“Worship is the believer’s response of all that they are — mind, emotions, will, body — to what God is and says and does.”
Today, during my morning devotions, I considered the word “worship.” What exactly is worship, and how can we participate in it? We can worship God in prayer, music, dance, and everyday activities.
I concluded that worship helps us get ourselves out of the way and puts our focus on God.
We can worship God in prayer, for instance. Prayer is just communication between yourself and the Divine. A conversation. Prayer includes praise and requests. It can be just about everything. Well, everything I can think of. Which includes everything..lol.
For example, you can have a little talk with God about your doubts. One of my favorite verses that demonstrates my desire for faith when I seem to lack it is:
"In seeking the Lord’s help, a man came to Jesus once, fell to his knees weeping, and said, “I believe; help my unbelief” (Mark 9:24, ESV).
How can the man say he believes and asks for help in overcoming unbelief? This addresses faith and doubt at the same time. In the end, the man's son is healed and he ultimately worships God.
In Hebrew, the word for prayer is kavanah, which refers to your intention and concentration. It directs the mind to your spoken words and heart meditation. I believe the saying, out of your heart the mouth speaks.
Therefore, we can pray with the intention of worshiping God. I practice praying with intention every time I pray all throughout the day. The one meditation I speak forth with my lips first thing in the morning is the prayer recorded in Psalm 19:14 (NKJV):
"May the words of my mouth and the meditation of my heart be acceptable in Your sight, Oh Lord, my strength and Redeemer."
If I believe He helps me, then I won't have to worry if I say the wrong things. That is another advantage of prayer.
King David, in the Old Testament, expressed worship in words, music, and dance. After David came back from killing Goliath, the women met him with song and dance.
"When the men were returning home after David had killed the Philistine, the women came out from all the towns of Israel to meet King Saul with singing and dancing, with joyful songs and with timbrels and lyres.' (1 Samuel 18:6)
"David danced before the Lord with all his might." (2 Samuel 6:1)
"David and all the Israelites were celebrating with all their might before God, with songs and with harps, lyres, timbrels, cymbals and trumpets." (1 Chronicle 13:8)
Psalm 150:1–5 lists all the ways we can praise God with musical instruments.
"1Praise ye the LORD. Praise God in his sanctuary: praise him in the firmament of his power. 2 Praise him for his mighty acts: praise him according to his excellent greatness. 3 Praise him with the sound of the trumpet: praise him with the psaltery and harp. 4 Praise him with the timbrel and dance: praise him with stringed instruments and organs. 5 Praise him upon the loud cymbals: praise him upon the high sounding cymbals. 6 Let every thing that hath breath praise the LORD. Praise ye the LORD."
David not only praised, but he also worshiped in Psalm 95:6 (NIV):
"Oh, come, let us worship and bow down; let us kneel before the Lord, our Maker!"
In the New Testament, Jesus, tired and thirsty from His travels, sat at a well in Samaria. A woman came to draw water in the heat of the day. Jesus asked for a drink of water, and during their conversation, the Lord expressed that He was seeking those who will worship Him in spirit and truth (John 4:23, NIV).
"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." ... The Father is looking for those who will worship him that way."
Paul reiterates this concept in Philippians 3:3 (NIV):
"…we who worship by the Spirit…"
But, how do we worship in truth? Jesus was explicit when he said:
"I am the way, the truth, and the life…" (John 14:6, KJV)
After the children of Isreal had defeated all their enemies and secured the promised land, Josua in his stance against foreign gods, told them to:
"serve the Lord in sincerity and truth…" (Joshua 24:14, KJV)
We can also pray to God in our writing. I journal my thoughts about and to God many times. I've written and published articles on prayer. I'm even writing a prayer devotional. As you see, worship comes in all kinds of communication.
Another way to worship God is to read the only prayer dictated by God. In fact, this prayer is actually a blessing called the Blessing of the Kohanim or the Priestly Blessing found in Numbers 6:24-26:
24 “‘“The Lord bless you
and keep you;
25 the Lord make his face shine on you
and be gracious to you;
26 the Lord turn his face toward you
and give you peace.”’
Thinking about all the different forms of worship in the Bible, I remembered a book I read about one man who worshiped God in everything he did — Brother Lawrence.
He lived during the 1600s and was a cook in the monastery where he resided, worked and worshiped. Brother Lawrence’s devotion to God was legendary.
He worshiped God in dance, washing dishes, and in the words he spoke. His truth resonates today in the classic The Practice of the Presence of God, first published in 1692.
I have been encouraged by this book and can relate on many levels, especially in the passage in Part I about pain and suffering. Even though I suffer from osteoarthritis, I know God will be with me. Therefore, I know I can worship God in my chronic pain.
In writing these words, I can worship God.