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.

Preliminary Terminology

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

worship him.”

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

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