An Altar of Brokenness


Worship isn't just a song; it involves determining in your heart that you’ll serve the Lord despite your circumstances.

He drew me up from the pit of destruction, out of the miry bog, and set my feet upon a rock, making my steps secure. Psalm 40:2 (ESV)

A few years into our marriage, my wife, Alena, and I faced an intense season of being tested and squeezed. Every area of our lives that could be shaken was shaken. We found ourselves being squeezed in our finances, our jobs, our marriage and our family.

During this time, the Lord led us to deal with our own personal darkness and, ultimately, be honest about the worst of who we were. It felt like a cave of sorrow, but the Lord shone His bright light on all the darkness in our souls bringing forth an honesty and depth we had never known.

We were broken. Completely broken. I was saved. I knew God and I loved Him, but in this moment in time, my knowledge and love for God deepened to a place of true freedom.

In the Old Testament, when people encountered God, they would build an altar and worship there, naming the place based on the revelation they had gained. During this season, Alena and I built a spiritual altar called “Brokenness” and worshipped there. We still visit this altar often, and each time, we’re reminded of the deep well under the surface of our lives that calls us to leave the shallows and plunge once more into the depths of God.

As we walked through our season of brokenness, we turned our hearts to the Lord, and the truth of Romans 8:12–17 became our refuge. In this passage, Paul writes: “For all who are led by the Spirit of God are sons of God. For you did not receive the spirit of slavery to fall back into fear, but you have received the Spirit of adoption as sons, by whom we cry, ‘Abba! Father!’” (Romans 8:14–15, ESV). Understanding the grace of God is what allows us to step into new levels of freedom.

Galatians 5:1 (NIV) tells us: “It is for freedom that Christ has set us free. Stand firm, then, and do not let yourselves be burdened again by a yoke of slavery.” Jesus didn’t set us free to continue living the same way. He doesn’t want us to stay in our prison cell with the door wide open, just standing there. Jesus set us free so we could leave the prison that once held us captive and live a new life that’s truly free!

Worship, in itself, is not just a song. It’s not only words projected on a screen or a band on a stage. Worship involves determining in your heart that you’ll serve the Lord in spite of the condition of your circumstances. Worship is the song of your life being sung by the choir of your heart as you choose to honor your heavenly Father above all else. As Alena and I walked through our difficult season, we learned to worship from a new place. We stood firm and never again took the burden of slavery upon ourselves. And now, we worship from a new place of freedom.

As a songwriter, I love to express my heart to God through music and lyrics. After the initial blow of our struggles, I sat at the piano in our house and wrote these words in a matter of minutes:

You saved my life from death

when I was all but defeated

You spoke Your promises

And brought life to my weakness

Came as a conquering King

And You warred for my freedom

My soul can’t help but sing,


Over the next several weeks, Alena and I wrote the rest of the song “God Be Praised” together, which became an anthem in our church.

You opened up my eyes,

for the first time I saw You

Your love commanding life

and deserving devotion You told me who I am,

now in faith I believe it

My soul can’t help but sing,


You made a place for me,

silenced all my accusers

Leading me forth with peace,

filled with joy I will follow

Your cross demands my life,

now Your grace is my anthem

My soul can’t help but sing,


Hallelujah, we’re redeemed

and made free

By the blood of the Lamb,

we have won

Hallelujah, we will sing victory

Jesus conquered the grave,

God be praised!

These words are vulnerable and powerful for us. Whenever we sing this song in church, it’s almost like we’re opening the pages of our diary and putting the words on the screens for everyone to see!

Psalm 42:7 (ESV) says: “Deep calls to deep in the roar of your waterfalls; all your waves and breakers have swept over me.” I pray you allow God to overwhelm you with His presence and pull you to deep places of freedom as you understand the power of His grace.

While we must be willing to give to God our all,

we must remember that our all is not good enough.

God has provided His own Son,

the perfect Lamb, as access to Himself. ~ FRANCIS FRANGIPANE


Holy Spirit, I ask You to search my heart. I want to know You in a deeper way, and I want to be freer than I’ve ever been before. I renounce the yoke of slavery, and I step into the spirit of adoption and call You, my Father. Thank You for making me free. Thank You that the blood You shed on the cross was enough and I will never slip out of Your hand. In Jesus’ name, Amen.


  • Ask the Holy Spirit to reveal anything in your heart that keeps you from a place of true freedom.
  • As the Holy Spirit reveals those areas to you, submit them to the Lord and declare who you are in Christ as a new creation. The doors to your prison cell are open … go ahead and step out into freedom.


  • Acts 16:16–40
  • Ephesians 2:1–10
  • Hebrews 12:27

by David Moore


Taken from Love Expressed, a Gateway devotion. 

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