Relational Worship

What is relational worship and how does it have anything to do with God and me? Good question huh?  According to David Wheeler and Vernon Whaley, relational worship is based on friendship, affinity, and a bond with God. . . .God is the one who initiates this relationship. . . . [another word for relational worship is] vertical worship.[1]  God wants to be with us as we walk through our own lives. The more we seek Him the more we get to know him.  “He nurtures this relationship personally, individually, and lovingly. [2]  Isaiah is the Old Testament prophet who wanted this type of relationship with God.  When he saw him for the first time he said,

In the year that King Uzziah died, I saw the Lord, high and exalted, seated on a throne; and the train of his robe filled the temple. Above him were seraphim, each with six wings: With two wings they covered their faces, with two they covered their feet, and with two they were flying. And they were calling to one another: “Holy, holy, holy is the Lord Almighty; the whole earth is full of his glory.”At the sound of their voices, the doorposts and thresholds shook, and the temple was filled with smoke.“Woe to me!” I cried. “I am ruined! For I am a man of unclean lips, and I live among a people of unclean lips, and my eyes have seen the King, the Lord Almighty” (Isaiah 6:1-5).[3]

 Having allowed God to develop a personal relationship with him he writes about Jacob and Israel and their relationship with the Lord,

Why do you complain, Jacob?  Why do you say, Israel, “My way is hidden from the Lord;    my cause is disregarded by my God”? Do you not know? Have you not heard? The Lord is the everlasting God, the Creator of the ends of the earth. He will not grow tired or weary, and his understanding no one can fathom. He gives strength to the weary and increases the power of the weak. Even youths grow tired and weary, and young men stumble and fall, but those who hope in the Lord will renew their strength. They will soar on wings like eagles; they will run and not grow weary, they will walk and not be faint (Isaiah 40:27-31). | Isaiah 40:27 : S Job 6:29; S 27:2; Lk 18:7-8

When I think about my own conversion, I distinctly remembering the light-heartedness that occurred after I gave my life to the Lord.  I became keenly aware of the fact that He is indeed everlasting.  Today I know that

  1. He is never tired or weary about my challenges in life, and He never grows faint.
  2. I can call on him any time of the day and night just to talk to Him.
  3. I know that He is there and was just waiting for our time together.

In the forty-seven years since I first gave my heart to the Lord, He has strengthened me.  His word renews my strength each time that I read it.  I have had the eagle soaring experience.  There is nothing like worshipping the Lord through song, obedience, and service to others in His name.  Witnessing to others and praying for others is a joyful experience.  What specific words in the following scriptures make you want to engage in a vertical relationship with God?  You see you cannot have any type of horizontal relationship with others in His name if you do not have a vertical relationship with Him.

After conversion, he became my “rock, my fortress and my deliverer; my God. . . .in whom I take refuge, my shield and the horn of my salvation, my stronghold” (Psalm 18:2).  Before my conversion, He,” . . . searched me, [He knew] me [and still accepted and loved me]. [He knew] when I [would] sit and when I [would] rise; [He] perceive[d] my thoughts from afar [ and did not condemn me]. [He] discern[ed] my going out and my lying down; [He is] familiar with all my ways, [however, He continues to love me].  Before a word is on my tongue [He] knows it completely. [In-spite of it all He still] hem[med] me in behind and before, and [He] laid  [His] hand upon me (Psalm 139:1-5).He saw me as I was and still loved me.

Every human being comes before Him looking like “filthy rags.”  That is what God calls our righteousness, not me.  But He still see us as “beautiful”!  No matter what I have done, or you have done, He still sees you as beautiful and still loves you.

He tells us that we should, “not fear, for I am with you; do not be dismayed, for I am your God. I will strengthen you and help you; I will uphold you with my righteous right hand” (Isaiah 41:10 Dt 3:22; Jos 1:9; Isa 43:2, 5; Jer 30:10; 46:27-28; Ro 8:31).




Wheeler, David, and Vernon Whaley. Worship and Witness: Becoming a Great Commission Worshiper. Nashville, TN: LifeWay Press, 2012.


[1] David Wheeler and Vernon Whaley, Worship and Witness: Becoming a Great Commission Worshiper (Nashville, TN: LifeWay Press, 2012), 72.

[2] Ibid.

[3]  Unless otherwise noted, all biblical passages referenced are in the New International Version (Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan, 2009).

[4] David Wheeler and Vernon Whaley, Worship and Witness: 74.

[5] Ibid.

[6] David Wheeler and Vernon Whaley, Worship and Witness, 75.

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