When Life Makes it Hard to Worship – “Thy Will Be Done”

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It's hard to worship when life is hard. Jesus said we would have troubles and taught us to pray "Thy will be done." 4 simple words that change everything.

I googled Why Should You Worship When You Don’t Feel Like it and wasn’t surprised to find millions of possibilities. What I did find interesting was that most of the things listed on the early pages had to do with not feeling like going to church.

And I get it. That’s an issue. But we’ve determined this month that worship is so much more than sitting in a row for an hour or so each week.

So, the question remains . . . why should you worship when you don’t feel like it? When life is hard. When you’re worried or heartbroken. When you’re disappointed. Let’s be honest here—when you feel like God has let you down in some way.

Today we’re going to look at reasons why we should worship when it isn’t coming naturally or flowing freely.

The other day, I was driving home from having coffee with a friend and blasting my Christian radio stations. I have the buttons set up on my car radio so I can quickly switch from our local Christian station to The Message on XM radio.

Hillary Scott’s song, “Thy Will” started playing.

I love that song and sang along with full-on abandon just a little while earlier.; so, when it started playing again I decided to find out what was playing on the other station.

You guessed it…

Hillary Scott’s – Thy Will.

I just started laughing, said, “Okay Lord, I get it,” and sang along.

Thy Will Be Done.

Hillary wrote, “Thy Will” following painful and devastating circumstances.

And worship is hard when we’re hurting—when His will doesn’t line up with ours.

It's hard to worship when life is hard. Jesus said we would have troubles and taught us to pray "Thy will be done." 4 simple words that change everything.

But look at Job…

He had it all and then he didn’t. But what does he say?

He said, “I came naked from my mother’s womb, and I will be naked when I leave. The Lord gave me what I had, and the Lord has taken it away. Praise the name of the Lord!” Job 1:21

Praise the name of the Lord! 

If you’re like me, Job’s situation may be the very reason you struggle with the words, “Thy will be done.” I spent decades terrified God’s will for me would include devastating loss. So I held back just a little . . . afraid of the cost of complete surrender.

But all the fear, anxiety, and holding back didn’t prevent loss. God allowed some really tough stuff.

And I learned something.

When I turn to Him, completely surrendered with nothing left to offer but my broken mess . . . God shows up.

Rick Warren, who lost his 27-year-old son to suicide, wrote…

“Your most profound and intimate experiences of worship will likely be in your darkest days – when your heart is broken, when you feel abandoned, when you’re out of options, when the pain is great – and you turn to God alone.” 

It’s true!

You and I can take our broken surrendered souls to God in worship and receive the gift of His comfort and healing peace.

Jesus taught the words, “Thy will be done,” in the Lord’s Prayer.

Thy will be done on earth, as it is in heaven. Matthew 6:10

And then prayed them again in the Garden of Gethsemane.

“My Father, if it is not possible for this cup to be taken away unless I drink it, may your will be done.” Matthew 26:42

Remember worship is “taking your everyday, ordinary life—your sleeping, eating, going-to-work, and walking-around life—and place it before God as an offering.” Romans 12:1–2 (MSG)

Worship says, “Thy will be done.”

It’s hard. No one wants to suffer. All we have to do is look around to know…

In this world, you will have trouble.  John 16:33

We’re afraid. We worry and try to control.

But the rest of the verse makes worship both possible and a blessing.

I told you these things so that you can have peace in me. In this world, you will have trouble, but be brave! I have defeated the world.

Have peace. Be brave. Jesus has defeated the world.

Any trouble this world offers is only temporary. Jesus has already won the victory and He’s sharing it with you and me.

God calls us:

  • Friend – John 15:15
  • Free – Romans 8:2, Galatians 5:1
  • Accepted and Loved – Ephesians 1:3–6
  • Chosen – Colossians 3:12
  • A New Creation – 2 Corinthians 5:17
  • Child – Galatians 4:7
  • Citizen of Heaven – Philippians 3:20
  • Blessed – Ephesians 1:3
  • Loved – 1 Thessalonians 1:4

That’s why we worship and how we are able to say, “Thy will be done.”

It's hard to worship when life is hard. Jesus said we would have troubles and taught us to pray "Thy will be done." 4 simple words that change everything.

I’ll admit if I had my way I’d end suffering and set up world peace but in this sinful world faith often gets lazy when life is easy.

So, you and I trust the Sovereign God. The One who sees the beginning from the end and knew it would take the death and resurrection of His only Son to save us and knows every life that will be touched and transformed when you and I worship Him by saying, “Thy will be done.”

Elisabeth Elliot said…

“I realized that the deepest spiritual lessons are not learned by His letting us have our way in the end, but by His making us wait, bearing with us in love and patience until we are able to honestly to pray what He taught His disciples to pray: Thy will be done. Acceptance of whatever this means is the great victory of faith that overcomes the world.” 

Her husband, Jim, was only 28-years-old when he died in 1956 while serving in the mission field in Ecuador. Elizabeth didn’t join him in heaven until last year.

When you and I worship through our suffering, when life is hard when we don’t feel like it . . . people notice.

God is glorified and lives are touched by the power of the Holy Spirit.

Susannah Spurgeon, wife of Charles, who spent the majority of her adult life with an undiagnosed debilitating illness wrote…

” . . . the moment we come into any trial or difficulty, our first thought should be, not how soon can we escape from it, or how we may lessen the pain we shall suffer from it, but how can we best glorify God in it . . .”


“How wise should we be if, with joyful certainty, we accepted each unfolding of His will as a proof of His faithfulness and love!”

I’m humbled by these saints who have gone before me leaving an example of faithful worship through suffering. By God’s grace and with His help I will worship Him and sing, “Thy Will” Be Done.

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  1. Thank you Deb this is a wonderful reminder to be still and accept God’s will even when it is difficult to do so! Something I struggle to do but continue to work at. A good lesson to start this week off with. Amen! God bless you!

  2. Kaylin Zimmerman says:

    Visiting from Mommy Moments. Thanks for this encouraging post! It’s theme, obedience in suffering, has been something on my mind quite a bit lately. Thank you for sharing. 🙂

  3. The Lord’s Prayer has been big in my spirit this entire year, so any emphases on the principles found there are so meaningful to me. Thanks for your thoughts on worship and for sharing this lovely video. Visiting today from #momentsofhope where we’re neighbors.

  4. This has been a recurring theme in my heart this morning. I need to slow down and worship no matter how many other things I have going on. It’s so important!

  5. I too am humbled by the stories of these saints who have learned to worship God in the hardest of circumstances. This post was such a beautiful reminder to me today of why it’s important to worship God even when it’s difficult

  6. I absolutely adore the song “Thy Will,” Deb! Jan Karon in her Mitford Series books calls “Thy will be done” the prayer that is always answered. I love to think of it that way, too.

  7. This is one of my favorite songs of all time. I could listen to it on repeat for an entire week! So good, and thanks for this lovely post, too!

  8. True, so true. God would not be my whole life, my everything, and my only reason to exist if i had not suffer so much in my life. Thank You Lord Jesus my King!

  9. Thanks Deb for this reminder. Sometimes worship is difficult, but always worthwhile. Thanks for encouraging post.

  10. Love this: ““Your most profound and intimate experiences of worship will likely be in your darkest days – when your heart is broken, when you feel abandoned, when you’re out of options, when the pain is great – and you turn to God alone.” So much truth. Blessed to be your neighbor at Testimony Tuesday.

  11. Deb- POWERFUL truth that I needed to hear. It’s crazy how God is reminding me of such truths today! This was for me! Lov eyou!

  12. It’s so good to know that our trials are temporary and that one day we will go to a better place where all sorrows will cease.
    But in the meantime, I’m glad to be a child of the Kind Sovereign who is always with me, even in those darkest hours and days. His Presence is such a comfort.
    I’ve been reading Michael Card’s book, “A Sacred Sorrow”. So, I’ve been studying about Job and David and how God can handle it when our worship includes a lament that includes a wide range of emotions, not just love and joy.

  13. Laura Hicks says:

    Deb, this is such a great reminder. I love how God meets me right in the hardest places as I surrender to Him in worship. So glad you shared this.

  14. So, so, so good, Deb. I just wrote a post about how sometimes it is difficult to have gratitude. This post was such a natural extension of that thought process I have been going through. As I think back through the times it felt difficult to worship, when I pushed through I’d find myself on my knees feeling the presence of the Holy Spirit in a powerful way.

    Thank you, friend,

  15. You don’t know how much this helped me today. My daughter ran away & my uncle passed away as I finished reporting my kid missing…yesterday I wanted to be alone & didn’t feel in the mood to pray and I today I didn’t think I would bother with church. I’m ebrassing this hurt when I really should be getting ready to go whorship my Lord. Thank you for this. I’m so glad I found this encouraging post.

    1. Pierina, I’m so glad this blessed you. I’m praying for you and asking God to return your daughter to your family. I know the pain of a child choosing to run away. May God cover you with His love and give you His peace. Blessings and hugs!