When you hear the word “worship”, what comes to your mind? More than likely your mind went directly to music in church before the Sunday sermon begins. Worship at church has become classified as singing praises to God before the pastor comes to the pulpit, but is this what God means when He calls on us to worship Him? What is worship, really, and when should we worship God?
6 Oh come, let us worship and bow down;
let us kneel before the Lord, our Maker!Psalm 95:6 ESV
What is worship?
Worship is to give honor, to pay homage, to God, recognizing His worthiness of such special honor. To worship God is to acknowledge His divine perfection and supremacy (1). Throughout scripture, we have many examples of worship.
2 Ascribe to the Lord the glory due his name;
worship the Lord in the splendor of holiness.Psalm 29:2 ESV
How do we worship?
In Old Testament times, worship was done by means of the Tabernacle, sacrifices, and visiting the synagogues, whereas worship has changed since the death and resurrection of Christ.
We can worship God in many different ways. The point of worship is to give honor to God. Keeping that in mind, some examples of worship since the resurrection includes:
- Christians gathering together (Acts 20:7)
- Preaching (1 Corinthians 14:9; Matthew 10:7)
- Reading the Bible (Colossians 4:16; James 1:22)
- Prayer (1 Corinthians 14:14-16)
- Music (Ephesians 5:19; Colossians 3:16)
- Baptism (Acts 2:41)
In the Early Church, Christians would gather together and worship God through many of these means and more. They usually gathered on the Sabbath Day, which is a day dedicated to rest from work and focused on the worship of the Lord. We, too, are called to hold a Sabbath day.
Worship for these early Christians, and for us as well, is acknowledging how worthy God is of honor and praise, and giving Him that due honor and praise for who He is, what He has done for us, and what He promises to do for us. Sabbath Day is not the only time we should be giving God praises and honor, though.
When should we worship God?
Not only does God teach us what worshipping Him is, and why we should worship Him, but He also provides many examples and instructions throughout all of scripture for when to worship Him.
I will extol you, my God and King,
and bless your name forever and ever.
2 Every day I will bless you
and praise your name forever and ever.Psalm 145:1-2 ESV
The answer to when we should worship God is very simple, actually. We should worship God always. As scripture says, “forever and ever”. The beautiful thing about worship is we should be seeking to worship God in all we do; bringing God honor, praise, and glory throughout our days.
16 But I will sing of your strength;
I will sing aloud of your steadfast love in the morning.
For you have been to me a fortress
and a refuge in the day of my distress.Psalm 59:16 ESV
From the moment we wake to the moment we go to sleep, worship God in prayer, in spending time with Him in His Word, in fellowship with other believers, in sharing the Gospel, in singing praises. These are all practical things we can and should be doing every day, and each will help us grow in our personal relationships with the Lord as well as grow in our understanding of who God is.
16 Rejoice always, 17 pray without ceasing,1 Thessalonians 5:16-17 ESV
Worship God with your whole life. The time of making literal animal sacrifices is surely behind us thanks to Jesus being our ultimate sacrifice, but there are still things God will call on us to sacrifice. Doing so is an act of worship as we are acknowledging God’s perfect divinity submitting to Him in reverence. We can worship God through the Spiritual blessings He bestows on us, as well as by living the gospel and displaying Christ in our lives.
Over the coming weeks, we will explore how to worship God in these ways more deeply. My prayer is to help each of us come to understand both in our heads as well as in our hearts the true meaning of worshipping God and learn how to practically and naturally grow in our worship of God and therefore develop stronger personal relationships with Him.
How do you worship the Lord? I would love to hear what ways you praise God, acknowledge Him, and pay Him homage in your daily lives.
- Zondervan Illustrated Bible Dictionary; J.D. Douglas, Merrill C. Tenney, Moisés Silva, 2011