From the time I was a little girl, I would pray out loud and talk to God. Then I would listen. I would listen all day everyday. It was like an ongoing conversation. Worship can be in our thoughts, our words or our music. Because my mother and father loved God and spent time nurturing our spiritual formation, I had a firm confidence in God’s love for me and his desire to communicate with me. Over the years as I have lived in several Christian communities, the practice of worship has been a regular part of the weekly gatherings in churches, in homes and other various locations. Worshipers gather from all kinds of backgrounds.
One concept that has mystified me over the years is the misconception that many people worship only in corporate worship which is worshiping together with other believers. For anyone who is a Christ follower, the privilege of bringing praise and gratitude to God individually throughout each day is one of our greatest gifts. Incredibly, the daily, personal worship brings the worshiper to a much more profound experience in group setting. Worship is not horizontal, but vertical.
As we dive into this idea, let’s unpack a few initial questions.
- What is worship?
- What is it not?
- Who can worship?
- What qualifies a worshiper?
- When can I worship?
- What does the Bible say about worship?
- How should I worship?
- Why should I worship?
Worship is showing honor or reverence. Worship is gratefulness. Worship is adoration resulting in submission. Worship can be directed toward another human being, an animal, an inanimate object, oneself or even a unreached hope.
In personal faith as a Christ follower, worship can be demonstrated in different ways. The practical action of worship can be exhibited in six ways:
- Prayer (Internally or audibly expressed)
- Liturgical worship
- Non-Liturgical worship (Contemporary worship)
- Private worship
- Serving others
This communication with God is open to anyone who is a Christ follower. God loves each person that He created. Each of us is made in the image of God. He calls us wonderfully made. You and I are His treasure. He desires a daily relationship with Him. As God showers us with hands full of gifts, we react with thanks from our hearts. Gratitude can be in a prayer, in absorbing nature around us, in snuggling with a brand new baby, in offering a sincere, lengthy hug, in playing my guitar or piano, in lifting my voice in songs of gratefulness, in reading a prayer responsively, in giving God credit for His good gifts, for recognizing his authority, in taking a meal to a new mom and so much more.
Worship is not going through the motions of a rote prayer or anything that is ritual. Traditions can be grounding, but just empty words and actions are just that…empty. Worship is not action as much as it is a heart response. Worship is a heart posture.
One of the most amazing things about being a Christ follower involves the ability to worship anytime, all the time and any where. Recognizing God can be done together with your church community or privately in your home, in your car or anywhere in nature. So, the location options are endless because God is omnipresent.
As we look at the scriptures for guidance on worship, Jesus reminds us that even the demons worship. (Mark 5: 6-8) They fall down at the feet of Jesus acknowledging Him as God. In Romans 2:1 the Bible speaks to offering ourselves fully to God. Psalms is full of worship that can be used by us in worship. In Psalms 75 the suggestion of ongoing song promotes a heart overflowing with thankfulness. One of my personal favorites is in John 4 when Jesus intentionally interacts with the woman at the well. Clearly, worship is not relegated to a church building with the church community. The overflowing of our hearts can be expressed as we worship him “in spirit and in truth.” In true form Jesus states that these are the worshipers that God is seeking. God does not need worshipers, but He invites us to respond to His great love for us.
My favorite ways to practice worship every day:
- Praying out loud
- Singing with my guitar or piano
- Singing with others in our home or church community or anywhere
- Singing with worship music in my car. (I always do this at the beginning of a road trip!!)
- Speaking recognition to my creator and Father out loud when I am in nature
- Thanking God when prayer is answered
- Worshipping by praying the names of God
- Speaking of God’s holiness, greatness or character to others
- Serving others because I love Him
What do you do to worship on your own?
In my life I have felt drawn in by God’s love. For me, this overwhelming acceptance is a felt embrace by the creator of the universe. Understanding who I am because of God’s love and care for me answers the “why” behind worship. From the time I was a little girl watching God’s love flow out toward society’s unlovable to the season I know find myself living, I am secure in the knowing that God invites me into His presence. The consistent conversation I have with God is one of the truest joys of my life.
I invite you into this wonderful relationship of a Christ follower. God loves you so much that he gave His son to die in your place as a substitution for your sins. God is holy. He created a way for you and me to be holy and be in right relationship with Him. Listen to this conversation for more on how to become a Christ follower.
Don’t miss the opportunity to be filled up with joy as you practice private worship.
Listen to this companion conversation on Private Worship on the Embrace Your Everyday podcast.
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