Imagine a room just twelve-by-eighteen with cement floors and walls, and only one window. Now visualize that room being packed shoulder-to-shoulder with men, women and children—all singing at the top of their lungs.
Their collective voice bounces off the concrete and magnifies several times over before reaching your ears. You are seated at the front of the room, facing the crowd, and you see in their faces something that speaks of being oblivious to everything except a relationship with the Lord.
This is what Gail Knox and Susan Woodward experienced the last Sunday of their recent trip to Yangon, Myanmar (formerly known as Rangoon, Burma). “The words were in Burmese so we couldn’t sing along,” Gail says about the experience. “Yet the zeal of our Burmese brothers and sisters caught us up in a spirit of worship like nothing I’ve experienced in a very long time.”
Gail defines “singing at the top of your lungs” as something far more than just increased volume. “It involves surrendering everything you are to the God you’re singing to,” she explains. “It’s letting Him be the focal point of all your senses. It’s pouring your heart into every word and forgetting about everything else but Him. That’s exactly what they were doing that Sunday morning in Yangon. It was incredible.”
“The fact that we didn’t speak Burmese so as to join in the singing didn’t prevent our being swept up in their enthusiasm,” Susan adds. “It was a totally abandoned worship that we were witnessing. That’s a rarity in the world we live in today.
“But once worship of this magnitude is experienced,” she continues, “anything less can suck the life right out of you. To be in a service where people aren’t singing ‘at the top of their lungs’ is downright painful. And if it is painful to me, I wonder how God feels.”
Susan urges everyone to give it a try. “The next time you’re in a worship service, forget about who’s around you and what they might think. Just abandon yourself totally to Him in worship and sing ‘at the top of your lungs.’ Once you do, I’m betting you’ll never be able to do anything less than that again.”