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From Worship to Repentance

Nov 27, 2023

This post is by Kelli LaFram.


A few years ago, in church we began singing the song “Great Are You Lord” by All Sons & Daughters. It’s a beautiful worship song with lyrics that recognize God as the only one worthy of our adoration. If you’ve never heard it before, I highly recommend that you google it, listen to it, and allow it to lead you into praise and worship of our Lord and Savior. 

The problem for me at the time was that the chorus brought on a tremendous amount of guilt and shame. Singing “It’s Your breath in our lungs, so we pour out our praise to You only” felt like a lie. Was I a fraud? How could I stand there and say those words knowing that I used my breath to be harsh with my children and gossipy with my neighbor. The breath in my lungs was not used solely for praise, it was also used for hurt and destruction. 

John 4:23 tells us that “the hour is coming, and is now here, when the true worshipers will worship the Father in spirit and truth, for the Father is seeking such people to worship him.” Psalm 150:6 says “let everything that has breath praise the Lord! Praise the Lord!” The prophet Isaiah declared, “O Lord, you are my God; I will exalt you; I will praise your name, for you have done wonderful things, plans formed of old, faithful and sure.”

There is no doubt we were created to worship God. It is written all throughout the Bible. And why wouldn’t we? If we know and understand the true Gospel -- that Jesus, being fully God and fully man, died and resurrected so that we might have salvation from sin through faith -- our only response is to do nothing but worship. 

One of my favorite examples of worship was written by David. In Psalm 139 he starts with “O Lord, you have searched me and known me! You know when I sit down and when I rise up; you discern my thoughts from afar. You search out my path and my lying down and are acquainted with all my ways” (vv 1-3). David is saying that God knows everything there is to know about him. Nothing about David surprises God.

In the Psalm David acknowledges that God is too wonderful for him to wrap his mind around (v 6). He praises the Lord for being ever present with him (vv 7-12). He worships the Lord for having throughout every detail of his being (v 14). David worships because the Lord never forgets him and has a plan for his life (vv 17-18). The whole Psalm is a beautiful prayer full of worship, but the last two verses cause me to pause.

Search me, O God, and know my heart! Try me and know my thoughts! And see if there be any grievous way in me, and lead me in the way everlasting. Psalm 139:23-24

After several lines of adoration for the Lord, David abruptly stops and repents. David Guzik puts it this way, “David opened his soul completely before God, asking if there were any unknown or unperceived sins.” Why would David do this? Because in the presence of God, which is where we are when we worship in spirit and truth, our sin can no longer hide. His perfect light shines in the darkest places and sin is exposed. In the presence of God, David was humbled and was unwilling to continue to allow any sin, known or unknown, to keep him separate from God. So he did the only thing he could do -- He repented.

We, like David, have an all-knowing Father who is loving and kind. He is patient and forgiving. He promises that “if we confess our sins, He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness” (1 John 1:9). We can trust him to search us and know our hearts. We can trust him to uncover our sins and gently wash us clean. He is faithful and He will lead us in the way everlasting.

It took me a while, but I eventually realized that I wasn’t a liar or a fraud when I sang “Great Are You Lord.” I was being led by God through worship into repentance. Now when I sing “It’s Your breath in our lungs, so we pour out our praise to You only” I ask him to make the lyric true. I ask for forgiveness and cleansing and trust that God will do it, because that is why He sent Jesus to earth. That’s the gospel. And I will forever praise him for that.


Kelli LaFram is actually Kelli LaFramboise, but no one can pronounce that, so with the permission of her family she writes under the shorter pen name. Her neighbors have started referring to her bunch as the LaFram Fam. In addition to writing for Hello Mornings, Kelli has led Bible studies in her home and serves in the children’s ministry at her local church. Kelli is an elementary school teacher and her hobbies include blogging about God’s word, listening to audiobooks with her children, and drinking good (decaf) coffee. You can find her at www.quietlyreminded.com and https://www.instagram.com/kellilafram/.

Photo by Matt Botsford on Unsplash


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