I used to think an atmosphere of worship required flickering candles, Bethel music, and hour-long prayer sessions. When I was single, that used to be my reality. I’d read my Bible, turn on worship music, and spend more than thirty minutes enjoying the presence of God. It felt like worship. It looked like worship.

Then I quit my job, moved to a new state, and had a baby – all in the span of one week. My life was upended for good, and in that transition I learned that worship is not a sequence of activities or a certain kind of music. It’s an attitude.

Your Home is a Haven

But just because worship is an attitude of the heart doesn’t mean it never affects our surroundings. This walk of faith is the work of God’s Spirit, but it also requires us to align our will with His intentions. We can make it easier to walk by God’s Spirit or infinitely harder – and how we manage our time and homes has an impact on which it is.

So while it’s true that lighting a candle, playing worship music, and even reading your Bible won’t change your heart, these things can help create a haven in your home; a place of rest and focus. If you – like me – struggle to remember what you read in your devotions, or are easily angered by your environment, it’s imperative that you manage what you can and leave the rest to God’s influence.

This is why I have a strategy for creating my daily routine. It’s why I maintain an organized house and use a cleaning schedule. It’s also why I do light a candle, play worship music, and spend time in God’s Word throughout the day – posting Bible verses in areas where I frequently work, propping my Bible open on a cookbook stand, and writing prayer requests on the bathroom mirror. These are practical ways to facilitate worship and create a haven in our homes.

Lately I haven’t been able to spend as much time as usual in my devotional time (I’m reading through Romans with a commentary). Rather than let this keep me from worship, I’m putting reminders around the house to keep my mind focused on the Lord. Another favorite right now is Kari Jobe’s new album, The Garden. My favorite song is O the Power, which says:

There on the hill You surrendered Your will
For they know not what they do
Grief in Your heart, Your hands bear the scars
Of a love that led You to the tomb
Calvary, where heaven met me

Redeemer, crowned in endless praise
My Savior, name above all names
King Jesus, take the highest place

That’s straight gospel, ya’ll – such wonderful reminders of who Jesus is! That’s what I need to hear in order to worship: not more about myself, my identity, who I am; but more about who He is and what He’s done.

Cultivate a Sanctuary

My friend Madison frequently writes about the significance of the Old Testament sanctuary, and I think it’s a concept often abandoned among modern Christians. Cultivating a sanctuary – a place of worship – in our hearts and homes doesn’t happen by accident. As Oswald Chambers says, “God will not give you good character.” He gives you His Spirit – and it’s up to you to walk according to His voice. We have the power to ignore Christ’s influence, and we have the power to exalt Him in our lives.

Do our homes exalt Him, then? Do our lives proclaim His influence? Are we living sanctuaries, vessels of worship as we fulfill the mundane duties of the day?

That is what Paul meant when He said our bodies are temples (1 Cor. 6:19). He was using an image his readers would recognize: the Temple, a place of worship. And today, that temple is us.

That’s why sexual sin is such a violation of ourselves and of God.

That’s why slander and gossip are so offensive.

That’s why hatred and anger are so contrary to who we are in Christ.

We are sanctuaries, and so are our homes. Worship should not be something we do on Sundays; it should characterize our lives, our hearts, and our dwelling places.

How do you cultivate worship in your heart and home?