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About Worship and Praise

Congregational ChristiansAn act of worship may be performed individually, in an informal or formal group, or by a designated leader. Expressions of worship vary but may include include one or more of the following: Prayer, sacrifice, meditation, sermons, chanting, ritual, scripture, sacraments, music or devotional song, dance, religious holidays, festivals, pilgrimage, dining, fasting, temples or shrines, idols, or simply private individual acts of devotion.

The main difference between worship and praise is that we worship God for who he is, and praise him for what he has done. He is our creator, the maker of heaven and earth. We worship God when we give financial offerings (Philippians 4:18). We worship God when we help other people (Hebrews 13:16). Worship, if genuine, should make a difference in the way we treat one another seven days a week. This is another principle we see throughout Scripture. We worship God when we share the gospel (Romans 15:16).

Why is praise and worship so important? Isn't God happy if we at least sit through a sermon once a week? Of course He is, but He tells us in the Bible repeatedly that He desires a personal relationship with His children. Worshiping Him through praise songs is our way of showing gratitude.

We live in a time full of temptation and distractions that take our minds off God and put our focus on this mortal life, rather than on the eternal life that awaits those who follow Jesus with all their hearts. We have so much going on in our lives with work, television, sports, socializing, materialism, family, friends, that we leave very little time for God. So what can we learn from Jesus' words to the woman at the well in John 4? Let's look at one verse:

John 4:21,23,24 ....'Jesus saith unto her, Woman, believe me, the hour cometh, when ye shall neither in this mountain, nor yet at Jerusalem, worship the Father. But the hour cometh, and now is, when the true worshippers shall worship the Father in spirit and in truth: for the Father seeketh such to worship him. God is a Spirit: and they that worship him must worship him in spirit and in truth.'

Time is short, we must give our all for our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ. We must study His Word each day. We must put Him first in our lives, and worship Him in spirit and truth.

Historically, songs and music have always been an important part of the idea of worship. Perhaps the reason for this is the ease which songs and music provide in expressing worship. Spiritually based music has gained in popularity in recent years, with many singers and groups finding success as they offer avenues for God's people to express worship and reverence while going about everyday tasks.

Psalm 33:1-3 tells us, "Sing joyfully to the Lord, you righteous; it is fitting for the upright to praise him. Praise the Lord with the harp; make music to him on the ten-stringed lyre. Sing to him a new song; play skillfully, and shout for joy." Scripture tells us to sing, shout, to use harps, flutes, tambourines, trumpets, cymbals—even to worship with dancing (Psalms 149-150). The picture is of exuberance, unrestrained joy, and happiness expressed without inhibitions.

Despite the great variety in worship styles, we see a simple constant throughout Scripture: Only God should be worshipped. Worship, to be acceptable, must be exclusive. God requires all our love—all our allegiance. We cannot serve two Gods. Although we may worship him in different styles, our unity is based on the fact that it is him we worship.

We also honor God by attending our place of worship faithfully and being attentive to the instruction our pastor gives. The sermon is God's teachings through the preacher to us. The singing is our time to worship God, our gift to Him. "Be glad in the Lord and rejoice, you righteous; And shout for joy, all you upright in heart!" Psalm 32:11.

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