Written by: Kelly Meade (10/13/2017)
Drawing inspiration from a sermon at his home church, singer/songwriter/worship leader Chris Tomlin suggested to his pastor, Darren Whitehead, that the topic of that Sunday's service should be something many more people could hear, or read. The result is the book Holy Roar: 7 Words That Will Change The Way You Worship.
In Holy Roar, the hearts of readers are opened to seven words of praise found throughout the Bible. Whether it's because of a more conservative church background, a strong dislike of attention or other reason, many of us may struggle with the concept of physically expressing our worship. The purpose of Holy Roar is to help believers break down the barriers we've built up in our minds and around our hearts keeping us from fully giving ourselves over to worshipping God.
Each chapter of the book focuses on one of seven ancient Hebrew terms for worship and each word describes an outward act of worship:
- Yâdâh, yaw-daw´: To revere or worship with extended hands. To hold out the hands. To throw a stone or arrow.
- Hâlal, haw-lal´: To boast. To rave. To shine. To celebrate. To be clamorously foolish.
- Zâmar, zaw-mar´: To make music. To celebrate in song and music. To touch the strings or parts of a musical instrument.
- Tôwdâh, to-daw´: An extension of the hand. Thanksgiving. A confession. A sacrifice of praise. Thanksgiving for things not yet received. A choir of worshippers.
- Bârak, baw-rak´: To kneel. To bless God (as an act of adoration). To praise. To salute. To thank.
- Tehillâh, teh-hil-law´: Laudation. A hymn. A song of praise. A new song. A spontaneous song.
- Shâbach, shaw-bakh´: To address in a loud tone. To shout. To commend, glory, and triumph.
Also included in each chapter is a Behind The Music section where Chris Tomlin highlights a song he's written or recorded that pertains to the word for that chapter. There is also a selection of Scripture references and a set of questions to ask yourself or spur a group discussion to help you apply what you just read to your life and worship time.
As someone who has always had a difficult time with my own outward expressions of worship, reading Holy Roar reminded me of the fact that praise and worship is a joyful experience. I loved getting to read Pastor Darren’s point of view and a little about his own church upbringing as he grew in his understanding of truly allowing yourself to worship. There were several points that jumped out at me, but what had the most impact was the chapter on The Music of Praise that talks about the power of music in the lives of people as well as its importance to times of worship and the chapter on The Expectation of Praise which tells of worshipping with hopeful hearts and giving thanks for things that God has not yet done, but believing He will be faithful whatever the outcome. I also found the stories behind Chris’s songs featured in the book very interesting and they gave me a more personal connection to many, especially “Good Good Father” & “God’s Great Dance Floor”. In the end, the point was made clear that the act of worship is meant to be an unashamed celebration of what God has done in our lives.