There are a lot of opinions and approaches to prayer. From acronyms that give us step-by-step guidance about what to say to wide-open space that allows for silence and meditation, prayer is as unique as the person praying.
In this passage, we see directives about prayer, but we also see an attitude: confidence. You will receive. You will find. The door will be opened. How much more will your Heavenly Father give. When Jesus spoke, it seems he was less concerned about what we say in our prayer and more interested in how confidently we trust the faithfulness of God as we ask, seek, and knock.
Some of the most meaningful times of worship occur when our world is collapsing around us. In those moments when we choose to worship—to declare with our songs and in our hearts that God is worthy of our praise and adoration—despite our circumstances and emotions, something happens in our spirits. We keep asking, seeking, knocking, and trusting. We keep worshiping.
The songs this week speak confidently about how we trust God. Regardless of how you or your group members are feeling, I encourage you to worship! This doesn’t mean you “leave your luggage at the door” before you enter into worship. God wants all of you to worship all of Him, the parts of you that are ready to burst into praise and even the parts of you that are hurting.
It may seem counterproductive, but one thing that can help highlight this is to give the group time to think about what it is in their lives that is making it hard to worship God right now. We don’t want to highlight distractions to focus on them, but to identify them so that they can be surrendered to God. Encourage them to mentally make an exchange, saying in their hearts, God, I give you this distraction. What do you want to give me in exchange? God always gives us something better!
Your group can continue with singing, or you can spend some time having anyone who is willing declare aloud what God is giving to them. The beauty of God’s gifts is that there is always enough to share with others! If he gives hope to one person and they declare that aloud in the group, someone else can say, Hey, I need some hope, too! I’ll gladly receive that from God. His blessings are unlimited and extravagant. I doubt God will say Sorry, I only have a limited amount of hope for your group today, and I already gave it to that other person.
The YouTube list contains videos with lyrics that are easily shareable during an online Life Group gathering, but the selection can be more limited because of licensing and copyright laws. YouTube also leans toward newer songs where publishers have been uploading new releases but haven’t created videos for older music. A lot of the older songs might not have official lyric videos (created by people who don’t own the rights), so we can’t officially share them here.
Spotify only has audio tracks (no lyrics), but the list is longer because licensing and copyright laws are easier to observe on this platform. What you use will depend on how comfortable your group is with engaging in worship in different ways (in other words, singing without words or simply engaging and agreeing while listening without singing along).
Please do not feel you have to use all or any of either list! These were inspired by one person’s study of the selected passage. You can choose one or two (probably all you will have time for in a weekly Life Group gathering) or you can create your own list! These are meant to be a springboard, a list of possibilities; this is not a prescription to be precisely followed.
You can also forgo music altogether in favor of another form of worship. A growing list of ideas is provided at the end of this post.
Beyond the Life Groups, feel free to enjoy the music throughout your week. Share the songs with anyone who might be interested. You may know someone who is going through something that is addressed in the lyrics and will be encouraged by a song.
PASSAGE: Matthew 7.7–12
Other ways to worship
Worship is our response to God. Music inspires our worship but—in and of itself—music is not worship. If finding a worship leader or managing the technology in the era of online group meetings proves to be more challenging, allow your group to worship in other ways!
Any activity that causes our hearts to acknowledge the reality of who God is and the reality of who we are in Him is considered worship, whether it is singing in a group or working alone in the kitchen à la Brother Lawrence. Below is a list of just a few possibilities, but don’t be limited by a list! Let Holy Spirit whisper ideas to you about how God wants to be worshipped by your group.
- A–Z: name something about God that you love beginning with each letter of the alphabet
- testimonies: share something that God has done over the past week and allow yourselves to marvel at his goodness
- found objects: ask group members to share something from around the house that reminds them of God
- personalize a passage: choose a Psalm and read it slowly, allowing everyone in the group to imagine themselves as the writer and to take time to apply that Psalmist’s experience to a situation in their own lives (Psalm 23 is a good starter one to try this activity)