What makes worship precious to God?

I’ve got a little 27-second video for you to listen to. There’s nothing to watch… it’s a recording of my 2-year-old granddaughter singing “This Place” with her mom in the darkness before bedtime. 

She can’t articulate all the words.

She can’t sing on key.

But this is one of the sweetest and most beautiful things I’ve ever heard in my entire life. My granddaughter, singing the very first song God gave me—singing about the transformation that happens in God’s presence.

It is beautiful.

I loved the video when my daughter sent it to me, but the next morning as I replayed it, God spoke to me. He said, “This is how beautiful it is to Me when My children who think they can’t sing worship Me. It is so very, very sweet and beautiful! I know they’re not singing for anyone else’s benefit. It brings tears to My eyes the same way that tears are streaming down your face. It is that precious to Me! I adore their worship!

I’m going to be real and honest.

In that moment, I thought of how, when I sing with other people around, there is an almost constant temptation to think about whether they are impressed by my voice or not. For me, the best way to keep that temptation at bay is to intensely focus on the words of the worship I am giving—thinking about the meaning of those words and singing it from my heart as well as my head.

Suddenly I realized that those who think they can’t sing have never had the temptation to impress people while they worship. They have never offered God worship tainted by self-glory! Wow. Some of my worship has been tainted by that. 

Then I thought of how I love to sing and worship when I’m alone, because then that temptation doesn’t exist. And yet, even then, there is sometimes the temptation to think about how my voice sounds… particularly when it’s feeling really warmed up and strong and clear and I know it sounds better than other moments. There is a satisfaction in that… but that satisfaction taints my worship. No longer is it all for Him. Sometimes I’ll turn the volume waaaayyy up so that I can’t hear myself, just to get rid of that temptation! 

I asked God if it’s wrong to be satisfied that I can offer Him praise that sounds good. After all, that’s not any different than a woodworking craftsman to be satisfied in a masterpiece he’s created, or a marathon runner to be satisfied that she’s run a good race, or a teacher to be satisfied that they’ve successfully taught a good lesson that the kids understood. God said it wasn’t necessarily wrong, but He added, “It doesn’t make your praise any more beautiful to Me than the worship of those who sing off-key.” 

And in that moment, I understood. Because even when my granddaughter is older, if her notes become perfectly pitched and timed and articulated, it will never be any sweeter than the praise she offered last night. She has already offered the most pure and most beautiful worship that she will ever be able to offer. Those off-key notes are the perfection of worship.

You tell me… would her worship be any more sweet if her notes had all been on-key? No! Furthermore, I would be angered by anyone who dared to say that she should just be quiet! If even she said she should be quiet and not sing, I would be quite upset! 

If you are someone who can sing on-key… do not dare to think anything less of that person in the next aisle over who can’t sing on-key. Because God absolutely adores what He’s hearing from them. If they have overcome embarrassment enough to sing freely enough that you can hear them, then they have found how to offer true worship. They are like the widow who offered God her two copper coins. It was all she had, and Jesus said it was worth more than anything that people thought was better

If you are someone who can’t sing on-key, that doesn’t mean you can’t sing. And it definitely doesn’t mean God doesn’t find great pleasure in the praise and worship that you offer Him. Your off-key singing is your two copper coins, and they are priceless to Him.

Don’t hold back. Give Him all you have and rejoice that He finds great pleasure in your offering! For it is, to Him, worth more than the most glorious voice you’ve ever heard perform for the praise of an audience.

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