Worship and Performance

Worship is a familiar word to me. I literally grew up in church because my parents met as choir members. Later on, I found myself leading the congregation in singing songs to God. Singing songs about Him, yes, but not really knowing Him. That was me before. There was a disconnect; worship to me was just about performing a song and getting the line-up right.

Performing is another familiar word to me. My dad taught me how to play the guitar when I was about 14 years old. From then on, I would write a verse or a chorus, but I would never really get to finish what I wrote. Nonetheless, performing my partially written compositions was when I was most alive.

While in college, someone approached me and asked if I would be interested to do gigs at bars like Saguijo and Route 196. I got to open for some of the local artists I looked up to, such as Yosha, Julianne Taroja, Kitchie Nadal, and Barbie Almalbis. However, every time I finished a set, I would feel so insecure and vulnerable. The pressure to perform was all too real as I started comparing myself to others. I found myself equating my worth with how people responded to my music. “What if I am never good enough?” I was crippled by this question.

I then stopped doing gigs altogether.

Keziah in one of her gigs

An Encounter with God

It was the summer of 2015 when I attended JREV Nazarite Training, an intensive training on living a consecrated lifestyle. There, God encountered my heart afresh. He reminded me of how I was wired to worship Him with reckless abandon like the woman with the alabaster jar— the one who poured expensive oil upon the feet of Jesus. Her encounter with Jesus warranted an extravagant response of worship.

In Baguio, during the Nazarite Training

Photo by Luis Alberto Sánchez Terrones on Unsplash

During the sessions, God was exposing the reality of my heart and how I had been trying to please Him; how I had been thinking I could earn His approval if I performed for Him. Yet He was assuring me that He already approved of me and that He was delighted in me as much as He delights in His own son, Jesus. During one of the sessions, I knew Jesus was in the room with me. Just that fresh encounter with His beauty shifted something in my heart, tearing down my false understanding of worship.

A Little Longer

“You don’t have to do a thing, simply be with ME and love on me a little longer…” – A Little Longer by Jenn Johnson (Bethel Music)

On the last day of the training, I prayed to Jesus, saying, “What do you want me to do for You?” I was listening to the song, “A Little Longer” by Jenn Johnson, and this part of the song came alive to me:

Then I hear You sing to me
“You… don’t have to do a thing
Just simply be with me and let those things go
‘Cause they can wait another minute
Wait… this moment is too sweet
Would you please stay here with Me
And love on Me a little longer”
I hear You say…
“You… don’t have to do a thing
Just simply be with me and let those things go
‘Cause they can wait another minute
Wait… this moment is too sweet
Would you please stay here with Me
And love on Me a little longer
I’d love to be with you a little longer
‘Cause I’m in love with you

Jenn Johnson, “A Little Longer” 

Image by StockSnap from Pixabay

I was undone at that moment. How could I not respond in worship when God was revealing the beauty of His heart to me? All along, I thought worship was just me singing songs to Him. But then again, it was God who first started singing over me.

For the LORD your God is living among you. He is a mighty savior. He will take delight in you with gladness. With his love, he will calm all your fears. He will rejoice over you with joyful songs.” Zephaniah 3:17

It was from this place that I started to write songs again. For me, there is no more striving to perform but partnering with the Holy Spirit in the secret place instead. The melodies and words simply flow from this place!

Knowing Worship

Sa Wakas

Last February 14, 2021, Gateway Generation released a new single called “Sa Wakas,” a song I wrote about two years ago as I was staying in the prayer room at the Gateway House of Prayer. I pray that as I share this and the other songs Jesus has awakened in me, people will also encounter His presence and His delight over them.

Keren Keziah Grajales

Keren Keziah Grajales is a singer/songwriter who serves full-time at the Gateway House of Prayer. She is a Worship Leader at Gateway Generation and does graphic art for Jesus Revolution Now (JREV).