Tozer Quotes on Worship

The Lord is my strength and my song; he has become my salvation.
This is my God, and I will praise him, my father’s God, and I will exalt him.
-Exodus 15:2

My first memory of worship was when I was a little boy, and all the people were in the sanctuary singing The Lord's Prayer.  I can still hear the roar of all the voices, in unison, singing, "For Thine is the Kingdom and the Power and the Glory, forever!"  There was a pipe organ that did not overpower the voices of the congregation, but seemed to guide and blend with our words, towards heaven.

Everything I have learned and everything I have seen and experienced about worship starts with that childhood memory.  Christians have been offended and put off by different styles of worship.  How we worship has been in contention for a long time.

I recently picked up a book, Tozer on Worship and Entertainment, which is a compilation of thoughts from A.W. Tozer, by James L. Snyder; published in 1997.  Around 1987, I read a similar book, a Tozer compilation, by Gerald B. Smith, called What Ever Happened To Worship?, that I enjoyed.  That was my first Tozer book.  As I read through this Tozer book, I realized that a big part of my spiritual formation was guided by A. W. Tozer.

These are quotes and notes from "Tozer on Worship and Entertainment", a compilation by James L. Snyder.  All are from the first half of the book.  This book is a compilation or sermon quotes and quotes from other Tozer books like, What Ever Happened To Worship? , That Incredible Christian, The Root of the Righteous, The Pursuit of God, and Knowledge of The Holy.

  • Admiration is an essential ingredient to worship.
    • We can not worship the one we do not honor.
  • We can only worship that which fascinates us.
    • There is an astonishment about reverence.
    • There is a mysterious fascination that carries the heart beyond itself.
  • We cannot worship without loving.
    • love without restraints becomes adoration.
  • Worship seeks union with its beloved, and an active effort to close the gap between the heart and the God it adores is worship at its best.
  • God has been saying to me, "I dwell in your thoughts.  Make your thoughts a sanctuary I can dwell.  See to it."
  • We are saved to worship God.
  • Jesus did not redeem us to make us workers; He redeemed us to make us worshipers.
    • And then, out of the blazing worship in our hearts, springs work.
  • Worship is unnatural only in the sense that so many people really do it.
    • But it is natural in that is is what God created us for... to worship Him and enjoy Him forever.
  • If worship bores you, you are not ready for heaven.
    • Every glimpse that we have of heaven shows the creatures there worshiping.
  • God is infinitely more concerned that He have worshipers than He have workers.
  • One of the ingredients in worship is boundless confidence in the character God.
  • Mystery always baffles the understanding and stuns the mind, and we come before God in speechless humility in the presence of the mystery inexpressible.
    • I feel that we should always leave room for mystery in our Christian faith.
    • When we do not, we become evangelical rationalists and we can explain everything.
  • Mystery runs throughout all the kingdom of God just as there is mystery running throughout all of nature.
    • And the wisest and most honest scientist will tell you that he knows practically nothing.
    • And the Christian who has seen God on His throne with the eyes of his heart has stopped being an oracle.  He won't pretend to know everything any more and he won't condemn another man who might take a different position from his.
  • You are not worshiping God as you should if you have departmentalized your life so that some areas worship and other parts do not worship.
    • This can be a great delusion- that worship only happens in church or in the midst of a dangerous storm or in the presence of some unusual and sublime beauty of nature around us.
  • Cain's worship in the OT was not accepted because he did not acknowledge the necessity of an atonement for sin in the relationship between God and fallen man.
    • Cain did not understand that man's sin was eternally important to God.
    • Cain mistakenly assumed a relationship with God, denying the alienation that sin brings.
    • Cain was mistaken as some people are today, that sin is not a serious thing.
    • Cain's type of worship is inadequate, without real meaning; in today's NT context, because it bypasses the necessity of blood atonement for sin.
  • Consecration is not difficult for the person who has met God.
  • Our religious activities should be ordered in such a way as to leave plenty of time for the cultivation of the fruits of solitude and silence.
    • (But) Our mediation must be towards God; otherwise, we may spend our time of retiral in quiet converse with ourselves.  This may quiet our nerves but will not further our spiritual life in any way.
  • When we lift our eyes to gaze upon God we are sure to meet friendly eyes gazing back at us.
  • Our strength and safety lie not in noise but in silence.
  • Whatever else it embraces, true Christian experience must always include a genuine encounter with God.
  • The presence of God is the central fact of Christianity.
  • The presence of God in our midst- bringing a sense of godly fear and reverence- this is largely missing today.
    • You cannot induce it by soft music, beautiful windows, or holding up a biscuit and claiming it is God.
  • True worship is to be so personally and hopelessly in love with God that the idea of a transfer of affection never even remotely exists.
  • I believe in personal communion with God to the point of incandescence.
  • The fellowship of God is delightful beyond all telling.  He communes with His redeemed ones in an easy, uninhibited fellowship that is restful and healing to the soul.
    • He is not sensitive nor temperamental.
    • He is not hard to please, though He may be hard to satisfy.
    • He expects of us only what He has first supplied.
    • He loves us for ourselves and values our love more galaxies of new created worlds.
  • The primary work of the Holy Spirit is to restore the lost soul to intimate fellowship with God through washing and regeneration.
    • He first reveals Christ to the penitent heart.
    • He then goes on to illuminate the newborn soul with brighter rays from the face of Christ and leads the willing heart into depths and heights of divine knowledge and communion.
    • Remember, we know Christ only as the Spirit enables us and we have only as much of Him as the Spirit imparts.
    • Gifts of power for service the Spirit surely desires to impart; but holiness and spiritual worship come first.
  • Perhaps the most serious charge that can be brought against modern Christians is that we are not sufficiently in love with Christ.
  • The more perfect our friendship with God becomes the simpler will our lives be.
  • God is not satisfied until there exists between Him and His people a relaxed informality that requires no artificial stimulation.
    • The true friend of God may sit in His presence for long periods of silence.
    • Complete trust needs no words of assurance.
  • We should never forget that God created us to be joyful worshipers, but sin drew us into everything else but worship.
  • For myself, if I couldn't have the divine power of God, I would quit the whole business.
  • The simple truth is that worship is elementary until it begins to take on the quality of admiration.
    • We begin to grow up when our worship passes from thanksgiving to admiration.
  • Reverence is a beautiful thing, and it is so rare in this terrible day in which we live.
  • You can worship God anywhere is you will let Him work in your being and suffer no rival.
  • It is true that for each one there must be a personal encounter with God.
  • We Christians should watch lest we lose the "Oh!" from our hearts.
  • The music of heaven is adoration.
  • When we've known God enough and come to have faith in Him, when we have boundless confidence in His character, and when we come to admire Him and love Him for His excellence, when we become magnetized by His beauty and adore Him we will want to pour ourselves out at His feet.
    • Consecration is not difficult to someone who has met God.
  • Christian believers are called to be burning bushes.