When we speak of “worship leaders” we often mean singers or musicians.
When we speak of “worship” it is most often taken to mean the singing of hymns, or Christian songs.
Occasionally, when it is time for the offering, we may hear the words, “We will now worship God with our giving.”
And often, thanksgiving prayers are considered worshipful.
These aspects of Christian services may reflect our worship, or, as in the case of music, open our hearts and inspire us to worship, but I believe true worship is more than music, or monetary giving or thankfulness to God. There are many facets to true worship.
- To me, worship is a personal, deep awe that falls on one who realizes who God is.
- It is, as Isaiah found, a sense of “being undone” in the presence of Almighty God, and of yielding to his greatness.
- Worship is the expression of heart that may silence the lips in sheer wonder, or fill them with glorious praise. It may involve musical expression or it may not.
- To worship is to be so captivated by the presence of the Lover of my soul, and the sweetest atmosphere of heaven that he brings, that I do not want to leave his side.
It is good to come together with God’s people to worship God. There is a particular joy in corporate praise and worship. But ultimately, worship is a personal, inner attitude, without which the outer expression of praise, prayer and music is hollow.
Sam Storms (Enjoying God Ministries ) wrote on this topic:
If you come to worship for any reason other that the joy and pleasure and satisfaction that are to be found in God, you dishonour Him.
To put it in other words, worship is first and foremost a feasting on all that God is for us in Jesus. This is because God is most glorified in you when you are most satisfied in Him.
Or again, you are His pleasure when He is your treasure. Which is to say that God’s greatest delight is your delight in Him.
As I read what I have just written, I realize again that true worship is not easy to define. There is so much about it that I have not yet entered into. I have simply expressed here what must be only a sliver, a glimmer or what is possible. But I am learning that, even in our smallness an frailty, we can experience the overwhelming joy of knowing that “we are his pleasure and he is our treasure”.
With clean hands and pure hearts, we can approach him, because of what Jesus has done for us; then our spirits can rise in worship that transcends even the purest, sweetest music and language. We can simple be with him, opening up to him our heart of love, and marvelling that the God who evokes such awe, also inspires our devotion.
That’s the understanding I have come to at this point in my life. There is more, I am sure. What do you think? How would you define true worship? Are you experiencing the joy of it?