Worship Heals the Worshipper
Peace’s Story by Justin Clifton
Peace wasn’t so sure about this…
She had heard about a songwriting retreat taking place at a local church in Nairobi. It had been a long time since she had attempted to write anything at all, let along a worship song. It had frankly brought back some painful memories. But, she felt like the Lord had told her to go. So, she went.
Peace showed up the first day of the retreat, at a church she didn’t attend with a group of about 70 people she didn’t know. She felt a little out of place; she was also nervous about tackling worship songwriting, which she had put off because of circumstances in her life.
Years ago, Peace’s family went through some hard times. Her father was suddenly diagnosed with stage 3 lymphatic cancer that had spread to his brain stem. The local doctors told him there was nothing that could be done but to go home and get his affairs in order before he died. The cancer diagnoses began to wreak havoc on her family as they began to lose friends and jobs. And the stress between family members was high.
During this struggle, Peace had to transfer schools. Although, she had made a few friends there, she felt very isolated. It was the same feeling she got when she arrived for the first day of the retreat. Isolated and struggling. She really didn’t want to be here.
As the UA retreat progressed, people broke out individually and in groups to begin creatively working on new worship songs. Peace found a seat near the back of the auditorium. As she thought of words and melodies, nothing was coming to her. She thought to herself, “This is exactly what happens every time I try to do this, nothing comes to me.” She made up her mind that she would just finish the first day of the retreat, leave, and not return. Maybe songwriting wasn’t her gift. She had heard that from others before.
You see, back when Peace had transferred schools, back amidst all the struggles in her family, she had made a few friends. She also began working on writing worship songs as a way to work through the hardships in her life. Peace was worshipper at heart. Her mother was a worship leader at her church as well. It was in her genes, so to speak.
She ended up sharing some of those pieces with her friends, excited to see their reaction. However, they didn’t react as she was hoping they would. “Just stick to singing,” they said, “Maybe songwriting isn’t your gift.” Devastated, she quit attempting to write songs for worship.
Until this retreat. But nothing was happening here.
Peace had prayed that the Lord would send someone to help her. And that’s when another retreat attendee, Moses, came over to her seat in the back of the auditorium. He encouraged her songwriting and worked with her some on the words and melodies that she had gotten that day. When Peace arrived for the second day of the retreat, several musicians began helping her put instrumentation to her song. And by the end of the second day, she had finished her first worship song.
She shared it with the other 70 people attending, who were now no longer strangers. However, she was nervous because the last time she shared with friends, it didn’t end well.
After she sang it for the group, the auditorium burst into cheers and clapping. It was a powerful and beautiful moment.
During the final day of the Nairobi retreat, 7 of the 18 finished songs from the previous 2 days were recorded. Peace’s song was among them. As daylight faded, Peace led the entire group of UA attendees in her song. Not as someone afraid to share the gift the Lord had given her, but as someone full of joy doing something she was made to do. And hidden away in a corner of the auditorium, her mother, the worship leader, had quietly come in to listen.
Peace had overcome the hurt from her past, written a beautiful song about surrendering her life to Christ, and sang it with new friends she had made. God had done so much in three days.
That is why United Adoration firmly believes that “Worship heals the worshipper.”
I hope this can be an encouragement for someone who is struggling
Listen & Download
Listen to Peace’s song, “Pendo” that was recorded live in Nairobi, Kenya on the Sifa project.