How to Worship from a Piano Bench or Anywhere

I’ve wasted a lot of time waiting for “perfect moments” that never come. A perfect worship scenario to me would be my family in the pew, together. My husband, then me and the children lined up like stair steps, perhaps the baby in my arms. No one would drop a hymn book or fall or cry. I would feel comfortable raising my hand when my heart was moved. My husband would hold my book for me. We would make eye contact on the most meaningful words that have held us though some of the most turbulent times. There would be meaning, deep meaning. And this worship would come from pure hearts that enjoyed the drive to church in peace and harmony.

How to Worship from a Piano Bench...or anywhere

My reality was quite different. My husband is the preacher/song leader and I am the church pianist. He stands over yonder and I sit over here. And the little ones have been farmed out to anyone who would take them, but I always had one on the piano bench with me. We’ve spent thirty years doing this and I can count on two hands the times I have been blessed to worship from the pew. I don’t think I will ever stop longing to be able to sing and stand in the midst of saints and worship. I am not sure I am required to give up that desire. But I’ve had to learn to worship in the “here and now” of my life.  I’ve had to learn how to worship from a piano bench.

Can the women in the nursery worship while watching babies? How about those running the sound boards and doing other service jobs while the congregation sings their anthems with their voices raised to God? Yes! Because worship is not just a moving of the mouth, but the moving of the heart and hands.  The cry for worship is strong in a child of God and it needs to be satisfied, but it doesn’t always fit a formula.

Worship is more than music. It’s more than hymns and voices. Worship is a cry from our heart to God’s, magnifying Him and all we know Him to be. I can do that from the piano bench. I don’t sing when I play. Maybe if I had started that way back when it wouldn’t be as weird as if I would start that now. But I do worship, every bit as much as those who are in the pews. My heart focuses on the words if it’s not a super hard song to play (such as “A Mighty Fortress” — dear heavens, that bass line kills me) and I agree and speak to God in my heart and head.

What I want you to know, is that God can be magnified and praised from every part of the building, whether you are ministering by service or standing and singing with the congregation. I’m a little envious if your worship is from the pew, but I remind myself that Heaven awaits me — I will not miss out on this blessing for long.

So to the workers of the church, come Sunday, let the worship rise from the servant’s hearts in all corners of the building. May the whole congregation praise Him with mouth, hands, and feet. We cannot wait for perfect moments. Worship can me made at the piano bench, or the nursery, kitchen or parking lot. Sometimes with a baby next to me and sometimes with a little honky-tonk that seeps out of me onto the keyboard (yes, I have managed to do that to “A Mighty Fortress”). It is accepted by our Beloved if it is offered with a pure heart.

Which part of the building are you worshiping from when you can’t be in the pew?


  1. I dream of that day, too…but in general it’s my MIL with the baby and my husband and I swapping places as I finish singing and he goes up to preach. 🙂 You put into words what I’ve felt guilty about sometimes…having to focus on hitting the right notes rather than being able to “just worship.” It seems ironic that someone leading worship would have to learn to worship, but it’s true…it’s an interesting sort of multi-tasking. I believe that corporate worship is really important for everyone to experience, even though we have to be creative during certain seasons. But some of us will have to wait, as you said. Still, there is nothing like that feeling when you haven’t been able to join in for awhile, and finally get your chance…it always moves me.

  2. Thank you so much for this! I so identify, having spent over ten years at the piano bench every Sunday. Now an overuse injury keeps me in the pew and gives me a different perspective. But I sure miss worshiping at the bench. It is a unique and wonderful kind of worship. Blessings to you, friend!

    1. Lydia, I hope your Sunday was blessed and you enjoyed the worship in the pew today. May you heal quickly to get back to the ivories. Thank you for reading my words.

  3. This is hilarious! I read this whole thing thinking – wow, my wife could have written this word for word… not until I saw your beautiful face at the end did I realize that YOU HAD written it! Great piece!

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