, spend time with or talk to men outside of my family that exhibit the same level of character and love for the Lord. It warms my heart in an entirely unique way.
This weekend I spent 12 hours with a fairly large group of people from my church, praying and worshiping throughout the night, from 7:14pm Saturday (the 14th) to 7:14am Sunday (I will do a separate post about that experience later because it definitely needs its own). And, whether any of us like it or not, a lot can be understood about someone
when they are singing worship music to their savior. For instance, you
can tell when someone is deeply impacted and moved, you can tell when
they are passionate, who is typically expressive, energetic, and when the music is taking them to solemn or
emotional places. The nervousness some people exhibit while singing is interesting indication as well. All of these characteristics can be observed while
someone is singing. Granted, the thing that is causing these behaviors to be exhibited can vary dramatically, so to assume someone is nervous because they are uncomfortable singing out-loud would be an unfair judgement, and that is not at all what I am talking about. I am merely talking about the basic things that are actually getting communicated, not the cause. And, I do believe in a lot of ways you can tell what type of person they are based on how the worship.
However, for just a few minutes, I want to focus specifically on the men I spent the evening worshiping and praying with. Why am I focusing on the men specifically? Because, while a lot of what I am saying can and does apply to women also, as a woman, I think it is actually easier for us to worship openly due to our natural bend towards being in touch with our emotions. Plus, I think there is a lot to be said about the leadership a man exhibits in the way he worships his Lord and King. Also, just a housekeeping note, I am
specifically referring to congregational/group singing, and not at all referencing the worship leader's gender or particular style of leading worship.
So, here are a few of the things that struck me from my 12 hours of prayer and worship with the men in attendance.
It just feels right when people of all backgrounds, ages etc.. unabashedly worship God together; however, there really is no amount of words that can accurately describe the comfort and "rightness" that comes from being around men who openly and passionately worship Christ. There is just something different about being around men who are excited to worship and not at all worried about those around them, if they are on key, if the person next to them is raising their hands or closing their eyes.
I have always loved listening to men and women's voices blend when they sing together. When men lend their voices loudly to the group, it adds something that while beautiful, women's voices simply do not have. There is a weight behind the sound when men sing that carries the song in a way that allows the women's voices to add the beauty and change the depth of the song (Right about now is when it becomes clear I have virtually no experience and a seriously basic understanding of music making itself).
So, taking all of these things into consideration. Spending 12 hours around men who exhibited a love and passion for God (Father, Son, and Holy Spirit), was awesome to say the least. There is power behind men who worship openly. Men were meant to fight, strive, protect, and care for women, families, puppies (haha) etc.. they were made that way. It is an amazing thing to watch and hear men sing songs about needing Christ, humbly saying that God is holy, holy, holy, and declaring that if God is with them, then who and what could possibly stand in their way? Being surrounded for 12 hours by this atmosphere creates an entirely different level of comfort and feeling of safety even though I personally only knew a few of the dozens of men in the room.
Throughout various points in the night I watched and listened to the men around me, not because I wanted to judge them, but because I was trying to understand them... What was God saying to them? What were they saying to God? Were they praising or pleading for something? Were they feeling the weight of bondage or set free? Were they declaring victory or needing forgiveness? Were they at peace or burdened? It was such a unique atmosphere to be a part of for dozens upon dozens of reasons, but throughout the evening, I found myself on numerous occasions just smiling as I saw or heard the men around me. There were some fantastic singers, some really excited and passionate dancing, lots of men bowed down praying, and more than a few sobering and emotional moments, all mixed with a lot of singing from the very core of who they are.
While I could go on and on about all the ways the evening encouraged and changed things in my heart with just this one element of the evening; the biggest ways it impacted me were in feeling so proud of Christian men, and being incredibly encouraged to see so many of them leading the way they are supposed to; by seeking first the Kingdom of God. There is a good chance I will never know the names of the majority of the men I spent 12 hours praying and worshiping with, but the ones I did know now have a special place in my heart because of it all.
When men worship the Lord, it is a game changer because it allows God to change them, and then women cannot help but be effected.
I will likely never know even a small portion of the things the men were praying for, through or praising God for, but, they will also likely never know how it spoke to my heart and how 12 hours of worshiping and praying with them changed me. They will likely never know how that small step of leadership has impacted me, and I am uncertain I could even explain it or articulate it well if given the opportunity.
Bottom line, there is something exactly perfect and right with the world when men worship the Lord.