Have you ever been through a period where you felt that the Lord was distant and far away? Perhaps you became filled with apathetic or lukewarm feelings, not knowing how to overcome them. That’s not uncommon among individuals, but here’s a story of an entire church that found itself in that situation. It was in the 1990s at one of the churches in Watford, a town 15 miles northwest of central London. It’s what drove Matt Redman to write the legendary Heart of Worship song.
Story Behind the Song
Soul Survivor Church began its ministry in 1993 and was at the forefront of modern worship. Innovative weekend services, worship arts production and active usage of multimedia were all incorporated to make the church relevant to people’s lives. But even with all of this, somehow over time congregation members turned from active worship participants to silent connoisseurs. Something amidst the music and fervor was missing. The lines got blurred and the heart of worship and praise was missing.
It was at this moment that the pastor of Soul Survivor Church took drastic action. Mike Pilavachi removed everything from the worship services. No microphones, no drums, no guitars or sound systems were left.
Sundays had no worship leader, instruments or amplified sound. Can you imagine? Attendees of this Watford church couldn’t at first. Sitting in temporary silence with Bibles in their hands, they didn’t know what to do. But they had much more than powerful sound systems and eye-catching multimedia. They had their voices and hearts. And as soon as their voices were lifted together to God, as soon as their hearts were united in prayer, the silence disappeared and the period of apathy was demolished. Step by step the equipment was returned. But since then, it has never played a more important role than people’s voices.
Matt Redman wrote Heart of Worship during these unusual worship sessions. It was during these moments that he reconsidered his role as a worship leader, as a person and as a child of Jesus. He wrote it without any intention of it becoming an international anthem. It was just his personal reflection of what was happening around him, all of the stuff that was forming the story behind the song.
When Redman shared the Heart of Worship lyrics with Pilavachi, the pastor suggested some edits and the result is the song we all know.
Heart of Worship
When the music fades
All is stripped away
And I simply come
Longing just to bring
Something that’s of worth
That will bless Your heart
I’m coming back to the heart of worship,
And it’s all about You, it’s all about You, Jesus.
The Heart of Worship is about self-reproach and reconsideration not only in matters of worship but also in our lives. In the extremely fast flow of daily routine, we often get distracted from very important things. And sometimes we forget about the main person in our lives – Jesus. May we let these words serve as a reminder for us on how not to go astray when the music fades and the only thing that has been left to us is our heart, our heart of worship.