Many think worship is singing songs in church, but this is just a tiny aspect of a lifestyle loving God with everything you’ve got.
The English word worship derives from the old English weorthscipe ‘worthiness, acknowledgement of worth’ (see worth, -ship).
In German “Anbetung” literally means “to-praying”
In Portuguese “Adoração” = Adoration
In 1995, Gary Chapman wrote “The Five Love Languages” explaining that people express and appreciate love in different ways:
Gifts, Quality time, Words of affirmation, Acts of service, and Physical touch
Worship is an expression of love, which encompasses each of these:
- Giving in the church offering and charitably to others
- Spending time contemplating God’s word and with God’s people both currently and not yet
- Expressing our gratitude to God and encouraging others into closer relationship with God
- Serving your family, your church and your community
- Touching God seems impossible, but that is when we pray for others, including laying on hands or giving hugs, “Greeting each other with a brotherly kiss” or high-five in greeting
Worship encompasses our five senses
- Making music – well dah! but in silence we hear best from God
- Seeing stimulating artwork, flower arrangements, dance but closing our eyes removes distractions
- Smelling – incense, flowers, aromatic anointing oil, burned sacrifices
- Tasting – the bread and wine of communion or fasting to gain spiritual focus or a life abstaining from certain things e.g. alcohol, meat, food sacrificed to false Gods e.g. Halal
- Feeling a comfortable environment or a hard pew encouraging us to get up 😉 or being immersed in the waters of Baptism
Throughout the church, people have and do worship in different ways, often influenced by their culture:
- Head bowed
- Hands raised
- Arms wide
- Lying prostrate (face-down in submission to God’s awesomeness)
- A flute to create a godly atmosphere
- Dancing shoes to dance before the Lord
- Art gear to create as did our creator
- A blanket to provide accommodation
- A pot to cook a meal
- A first aid kit to care for the injured
- A car to take others to church or shopping
Examples of worship from the Bible
The Bible is full of examples of worship. Here’s some highlights.
Speaks of Lucifer/Satan
12 How you have fallen from heaven, morning star, son of the dawn! You have been cast down to the earth, you who once laid low the nations! 13 You said in your heart, “I will ascend to the heavens; I will raise my throne above the stars of God; I will sit enthroned on the mount of assembly, on the utmost heights of Mount Zaphon. 14 I will ascend above the tops of the clouds; I will make myself like the Most High.” 15 But you are brought down to the realm of the dead, to the depths of the pit.
Lucifer led a third of God’s angels as worship director, but pride led to envy, self-exaltation and rebellion against God
To be wary of such temptation, worship reminds us of the order of things – God is supreme and we are his creation – created to be his children, with his perfection covering our imperfection.
Now Abel kept flocks, and Cain worked the soil. 3 In the course of time Cain brought some of the fruits of the soil as an offering to the Lord. 4 And Abel also brought an offering—fat portions from some of the firstborn of his flock. The Lord looked with favor on Abel and his offering, 5 but on Cain and his offering he did not look with favor. So Cain was very angry, and his face was downcast. 6 Then the Lord said to Cain, “Why are you angry? Why is your face downcast? 7 If you do what is right, will you not be accepted? But if you do not do what is right, sin is crouching at your door; it desires to have you, but you must rule over it.”
Abel loved God so much that he gave his best. Cain’s grudging worship cursed his entire life.
21 When Enoch had lived 65 years, he became the father of Methuselah. 22 After he became the father of Methuselah, Enoch walked faithfully with God 300 years and had other sons and daughters. 23 Altogether, Enoch lived a total of 365 years. 24 Enoch walked faithfully with God; then he was no more, because God took him away.
May we also be found worthy when Jesus returns to collect us to himself.
After Job’s life was destroyed
20 Job got up and tore his robe and shaved his head. Then he fell to the ground in worship 21 and said: “Naked I came from my mother’s womb, and naked I will depart. The Lord gave and the Lord has taken away; may the name of the Lord be praised.” 22 In all this, Job did not sin by charging God with wrongdoing.
Whether times are good or bad, worshiping God focuses our priorities on his reality.
1 Some time later God tested Abraham. He said to him, “Abraham!” “Here I am,” he replied.
2 Then God said, “Take your son, your only son, whom you love—Isaac—and go to the region of Moriah. Sacrifice him there as a burnt offering on a mountain I will show you.”
3 Early the next morning Abraham got up and loaded his donkey. He took with him two of his servants and his son Isaac. When he had cut enough wood for the burnt offering, he set out for the place God had told him about. 4 On the third day Abraham looked up and saw the place in the distance. 5 He said to his servants, “Stay here with the donkey while I and the boy go over there. We will worship and then we will come back to you.”
6 Abraham took the wood for the burnt offering and placed it on his son Isaac, and he himself carried the fire and the knife. As the two of them went on together, 7 Isaac spoke up and said to his father Abraham, “Father?” “Yes, my son?” Abraham replied. “The fire and wood are here,” Isaac said, “but where is the lamb for the burnt offering?”
8 Abraham answered, “God himself will provide the lamb for the burnt offering, my son.” And the two of them went on together.
9 When they reached the place God had told him about, Abraham built an altar there and arranged the wood on it. He bound his son Isaac and laid him on the altar, on top of the wood. 10 Then he reached out his hand and took the knife to slay his son. 11 But the angel of the Lord called out to him from heaven, “Abraham! Abraham!” “Here I am,” he replied.
12 “Do not lay a hand on the boy,” he said. “Do not do anything to him. Now I know that you fear God, because you have not withheld from me your son, your only son.”
13 Abraham looked up and there in a thicket he saw a ram caught by its horns. He went over and took the ram and sacrificed it as a burnt offering instead of his son. 14 So Abraham called that place The Lord Will Provide. And to this day it is said, “On the mountain of the Lord it will be provided.”
15 The angel of the Lord called to Abraham from heaven a second time 16 and said, “I swear by myself, declares the Lord, that because you have done this and have not withheld your son, your only son, 17 I will surely bless you and make your descendants as numerous as the stars in the sky and as the sand on the seashore. Your descendants will take possession of the cities of their enemies, 18 and through your offspring all nations on earth will be blessed, because you have obeyed me.”
Sometimes God asks us to do something absurd, seemingly to test us, which turns out to be of great prophetic importance. In this case, Abraham enacted God’s sacrifice of his own son on that same mountain 2000 years later.
Isaac submitted to his father in this act of worship.
Jacob Wrestles With Jesus
22 That night Jacob got up and took his two wives, his two female servants and his eleven sons and crossed the ford of the Jabbok. 23 After he had sent them across the stream, he sent over all his possessions. 24 So Jacob was left alone, and a man wrestled with him till daybreak. 25 When the man saw that he could not overpower him, he touched the socket of Jacob’s hip so that his hip was wrenched as he wrestled with the man. 26 Then the man said, “Let me go, for it is daybreak.” But Jacob replied, “I will not let you go unless you bless me.”
27 The man asked him, “What is your name?” “Jacob,” he answered.
28 Then the man said, “Your name will no longer be Jacob, but Israel, because you have struggled with God and with humans and have overcome.”
29 Jacob said, “Please tell me your name.” But he replied, “Why do you ask my name?” Then he blessed him there.
30 So Jacob called the place Peniel, saying, “It is because I saw God face to face, and yet my life was spared.”
31 The sun rose above him as he passed Peniel, and he was limping because of his hip. 32 Therefore to this day the Israelites do not eat the tendon attached to the socket of the hip, because the socket of Jacob’s hip was touched near the tendon.
We need to wrestle with God until we break through to receive God’s blessing, but thereafter we may never walk the same.
1 Now Moses was tending the flock of Jethro his father-in-law, the priest of Midian, and he led the flock to the far side of the wilderness and came to Horeb, the mountain of God. 2 There the angel of the Lord appeared to him in flames of fire from within a bush. Moses saw that though the bush was on fire it did not burn up. 3 So Moses thought, “I will go over and see this strange sight—why the bush does not burn up.”
4 When the Lord saw that he had gone over to look, God called to him from within the bush, “Moses! Moses!” And Moses said, “Here I am.”
5 “Do not come any closer,” God said. “Take off your sandals, for the place where you are standing is holy ground.” 6 Then he said, “I am the God of your father, the God of Abraham, the God of Isaac and the God of Jacob.” At this, Moses hid his face, because he was afraid to look at God.
Sometimes we take off our shoes in reverence for God’s presence.
When King Saul kept what was to be destroyed “for a sacrifice”
22 Samuel replied: “Does the LORD delight in burnt offerings and sacrifices as much as in obeying the LORD? To obey is better than sacrifice, and to heed is better than the fat of rams.
God ordered the Amalekites destroyed with their goods to purge a contamination of evil. Saul’s disobedience brought that contamination upon himself, destroying his ministry and blessing. A thousand years later a descendant of those Saul spared almost wiped out the Jews of Esther’s time.
1 Praise the Lord. Sing to the Lord a new song, his praise in the assembly of his faithful people.
2 Let Israel rejoice in their Maker; let the people of Zion be glad in their King.
3 Let them praise his name with dancing and make music to him with timbrel and harp.
4 For the Lord takes delight in his people; he crowns the humble with victory.
5 Let his faithful people rejoice in this honor and sing for joy on their beds.
*6 May the praise of God be in their mouths and a double-edged sword in their hands,
7 to inflict vengeance on the nations and punishment on the peoples,
8 to bind their kings with fetters, their nobles with shackles of iron,
9 to carry out the sentence written against them— this is the glory of all his faithful people. Praise the Lord.
* Through the Holy Spirit, “our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms.” Ephesians 6:12
David is the greatest inspiration for worshippers, particularly musicians
David in Saul’s Service
14 Now the Spirit of the Lord had departed from Saul, and an evil spirit from the Lord tormented him.
15 Saul’s attendants said to him, “See, an evil spirit from God is tormenting you. 16 Let our lord command his servants here to search for someone who can play the lyre. He will play when the evil spirit from God comes on you, and you will feel better.”
17 So Saul said to his attendants, “Find someone who plays well and bring him to me.”
18 One of the servants answered, “I have seen a son of Jesse of Bethlehem who knows how to play the lyre. He is a brave man and a warrior. He speaks well and is a fine-looking man. And the Lord is with him.”
19 Then Saul sent messengers to Jesse and said, “Send me your son David, who is with the sheep.” 20 So Jesse took a donkey loaded with bread, a skin of wine and a young goat and sent them with his son David to Saul.
21 David came to Saul and entered his service. Saul liked him very much, and David became one of his armor-bearers. 22 Then Saul sent word to Jesse, saying, “Allow David to remain in my service, for I am pleased with him.”
23 Whenever the spirit from God came on Saul, David would take up his lyre and play. Then relief would come to Saul; he would feel better, and the evil spirit would leave him.
David’s humble service as a shepherd gave him the perfect environment to develop intimacy with God who kept David in the right place until the right time came for God to use him powerfully.
34 But David said to Saul, “Your servant has been keeping his father’s sheep. When a lion or a bear came and carried off a sheep from the flock, 35 I went after it, struck it and rescued the sheep from its mouth. When it turned on me, I seized it by its hair, struck it and killed it.
36 Your servant has killed both the lion and the bear; this uncircumcised Philistine will be like one of them, because he has defied the armies of the living God. 37 The Lord who rescued me from the paw of the lion and the paw of the bear will rescue me from the hand of this Philistine.” Saul said to David, “Go, and the Lord be with you.”
When Solomon dedicated the temple, God said
13 When I shut up the heavens so that there is no rain, or command locusts to devour the land or send a plague among my people, 14 if my people, who are called by my name, will humble themselves and pray and seek my face and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven, and I will forgive their sin and will heal their land.
We should use times of trouble to humbly reflect if there are aspects of our relationship in need of improvement.
15 While the harpist was playing, the hand of the Lord came on Elisha
This is the key reason I play under preachers – to create a Godly atmosphere and support their ministry.
The people of Israel indulged more and more in hypocritical worship. Just before Israel was exiled, God said
21 “I hate, I despise your religious festivals; your assemblies are a stench to me.
22 Even though you bring me burnt offerings and grain offerings, I will not accept them. Though you bring choice fellowship offerings, I will have no regard for them.
23 Away with the noise of your songs! I will not listen to the music of your harps.
24 But let justice roll on like a river, righteousness like a never-failing stream!
If our lifestyle is ungodly, our worship is just an obnoxious noise.
10 Now when Daniel learned that the decree [prohibiting worship] had been published, he went home to his upstairs room where the windows opened toward Jerusalem. Three times a day he got down on his knees and prayed, giving thanks to his God, just as he had done before.When Daniel emerged unscathed from the lion’s den and his conspirators were crushed before they hit the floor
When Daniel emerged unscathed from the lion’s den and his conspirators were crushed before they hit the floor
25 King Darius wrote to all the nations and peoples of every language in all the earth: “May you prosper greatly!
26 “I issue a decree that in every part of my kingdom people must fear and reverence the God of Daniel. “For he is the living God and he endures forever; his kingdom will not be destroyed, his dominion will never end.
27 He rescues and he saves; he performs signs and wonders in the heavens and on the earth. He has rescued Daniel from the power of the lions.”
28 So Daniel prospered during the reign of Darius and the reign of Cyrus the Persian.
This was not the first pagan emperor who turned to God due to Daniel’s humble heart of worship.
Shortly after the temple had been rebuilt God said
10 “Oh, that one of you would shut the temple doors, so that you would not light useless fires on my altar! I am not pleased with you,” says the Lord Almighty, “and I will accept no offering from your hands. 11 My name will be great among the nations, from where the sun rises to where it sets. In every place incense and pure offerings will be brought to me, because my name will be great among the nations,” says the Lord Almighty.
A harsh scolding followed by a wonderful prophecy fulfilled throughout the church.
Is full of great stuff concerning our attitude to worship and fulfillment of the law in heart as well as in deed. This command cannot be stressed enough
23 Therefore if you are offering your gift at the altar and there remember that your brother has something against you, 24 leave your gift there before the altar. First go and be reconciled to your brother; then come and offer your gift.
Otherwise your pious service will be an obnoxious stench to that person.
Giving to the Needy
1 “Be careful not to practice your righteousness in front of others to be seen by them. If you do, you will have no reward from your Father in heaven.
2 “So when you give to the needy, do not announce it with trumpets, as the hypocrites do in the synagogues and on the streets, to be honored by others. Truly I tell you, they have received their reward in full. 3 But when you give to the needy, do not let your left hand know what your right hand is doing, 4 so that your giving may be in secret. Then your Father, who sees what is done in secret, will reward you.
5 “And when you pray, do not be like the hypocrites, for they love to pray standing in the synagogues and on the street corners to be seen by others. Truly I tell you, they have received their reward in full. 6 But when you pray, go into your room, close the door and pray to your Father, who is unseen. Then your Father, who sees what is done in secret, will reward you. 7 And when you pray, do not keep on babbling like pagans, for they think they will be heard because of their many words. 8 Do not be like them, for your Father knows what you need before you ask him.
9 “This, then, is how you should pray:
“‘Our Father in heaven,
hallowed be your name,
10 your kingdom come,
your will be done,
on earth as it is in heaven.
11 Give us today our daily bread.
12 And forgive us our debts,
as we also have forgiven our debtors.
13 And lead us not into temptation,
but deliver us from the evil one.’
14 For if you forgive other people when they sin against you, your heavenly Father will also forgive you. 15 But if you do not forgive others their sins, your Father will not forgive your sins.
16 “When you fast, do not look somber as the hypocrites do, for they disfigure their faces to show others they are fasting. Truly I tell you, they have received their reward in full. 17 But when you fast, put oil on your head and wash your face, 18 so that it will not be obvious to others that you are fasting, but only to your Father, who is unseen; and your Father, who sees what is done in secret, will reward you.
Jesus quoted Isaiah speaking of Jesus’ contemporaries and a common theme throughout the Bible.
8–9: “These people draw near to Me with their mouth, and honor Me with their lips, but their heart is far from Me. And in vain they worship Me, teaching as doctrines the commandments of men.”
Don’t get caught up fulfilling other’s expectations for how you should worship.
The Parable of the Pharisee and the Tax Collector
9 To some who were confident of their own righteousness and looked down on everyone else, Jesus told this parable: 10 “Two men went up to the temple to pray, one a Pharisee and the other a tax collector. 11 The Pharisee stood by himself and prayed: ‘God, I thank you that I am not like other people—robbers, evildoers, adulterers—or even like this tax collector. 12 I fast twice a week and give a tenth of all I get.’
13 “But the tax collector stood at a distance. He would not even look up to heaven, but beat his breast and said, ‘God, have mercy on me, a sinner.’
14 “I tell you that this man, rather than the other, went home justified before God. For all those who exalt themselves will be humbled, and those who humble themselves will be exalted.”
A Widow’s Contribution
1 Looking up, Jesus saw people, especially the rich, dropping their gifts into the temple offering box. 2 He noticed a poor widow drop in two small coins. 3 He said, “I can guarantee this truth: This poor widow has given more than all the others. 4 All of these people have given what they could spare. But she, in her poverty, has given everything she had to live on.”
24 God is spirit, and his worshipers must worship in the Spirit and in truth.
Jesus’ death on the cross was his greatest act of service
5 Into your hands I commit my spirit;
At that moment, he gave up all his power – everything – to be helpless for the first time ever – in death.
True worship is to give over all our control to God who alone has the power to even raise us from death.
23 Love the Lord, all his faithful people!
The Lord preserves those who are true to him,
but the proud he pays back in full.
24 Be strong and take heart,
all you who hope in the Lord.
1 When the day of Pentecost came, they were all together in one place. 2 Suddenly a sound like the blowing of a violent wind came from heaven and filled the whole house where they were sitting. 3 They saw what seemed to be tongues of fire that separated and came to rest on each of them. 4 All of them were filled with the Holy Spirit and began to speak in other tongues as the Spirit enabled them.
1 Therefore, I urge you, brothers and sisters, in view of God’s mercy, to offer your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and pleasing to God—this is your true and proper worship.
Good Order in Worship
26 What then shall we say, brothers and sisters? When you come together, each of you has a hymn, or a word of instruction, a revelation, a tongue or an interpretation. Everything must be done so that the church may be built up. 27 If anyone speaks in a tongue, two—or at the most three—should speak, one at a time, and someone must interpret. 28 If there is no interpreter, the speaker should keep quiet in the church and speak to himself and to God.
29 Two or three prophets should speak, and the others should weigh carefully what is said.
30 And if a revelation comes to someone who is sitting down, the first speaker should stop.
31 For you can all prophesy in turn so that everyone may be instructed and encouraged. 32 The spirits of prophets are subject to the control of prophets. 33 For God is not a God of disorder but of peace—as in all the congregations of the Lord’s people.
34 Women should remain silent in the churches. They are not allowed to speak, but must be in submission, as the law says. 35 If they want to inquire about something, they should ask their own husbands at home; for it is disgraceful for a woman to speak in the church.
36 Or did the word of God originate with you? Or are you the only people it has reached? 37 If anyone thinks they are a prophet or otherwise gifted by the Spirit, let them acknowledge that what I am writing to you is the Lord’s command. 38 But if anyone ignores this, they will themselves be ignored.
39 Therefore, my brothers and sisters, be eager to prophesy, and do not forbid speaking in tongues.
40 But everything should be done in a fitting and orderly way.
26 We all have something to contribute to worship
27 Speaking a message in tongues is just showing off unless interpreted, in which case it equals prophecy.
29 Prophecy requires teamwork
34 Our worship must respect cultural practices. Note that other areas of the Bible promote women in leadership e.g. prophetesses etc.
35 Disruptive behavior needs to be addressed e.g. a flow of good questions distracts from the message being taught.
36 Respect other church cultures – their differences reach different people
Don’t despise other forms of worship
1 Accept the one whose faith is weak, without quarreling over disputable matters. 2 One person’s faith allows them to eat anything, but another, whose faith is weak, eats only vegetables. 3 The one who eats everything must not treat with contempt the one who does not, and the one who does not eat everything must not judge the one who does, for God has accepted them. 4 Who are you to judge someone else’s servant? To their own master, servants stand or fall. And they will stand, for the Lord is able to make them stand. 5 One person considers one day more sacred than another; another considers every day alike. Each of them should be fully convinced in their own mind. 6 Whoever regards one day as special does so to the Lord. Whoever eats meat does so to the Lord, for they give thanks to God; and whoever abstains does so to the Lord and gives thanks to God.
Being raised in the Salvation Army, I worship God and honor my heritage by abstaining from alcohol.
I avoid Halal foods, which I consider offered to a false god.
I won’t eat blood pudding/sausage as this violates Noahide and New Testament law.
However it is not for me to impose my interpretation upon others. These are not salvation issues.
18 Do not get drunk on wine, which leads to debauchery. Instead, be filled with the Spirit, 19 speaking to one another with psalms, hymns, and songs from the Spirit. Sing and make music from your heart to the Lord, 20 always giving thanks to God the Father for everything, in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ.
This is God’s reward to those who worship him in spirit and in truth:
12 “Look, I am coming soon! My reward is with me, and I will give to each person according to what they have done. 13 I am the Alpha and the Omega, the First and the Last, the Beginning and the End. 14 “Blessed are those who wash their robes, that they may have the right to the tree of life and may go through the gates into the city. 15 Outside are the dogs, those who practice magic arts, the sexually immoral, the murderers, the idolaters and everyone who loves and practices falsehood. 16 “I, Jesus, have sent my angel to give you this testimony for the churches. I am the Root and the Offspring of David, and the bright Morning Star.” 17 The Spirit and the bride say, “Come!” And let the one who hears say, “Come!” Let the one who is thirsty come; and let the one who wishes take the free gift of the water of life.I pray this opens up some new perspectives for you and causes you to hunger to be closer to God.
I pray this opens up some new perspectives for you and causes you to hunger to be closer to God.