Summary: Have you ever wondered what true worship is? Well this is a series that describes the heart a depth of worship.
Understanding, Preparing For, And Practicing
What is Worship?
Worship- reverent devotion and allegiance pledged to God.
When we try to worship for the sake of certain benefits that may be received, the
act ceases to be worship; for then it attempts to use God as a means to something else.
We worship God purely for the sake of worshiping God.
To Worship is:
To quicken the conscience by the holiness of God,
To feed the mind with the truth of God,
To purge the imagination by the beauty of God,
To open the heart to the love of God,
To devote the will to the purpose of God..
Worship is not a human invention; rather, it is a divine offering. God offers himself
in a personal relationship and we respond.
The English word worship is derived from the Anglo-Saxon weorthscipe - “worth”
and “ship” - meaning one “worthy of reverence and honor.” When we worship we are
declaring God’s worth. See Rev. 5:12-14
The biblical tern glory is often attributed to God as God is worshiped. The
Hebrew term kabod, translated “glory,” means the “honor” or “weight” of God. See Isa.
6:3. The New Testament term doxa, translated “glory,” expresses that God is worthy of
praise and honor. See Luke 2:14
The principle Old Testament term translated “worship” is shachah, which means to
“bow down” or to “prostrate” oneself. See Exod. 4:31
The Greek term indicating worship in the New Testament is proskuneo, meaning
literally to “kiss the hand towards one” or to “prostrate oneself” before another in
reverence. See John 4:24
The term liturgy is derived from the Greek leitourgia, translated “ministry: or
“service.” Literally, leitourgia means an “an action of the people,” and more particularly
the service which the Christian renders to God in faith and obedience.
For Paul, the true leitourgia of God is a life of faith that shows forth fruits of the
Spirit (Gal. 5:22). Worship is also meant in Rom. 12:1.
Describing Christian Worship
Christian worship defies definition; it can only be experienced. A living experience
may be analyzed, but it can never be completely contained in formulas, creeds, and
Worshipers may identify with Paul: (2 Cor. 12:3-4) certain experiences in worship
are so intimate that the worshiper cannot share them.
Although the innate desire to worship is universal, there is often confusion about
the meaning and nature of worship. The following descriptions may aid in clarifying this
Mystery- Worship is both revelation and mystery. A worshiper experiences the
presence of God in revelation and stands in awe of God in the face of mystery. God both
reveals and withholds at the same time. While we can be conscious of God in our lives,
we can never comprehend the meaning of God. In worship we experience both mystery
(God’s transcendence) and revelation (God’s Immanence).
Communion with God is a miracle, just as the revelation of Jesus Christ and the
continuing work of the Holy Spirit in the church are miracles. According to Samuel
Miller, the miracle of worship is the “sight of God seen through earthly circumstance; it is
the glory of God shining through darkness; it is the power of God felt when all other
strength fails; it is the eternal manifested in time.” Worship becomes more meaningful
when churches approaches worship with a sense of mystery, awe, and wonder.
Worshipers can know God in worship, but they can never fully comprehend his nature nor
fathom the mystery of his ways.
Celebration- Worship is essentially the celebration of the acts of God in history -
God’s creation; God’s providence; God’s covenant and redemption; God’s redemptive
revelation through Jesus Christ in the Incarnation, the Cross, and the Resurrection; and the
manifestation of God’s power through the coming of the Holy Spirit. Von Ogden Vogt
sees worship as the interruption of work to praise and to celebrate God’s goodness.
Worship is indeed a celebration of the Gospel.
A worship service is a celebration. Martin Luther said,” To have a God is to
Life- Worship is not limited to acts of devotion, rites, and ceremonies. In its
broadest aspect, worship is related to all human actions. As a part of God’s creation,
humankind responds in gratitude to the Creator. Every aspect of life belongs to the
Kingdom of God; therefore, worship is practicing the presence of God in every experience
of life. See 1 Cor. 3:21-23
Because Christ is the Lord of all life, he is to be worshiped in every sphere of life.
Acts of worship are more meaningful if the whole of life is devoted to God.
Dialogue- Worshipers experience God in a conscious dialogue. Worship is both
revelation and response. God takes the initiative in revelation, and humankind responds in
worship. God is revealed to the worshiper’s spirit through the bible, through persons in