This time of year always gets me thinking about fresh beginnings. When it comes to writing songs, sometimes fresh beginnings are hard to come by.

Recently, I found myself trying to write a worship song while racking my brain. How could I come up with a different angle of seeing things, a creative and clever way to express my heart, a hook that would really stand out. Something that has never been said before. And then, it happened. I came up with absolutely nothing.

But, in my still disappointment, I heard a voice. The voice of my Savior. It was one of those moments where He unmistakingly spoke to my heart. And this is what He said, “Worship songs have to begin with worship!”

While this seems such an obvious, simple approach, how many of us worshipers write songs while we are genuinely worshiping? Where we throw every bit of our striving and selves aside, and truly get in the presence of Jesus?

So, I did it. I put down my rhyming dictionary, and journal, and my macbook. I worshiped with my heart wide open. Sang out audibly my thoughts and feelings. And out came a beautiful song. There is something about being in the presence of our King that urges a response from us! I’m not saying that every time it will be a song. But a worship song that comes any other way will be lacking.

Beyond the writing aspect, I’ve tried to incorporate this idea into leading worship. As I am singing, I may hear a melody, or specific lyrics. Since I am leading by myself most times, I follow the response to His presence. I put down the chord charts and just worship. Some of the most powerful worship services at our church have happened when we are truly responding to what God is doing right then and there.

John 4:24 in The Message says, “God is sheer being itself—Spirit. Those who worship him must do it out of their very being, their spirits, their true selves, in adoration.”

May this be a happy new year for you, with many many beginnings!