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Personal Worship Centres
All of us need places where we can worship the Lord passionately, intimately and privately.

At the very heart of "passionate spirituality" there must be a place for personal worship. No, I'm not referring to the Sunday morning worship hour, although this plays a very important role in our spiritual lives.

After all these years, I suddenly realized that this swimming pool … had become a "personal worship centre" for me.

A life of worship comes from something much deeper than only a half- hour of Sunday morning singing. A life of worship comes from an intimate, continuous, healthy, vibrant relationship with the one whom we are worshipping.

But how do we develop this relationship? One way is to develop worship centres in our lives—centres conducive to thinking about, talking to and worshiping with the Lord —"personal worship centres." I like that idea.

The role a "personal worship centre" plays in my life really dawned on me just a few days ago. I had just finished my 30-minute swim at the health club and was relaxing by the wall of the 20' by 75' room with its 60' length pool. Painted on the wall facing me was a scenic 95' long outdoor mural. It is a very meditative scene with snow peaked mountains sloping down towards a rich blue lake mirroring back the mountain view. Birds fly overhead against the backdrop of a clear sky. Tall cedars at the waters edge are surrounded at their base by rich green foliage. Nearby wild animals graze peacefully.

Although I have swam here for 25 years and the mural has been in place for more than three years, it was only the other day that I began to see some of the biblical reminders portrayed—unto the hills do I lift up my eyes; like a tree planted by the rivers of water that brings forth its fruit in its season—to name only two.

But my favourite scene is that of three deer grazing not more than ten feet from where I sit. And they constantly remind me that as the deer pants after the water brooks, so also do I want my heart to desire you, O Lord.

After all these years, I suddenly realized that this swimming pool with its beautiful mural had become a "personal worship centre" for me. And when no one else is in the pool area, sometimes I even worship out loud with a few of my favourite songs—(quietly, of course).

As I reflected on this surprise revelation about my new worship centre, I realized that I have several worship centres in my life which help cultivate a "passionate spirituality." Some of these are: the rocker in front of the fireplace early in the morning, the 30-minute drive to and from work listening to my favourite worship tapes, my neighbourhood walk, and the regular Sunday morning worship service.

The point I am making is this. Most of us already have these worship centres in our lives, but often we are not aware of them and of the impact they have upon us. Let's ask the Lord to help us cultivate more of these "secret places." I am confident that as we develop the worship dimension of our lives, and possibly our "personal worship centres," we will indeed experience a growing passion for Christ—a passionate spirituality.

Dr. Arvid Olson is the executive director of the Evangelical Free Church Canada prayer ministry.

Originally published in The Pulse, Spring 2003.




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