This entry continues a week-long series from guest blogger Doug Lee on whole life worship.

Personal worship time, the first of the four types of worship, is our one-on-one time with God. This is how we center ourselves, surrender to God, and fill with the Spirit. We consider what God has done for us and connect with him personally.

One of the most common blockages to personal worship is when we make this time more of a task than a relationship. We can read the Bible or pray through our prayer lists or journal what we’ve been reflecting on without any genuine engagement with God. We do the tasks without inviting God into the tasks—essentially forgetting that this is an act of worship.

Another problem arises when we try to engage in private worship in a way that we’re not wired well for. We may try to study the Bible in the early morning when that’s a set way that doesn’t really fit us. Gary Thomas in his book Sacred Pathways identified nine spiritual temperaments to help us understand how we can best connect with God. Some people can’t connect with God without being outside in creation. Others must connect while doing something physical. Yet others need to engage the five senses through incense, art, etc.

Yet personal worship time is a discipline. There is a task involved, but try to make it a task that helps you connect with God and invite God himself into the process. One of my favorite models for genuine engagement with God is Tevye from Fiddler on the Roof.

Dear God. Was that necessary? Did you have to make him lame just before the Sabbath? That wasn’t nice. It’s enough you pick on me. Bless me with five daughters, a life of poverty, that’s all right. But what have you got against my horse? Really, sometimes I think, when things are too quiet up there, you say to yourself, “Let’s see. What kind of mischief can I play on my friend, Tevye?”

He has a conversation with God that is so real and genuine. The fact that God loves us, that he is intimately involved in our lives and we can engage with him, must be what drives our worship. The more we can come to God with a Song of Solomon attitude, that this is the lover of my soul, the more we will be able to genuinely engage with God.