What Worship REALLY Means

There are many verses in the Bible that speak of praising the Lord and also give some of the reasons why we praise Him.

“Praise the Lord! Praise, O servants of the Lord, praise the name of the Lord! Blessed be the name of the Lord from this time forth and forever more! From the rising of the sun to its setting, the name of the Lord is to be praised! The Lord is high above all nations, and His glory is above the heavens.” Psalm 113:1-4

From the rising of the sun until its setting … from the beginning of your day until the end … in every waking moment, the name of the Lord is to be praised. The Lord is always worthy of praise. In the verse above, the servants of the Lord are reminded of His supremacy over all nations and His unsurpassed and eternal glory. He is worthy!

“I will sing of Thy power; yes, I will sing aloud of Thy mercy in the morning; for Thou hast been my defense and refuge in the day of my trouble. Unto Thee, O my Strength, will I sing; for God is my defense , and the God of my mercy.” Psalm 59:16-17

He is all powerful! He is our defense and our refuge. He is our strength and the God of our mercy. God is worthy of our praise! The Psalmist’s expression of praise through singing to Him at the beginning of the day is in response to the ultimate and supreme worth of our God.

“I bless the Lord who gives me counsel; in the night also my heart instructs me. I keep the Lord always before me; because He is at my right hand, I shall not be moved.” Psalm 16:7-8

He is our counsellor and the guide and guardian of our hearts. He is near to those who call upon Him, at our right hand, even during the night. He gives us the strength to stand firm. He is worthy!

“O give thanks unto the Lord; call upon His name; make known His deeds among the people. Sing unto Him, sing psalms unto Him; talk of all His wondrous works. Glory in His holy name; let the heart of those who seek the Lord rejoice.” Psalm 105:1-3

His works are wondrous; He is available when we call upon His name; His deeds are praiseworthy; He is Holy. What an awesome God we serve! He is worthy of praise!

“It is a good thing to give thanks unto the Lord, and to sing praises unto Thy name, O Most High; To show forth Thy lovingkindness in the morning, and Thy faithfulness every night.” Psalm 92:1-2

He is full of lovingkindness. He is faithful. It is a good thing to praise and thank Him! He is worthy of our praise!

“But I, through the abundance of Your steadfast love, will enter Your house, I will worship toward Your holy temple in reverence, and awe of You.” Psalm 5:7

Because of His steadfast love for us, God allows us to enter His presence. Our response is worship … reverence … and awe. He is worthy of our awe and reverence! He is worthy of our praise! He is worthy of worship … in every waking moment!

The eternal God of Creation, the God who saves us with His might and His mercy, the Holy and Righteous Judge, the Lamb of God who gave Himself for us, the Holy Spirit of comfort and conviction, the Lord of all and above all, our awesome God who is three in One, our loving Father God who embraces us in our sorrows and keeps every tear, our tender Shepherd …

He is all of this and more! He is worthy of our reverence and awe. He is worthy of our expressions of praise. He is worthy of a continual attitude of worship.

The Distinction Between Praise and Worship

Praise, by its very nature, must be expressed. It is an expression of appreciation at a moment in time. If I think of a compliment but have not expressed it, I have not praised the person who motivated the positive thought. In the above verses, the Psalmists write of expressing praise through singing to God, blessing His holy name, thanking Him, entering His house, talking of His wondrous works and making His deeds known. Expressions of praise listed in other verses include magnifying the name of the Lord and exalting Him, giving Him glory and honor, playing instruments for His praise, dancing and shouting in praise, clapping and raising our hands in praise, and giving tithes and offerings as an act of worship. Many of these expressions of praise are outward expressions and are done in public or within the congregation and family. However, since God knows our hearts, He also knows when our hearts are praising Him. Within the congregation, those expressions of praise become outward as we join our hearts and our voices with those of other Christians. When it is appropriate and wise to do so, at the prompting of God’s Spirit, we also express our praise of God to others we encounter in our daily lives. When our hearts and minds become so focused on the Lord that we are continually bringing to mind all He is and all He has done and then praising Him in response, we are living in an attitude of praise before the Lord. He receives our praise whether is is spoken or demonstrated in the presence of others or whether it is spoken directly from our hearts to Him.

Worship can include all of the inward and outward expressions of praise already mentioned, but worship goes much farther in permeating our lives and being expressed through the way we live our lives. The very idea of worship is God is worthy of all we have to give. True worship involves the commitment of all we are and every part of our lives, focused on living in such a way we bring glory to God. When we have recognized all He is and all He has done, to the extent our finite human minds can do so, our intentions change. We commit ourselves fully to God and begin to seek to glorify Him in response to all He has done for us. As we grow in Christ, God’s spirit reveals to our hearts we must intentionally express His worth and His supremacy by seeking to bring Him glory in all we are and all we do (with His help).*

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Cynthia Boyd is a worshipper, worship team member, wife of a Worship Pastor, and blogger at WorshipSounds Life and Worship Blog