Worship is meant to please God, it is all about Him and not about us; it is more than music, it is intimate communication with our Lord, and it should not be just part of our lives, but our lives should be worship. Simply said, worship is falling in love with Jesus Christ! How much do we really worship the Lord and how much of our worship time is just for us to feel good and enjoy it? Worship is not for us to feel good, but to give God what He deserves. If we worship to give God what He deserves, we also reap the benefits of getting into His presence, but if we worship and praise God only to receive something back from Him, we deceive ourselves.
Psalms 18:1-3, 46, 49 I will love You, O Lord, my strength. The Lord is my rock and my fortress and my deliverer; my God, my strength, in whom I will trust; my shield and the horn of my salvation, my stronghold. I will call upon the Lord, who is worthy to be praised; so shall I be saved from my enemies [...]. The Lord lives! Blessed be my Rock! Let the God of my salvation be exalted [...] Therefore I will give thanks to You, O Lord, among the Gentiles, and sing praises to Your name.
King David understood how important it is to know God. The more he acknowledged God’s goodness and character, the more he praised Him. Describing God is praise and as we declare who He is, we get closer to Him and we become more aware of His attributes. As we do so, we build up our faith and trust in our Lord, allowing Him to work in our behalf. The worship begins after we enter into God’s presence. The more we understand God’s supremacy and character, the more we realize that we are totally dependent upon Him, which turns our worship into a deeper experience. We take our next breath, only by His grace, and all we have, we have received from Him, so how could we not value everything about our Lord? What does the word “worship” really mean? In most dictionaries, “worship” means “the feeling or expression, reverence and adoration for a deity.” In the Bible, there are several original words in Hebrew and Greek, translated as worship and each cover a different aspect of worship. Let’s take a closer look at the ones which are most significant, according to “The KJV Old Testament Hebrew Lexicon” and “Strong’s Hebrew and Greek Concordance.” 1. “Barak” means “to kneel, to bow down, to bless God, to adore in homage to royalty or God.” It is our sincerely bowing down to, or kneeling before the Lord in adoration, because of how important the Lord is to us, how much we trust Him to move in our behalf, not of despair and begging for help. Whenever we realize God’s greatness and majesty, we feel the need to humble ourselves at His feet.
Psalms 95:6 Oh come, let us worship and bow down; let us kneel before the Lord our Maker.
2. “Halal” means “to praise, to shine (of God’s favor), to boast, to celebrate, to be clamorously foolish,” like David did before the Ark of the Lord (2 Samuel 6:14) and like the Levites gave thanks and praised the God of Israel, in 1 Chronicles 16:4.
Psalms 135:3Praise the Lord, for the Lord is good; sing praises to His name, for it is pleasant.
3. “Shabach” means “to shout loudly, to command, to praise joyfully, out of a sincere heart, with one’s whole being.”
Psalms 117:1Praise the Lord, all you Gentiles! Laud Him, all you peoples!
4. “Tehillah” means “to sing praises, singing out of the spirit spontaneously, without planning, including by adding words to an existing song, or singing in the spirit to the Lord.”
Psalms 9:14 That I may tell of all Your praise in the gates of the daughter of Zion. I will rejoice in Your salvation.
5. “Towdah” means “to worship extending or raising hands, acting out of thanksgiving for what God did or will do.”
Psalms 63:4 Thus I will bless You while I live; I will lift up my hands in Your name.
6. “Yadah” means “to worship God by extending the hands vigorously, as in complete surrender.”
Psalms 134:2Lift up your hands in the sanctuary and bless the Lord.
7. “Zamar” means “to touch the strings, to make music with instruments, mostly rejoicing while worshiping the Lord.”
Psalms 47: 6-7 Sing praises to God, sing praises! Sing praises to our King, sing praises! For God is the King of all the earth; sing praises with understanding.
And some of the most used Greek terms for worship: 1. “Eucharistia” means “thankfulness, giving of thanks, gratitude expressed actively to God, as an act of worship.”
2 Corinthians 9:12 For the administration of this service not only supplies the needs of the saints, but also is abounding through many thanksgivings to God,
2. “Latreia” means “service rendered to God, perhaps simply: worship, or everything done unto the Lord.”
Romans 12:1 I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that you present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable to God, which is your reasonable service.
3. “Sebó” means to “worship, adore, an act of reverence and supreme respect and veneration unto God.”
Acts 16:14a Now a certain woman named Lydia heard us. She was a seller of purple from the city of Thyatira, who worshiped God…
4. “Proseuchomai” means “to pray, offer prayer and literally, to interact with the Lord by switching human wishes (ideas) for His wishes as He imparts faith (divine persuasion).”
Colossians 1:3 We give thanks to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, praying always for you,
5. “Doxazó” means “to glorify, honor, bestow glory on the Lord.” Or, according to “HELPS Word-studies” it means to “value God for who He really is. For example, ‘giving (ascribing) glory to God’ personally acknowledges God in His true character (essence).”
Matthew 5:16 “Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works and glorify your Father in heaven.”
6. “Proskuneó” means “to do reverence to the Lord, to go down on the knees, to do obeisance to, in worship, reverence, adoration.”
Matthew 28:9 And as they went to tell His disciples, behold, Jesus met them, saying, “Rejoice!” So, they came and held Him by the feet and worshiped Him.
Jesus told us in John 4:23, that true worshipers will worship God in spirit (from our inner man) and in truth (with sincerity). We need to allow the Holy Spirit to speak to our hearts about what each form of worshiping God in spirit and in truth means, so that we may include them into our personal worship, when we spend time alone with our Lord or as we worship corporately, in church or in a smaller group. When our hearts are full of praise, our lips will declare it and the rest of the body will follow. Some may feel more free than others, to express their love and adoration to the Lord. Each person is different in the way they express their feelings, but the most important factors in our worship are love and sincerity. Whatever form of worship we choose, we need to do it wholeheartedly unto the Lord.
Psalms 95:1-3, 6-7 Oh come, let us sing to the Lord! Let us shout joyfully to the Rock of our salvation. Let us come before His presence with thanksgiving; let us shout joyfully to Him with psalms. For the Lord is the great God, and the great King above all gods [...] Oh come, let us worship and bow down; let us kneel before the Lord our Maker. For He is our God, and we are the people of His pasture, and the sheep of His hand.
To be a worshiper is obedience to God. Spending time in God’s Word until its truth it is revealed to us and God’s presence starts to manifest, is also worship. Sometimes just being still and loving Him, is worship. At other times, we express our adoration to the Lord rejoicing, singing, shouting, dancing, lifting our hands, or jumping up and down. We can worship our Lord through any form of art or service unto Him. God created them all and He delights in us whenever we create beauty for Him that expresses what He has already stored in us. Whatever the Holy Spirit leads us to do, if we obey and do it, we will reap the rewards. When we enter into true worship, the Holy Spirit starts to work in us, restoring our bodies and souls and help us become free in Jesus. But we cannot become truly free until we make pleasing God our first priority and do whatever He asks us to do. He may direct us to shout, dance or whatever might make us uncomfortable in normal circumstances, but as we do, we get free and are blessed. Everything God wants for us and tells us to do, is for our best advantage. He never asks us to do something that would not have a positive effect, even if at the time, we do not see what good may come of it. Oftentimes, the image that we have about ourselves, is distorted, as we perceive ourselves based on our past experiences, emotions and circumstances. If we want to eliminate whatever stands between us and God, blocking our worship, we need to allow the Holy Spirit to show us what needs to be changed in us. In Luke 10, we learn about Lazarus’ sisters, who could not have been more different one from another. When Jesus was teaching in their home, Martha was more into serving the Lord in the kitchen, while Mary chose to sit at His feet and not miss a word of what He had to say. It was not easy to sit at Jesus’ feet, as Mary did and do nothing, but we need to be like Mary, we need to focus on the Lord fully, and not do or allow anything to distract us, so that we are able to hear whatever the Holy Spirit has for us. We might think that we need to do things for the Lord to please Him, but Jesus put things in a different perspective, when Martha asked Him to make her sister help her serve:
Luke 10:41-42 And Jesus answered and said to her, “Martha, Martha, you are worried and troubled about many things. But one thing is needed, and Mary has chosen that good part, which will not be taken away from her.”
It is good to be like Martha and there are good results from our labor, but the more we learn to rest in God’s presence and receive from Him, the more productive we become when we do our work and the more we enjoy our walk with Christ. So, how do we enter into our Lord’s presence? The first step is to find a quiet place, where no one will disturb us. Then we need to quiet our minds and focus on the Lord. It is not easy to stop thinking about things, or even worrying and planning whatever we have to do next. For many of us, this can be done best by listening to worship or “soaking” music inspired by the Holy Spirit. We need to choose to open our hearts and receive whatever the Holy Spirit has for us and whatever He wants to do in us. As we start to praise God and thank Him for what He has done for us, His presence will start to manifest, and our heavenly Father’s love will fill our hearts. The more often we do this, the sooner we get to sense God’s presence and worship Him in spirit and in truth. Once we change our lifestyle to set aside quality time and spend it with our Lord on a daily basis, the more our worship touches God’s heart and we grow and mature spiritually.
Psalms 91:1-2 He who dwells in the secret place of the Most High shall abide under the shadow of the Almighty. I will say of the Lord, “He is my refuge and my fortress; my God, in Him I will trust.”
Having a secret, quiet place is essential for every Christian. This is the place where we build our faith and take courage to handle hard times. Jesus said: “… when you pray, go into your room, and when you have shut your door, pray to your Father who is in the secret place; and your Father who sees in secret will reward you openly.” In the secret place we are vulnerable to our Lord. In that intimacy, we open the hidden places of our inner being, allowing God to show us what is wrong and needs to be changed. Here we feel safe to open our hearts fully and give it all to the Lord. We need to have a physical place where it can be just us and Him, where we can be still and stay as long as the Holy Spirit wants to work in us. Worship is meant to honor God and no one else. He is the Creator, the Source and the Owner of everything, as we read in the following verses.
Psalms 24:1-2The earth is the Lord’s, and all its fullness, the world and those who dwell therein. For He has founded it upon the seas, and established it upon the waters.
The earth and all upon it are the property of God. He owns us and all we have. That is why we constantly feel the need to thank Him for everything we have, do and are. We need to focus 100% on God, to be able to enter into His presence and worship Him. The key to a happy life is to recognize that we belong to the Lord and He takes the best care of us, if we allow Him to. When we thank God with all our hearts, we take our focus from whatever is wrong in our lives and allow the Lord to speak to our hearts and show us His solutions for our problems. Sometimes all we need to do, to stop being unhappy and hurt, is just let go of whatever we are struggling with and remember that God deserves all our attention, and He will help us, no matter what. Worship actually means ‘worth-ship’, meaning “to honor, to esteem with worth, to value at the highest level, perpetual gratitude, to give credit for all things” to the One who deserves it all.
2 Chronicles 5:13 Indeed it came to pass, when the trumpeters and singers were as one, to make one sound to be heard in praising and thanking the Lord, and when they lifted up their voice with the trumpets and cymbals and instruments of music, and praised the Lord, saying: “For He is good, For His mercy endures forever,” that the house, the house of the Lord, was filled with a cloud, for the glory of the Lordfilled the house of God.
We praise God, because He deserves to receive our worship. And when we do it sincerely, from the bottom of our hearts, the Lord manifests His presence. Since the Holy Spirit indwells us, we do not need to see the cloud of God’s glory with our physical eyes, because we feel it in our spirits. Even when we do not feel anything, we know that “God inhabits the praises of His people” (Psalms 22:3), and that we enter in His presence, when we sincerely and wholeheartedly praise Him.
Exodus 23:24-26 “You shall not bow down to their gods, nor serve them, nor do according to their works; but you shall utterly overthrow them and completely break down their sacred pillars. 25 So you shall serve the Lord your God, and He will bless your bread and your water. And I will take sickness away from the midst of you. 26 No one shall suffer miscarriage or be barren in your land; I will fulfill the number of your days.”
Those who live a life of devotion and worship towards God, give the Lord what He deserves, and the Lord rewards them with blessings, healing and a long life.
Psalms 34:1-3 I will bless the Lord at all times; His praise shall continually be in my mouth. My soul shall make its boast in the Lord; the humble shall hear of it and be glad. Oh, magnify the Lord with me, and let us exalt His name together.
Worship is also total surrender to God, who created us and blessed us with the gifts and talents we have. When people praise us, we need to sincerely give God the glory, who is the source of the gifts and talents we are praised for, and not boast. The rich young man never truly worshiped God, he kept ownership of his fortune (Matthew 19:16-22). Jesus revealed the true condition of the young man’s heart, when He told him to sell all his earthly possessions and gain heavenly treasures by donating to the poor. Whatever may become more valuable to us than God, robs Him of the worship He should receive from us. Jesus understood best what worship is all about.
Matthew 4:8-10 Again, the devil took Him up on an exceedingly high mountain, and showed Him all the kingdoms of the world and their glory. And he said to Him, “All these things I will give You if You will fall down and worship me.” Then Jesus said to him, “Away with you, Satan! For it is written, ‘You shall worship the Lord your God, and Him only you shall serve.’”
Jesus put the devil in his place, by giving him the perfect definition of worship. Satan was trying to tell God to give him the credit for what he stole from man and what was, is and will always rightfully belong to God alone. Only the Owner deserves worship and that is the Lord God almighty! The enemy tried to tempt the Son of God and he will not spare us either. Satan and his demons use any trick they can, to rob God of His worship and to prevent us from entering our Lord’s presence and get closer to Him. When we worship God in front of others, we should not worry about what other people think of us. If we do, we put other people and their opinion ahead of God, and pure worship should always stay focused on the Lord. The book with the most chapters in the Bible is a praise book, and the main author, King David, realized that everything he had and surrounded him, came from God.
Psalms 100:1-4 Make a joyful shout to the Lord, all you lands! [...] Enter into His gates with thanksgiving, And into His courts with praise. Be thankful to Him and bless His name.
David wrote at least 73 of the psalms and there is so much we can learn from what he wrote, inspired by the Holy Spirit. David understood that praising God is the best way to get out of the pit of despair and discouragement. Every bad experience should create in us a new song that praises God for the way He got us through the hardship. Every experience teaches us more about God’s love, care and protection. We can trust our heavenly Father more with each victory we have with Him. Everything we do, our actions or non-actions, what we say or do not say, what we think about or do not think about, have an impact on those around us and on those to whom we are connected. In the same manner, praise and worship are not any different. True worship is all about God, and it should be done sincerely, wholeheartedly and unto the Lord, praising and honoring Him. For many, worship means just music, including the many songs that have to do with our problems, needs and desires. How could such songs bless God’s heart? We like this kind of songs, because they make us feel good, but we miss the purpose of our worship. We are so selfish, and this is a huge problem in the body of Christ. Mary, Martha’s sister, understood worship in a deeper way than many around her. The One who raised her brother from the dead, deserved the most expensive gift she had. Mary acted prophetically, as she anointed Jesus preparing Him for His burial (John 12:7).
John 12:3 Then Mary took a pound of very costly oil of spikenard, anointed the feet of Jesus, and wiped His feet with her hair. And the house was filled with the fragrance of the oil.
Mary loved and treasured her Lord so much, that she not only washed Jesus’ feet with her most valuable perfumed anointing oil, but she wiped His feet with her hair. To do that, she had to bow down to ground level, in total surrender and humility. She did not care what others would think or say, all that mattered to her, was to worship her Lord. What a beautiful example of true worship. There are times when we can worship God in silence, in the spirit, just loving on Him, and other times we just praise and give Him thanks. Can we praise someone we do not know? There would be nothing to say. The more we study God’s Word, the more we get to know Him and as we do so, there is no way not to praise and worship Him. When we love someone, we praise the person to everyone around us. When we love our Lord, we praise Him and let everyone know we belong to Him. And this is what we should be doing. Since we fell in love with our Lord, we desire to learn more about Him and be in His presence. And as we worship God more and more, worshiping Him becomes our way of life!
Romans 12:1 I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that you present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable to God, which is your reasonable service.
Worship changes the worshiper who is led by the Holy Spirit. We must walk in the Spirit and stop following our flesh. When we learn to approach the challenges of life by faith, trusting that God is always there for us and ready to help us no matter what, we can walk in His plan for us, which is the best. We are urged to offer our bodies as living sacrifices, meaning to constantly live as unto the Lord. The original Greek word for “service” is “latreia,” which we already know that it means “service rendered to God, or worship.” We worship God when we surrender it all to Him, including our bodies. To offer our bodies on God’s altar, means that we do what pleases Him and because our bodies are living sacrifices, we need to do it daily, as the lusts of the flesh constantly try to take us away from the altar. The truth is, that the desire to please people, to be accepted by them, can keep us in bondage. We rob ourselves of many blessings and victories whenever we forget that we should please God, not people, including in how we worship Him.
Psalms 149:1-3 Praise the Lord! Sing to the Lord a new song, and His praise in the assembly of saints. Let Israel rejoice in their Maker; Let the children of Zion be joyful in their King. Let them praise His name with the dance; let them sing praises to Him with the timbrel and harp.
Psalms 150:1-6 Praise the Lord! Praise God in His sanctuary; Praise Him in His mighty firmament! Praise Him for His mighty acts; Praise Him according to His excellent greatness! Praise Him with the sound of the trumpet; Praise Him with the lute and harp! Praise Him with the timbrel and dance; Praise Him with stringed instruments and flutes! Praise Him with loud cymbals; Praise Him with clashing cymbals! Let everything that has breath praise the Lord. Praise the Lord!
Praising God as the above verses urge us to do, might seem like too much for many Christians. Not many consider the deep meaning of these and other verses which talk about joyful, loud worship, shouting to the Lord, dancing for Him, clapping hands and the use of many noisy instruments. Not everyone feels comfortable in expressing themselves in worship, especially if the church they are attending is barely worshiping the Lord. To worship, we need to participate, to open our hearts unto the Lord, love and praise Him. Even if at times, we do not feel like praising God, when we choose to do it anyhow, based on what God desires from us, and not on our feelings, it will not take long until we are truly worshiping Him from the bottom of our hearts.
Psalms 27:5 One thing I have desired of the Lord, that will I seek: that I may dwell in the house of the Lord all the days of my life, to behold the beauty of the Lord, and to inquire in His temple. For in the time of trouble He shall hide me in His pavilion; in the secret place of His tabernacle, He shall hide me; He shall set me high upon a rock.
When we seek God, He protects us, even in the midst of trouble. We have a secret place in the Lord. When we are intimate with God, we start to get revelation of who we are in Him, what He wants for us and our faith becomes stronger and stronger. As we continue to grow in knowing and loving our Lord, we want to spend more time in His presence which causes positive change in our character and desires. This kind of change cannot come through our own strength and efforts. Without it coming from the Lord, it might seem like we changed for a while, but one little crisis can be enough to prove that we did not, and we go right back to the old way of reacting or doing things. The change that comes from the Lord in us, will endure.
Psalms 27:8 When You said, “Seek My face,” My heart said to You, “Your face, Lord, I will seek.”
Psalm 31:20 You shall hide them in the secret place of Your presence from the plots of man; You shall keep them secretly in a pavilion from the strife of tongues.
It is to our benefit to learn to seek God’s face more and more, choosing to be thankful for who we are in Him, instead of being upset about our shortcomings. We need to continue to strengthen our “inner man,” and the only way to do that is to spend more and more time in God’s presence. The deeper we understand what Jesus did for us, to give us the most amazing identity and future, the more we change into what He created us to be in the first place. We cannot overcome sin and temptation in our own strength, we need to be transformed by spending time in the Lord’s presence, in the secret place, where His love abounds, and His wisdom and knowledge is poured into us.
Luke 10:39 And she had a sister called Mary, who also sat at Jesus’ feet and heard His word.
By having true humility, when we sit at Jesus’ feet, and realize how limited we are in our own strength and qualities, it opens the door to a deeper relationship with the Lord. Then, as we continue to meditate on God’s Word, asking the Holy Spirit to help us know more about our Lord and understand who He is and who we are in Him, our faith grows. By understanding that Jesus’ sacrifice paid all our debt for sin and we are made whole in Him, we can become closer to our Lord. The more we humble ourselves, realizing that there is nothing we should be proud of, or take credit for, the more God will pour out His power upon us, enabling us to operate in the gifts of the Holy Spirit and be a blessing to others. We need to keep in mind that we are branches in the most perfect and everlasting vine and that is Jesus. God created us to bear fruit for Him and that is a way of worship, because by the fruits we produce for His Kingdom, He is glorified.
John 15:2b “Every branch that bears fruit He prunes, that it may bear more fruit.”
Pruning hurts. Sometimes we go through hard times and it is not because of a sin we did, but it is because God is pruning us to bear more fruit, as we grow in abiding in Him. The more we remain in the secret place, where we meet with our Lord, the more we change. Our flesh will submit more and more to the Holy Spirit, and we grow as our soul loses the leading role, to our spirit.
John 15:7-8 “If you abide in Me, and My words abide in you, you will ask what you desire, and it shall be done for you. By this My Father is glorified, that you bear much fruit; so you will be My disciples.”
To abide in Jesus, we need to have intimacy with Him and that is true worship. By abiding in Jesus and He in us (John 15:5), we remain connected to Jesus and His “life-giving sap,” which is the Holy Spirit, as He empowers us to do God’s work and produce much fruit. God has no limits on how much He reveals Himself to us. We are the ones who set the limits, by how much we push into getting to know Him more and by how close we follow the directions of the Holy Spirit. God sent His Spirit to live in our hearts, to reveal His Word and wisdom, to teach and remind us of His truth, to comfort and counsel us, to bring us joy and strength in hard times and to be there for us no matter what. We can always count on the Holy Spirit to help us worship and live right, and He is always with us! We want to abide in Jesus, because we love Him, He is our life and we are totally dependent upon Him. As we learn more about Jesus, we imitate Him more, become more like Him and His eternal life saturates and heals us. The more we worship, the more we draw eternal life from our Lord.
Psalms 9:1-3,11 I will praise You, O Lord, with my whole heart; I will tell of all Your marvelous works. I will be glad and rejoice in You; I will sing praise to Your name, O Most High [...] Sing praises to the Lord, who dwells in Zion! Declare His deeds among the people.
There is so much to praise God for! All we need to do is look around. Even if everything around us seems to collapse, we can still find reasons to praise the Lord. He is preparing the most wonderful place for us to spend eternity with Him, and leaving this earth means to be instantly with Him, in His glory! Worshiping God is a way of living and it flows naturally from our born-again nature! As long as our spirit is in tune with God, by following and obeying His directions, the Holy Spirit is the true source of our growth and we become more and more like Jesus. The heart of a true Christian is totally surrendered to our Lord and as a result, we can walk in His will, victory and power. We also have the benefit of His peace, the kind of peace that a human mind cannot comprehend! When we truly worship our Lord, the Holy Spirit reveals God’s love and the meaning and power of His Word to us. Worship is not therapy for our souls, but for sure it is therapeutic. Worship, like everything God wants us to do, when it is done from a sincere heart, is a huge blessing to us and touches God’s heart.
“Yet a time is coming and has now come when the true worshipers will worship the Father in the Spirit and in truth, for they are the kind of worshipers the Father seeks. For God is Spirit, so those who worship him must worship in spirit and in truth.” John 4:23-24