What Is Worship?

Yesterday, as I watched Gerald Wolfe lead the hymn sing at the National Quartet Convention, my mind wandered back to a time when most churches sang these rich songs. I confess I did not like some of them and did not appreciate them when I was a child but I think that was largely due to the way people sang them–as if they had no life or meaning. As I listen to them now, I realize that is not the case. There are still some I’m not a big fan of but many, that I used to sing routinely with everyone else, I have discovered has a great message, and it saddens me that I have younger sisters who do not know these songs.

Apparently, I am not the only one who felt the way I did about the hymns because I’m guessing that is where the praise and worship songs came in. I am not knocking them, however, because they too can bring a person into the presence of God. I sometimes wonder, though, although people are usually more enthusiastic when they sing these songs: Are they thinking about what they are singing?

Many times, I think our favorite music is the kind that makes us feel good, and I think God uses music for that purpose: to help us forget our trials and focus on Him. However, it is important to know what we are singing. Are we truly praising God for who He is, or is it all about us and how we feel and what He’s done for us? It’s important to realize what He’s done but it’s more important to think about what we can do for Him. Why are we on this earth? How can we share with others the Hope that lies within us? That is true worship.

Worship is not about feeling good; it’s about glorifying Him. Seeing ourselves as we really are and yet crying out to God to save us from ourselves, to give us a heart for others, that we will serve them as if we’re serving Him. Our church has started incorporating an occasional hymn in the service, and I’m grateful. As I sing “I love you, Lord,” I also need to be reminded that “prone to wander, Lord, I feel it, prone to leave the God I love.” If I truly love Him, I will ask Him to search me and try me and know my heart and see if there be any wicked way in me and lead me to life everlasting.

When you read this, you will probably have already attended church this morning. Did you think about the songs you sang? Did they glorify God or just give you a spiritual high? It’s not too late to worship Him. Do it throughout the day. Praise Him just because you can. Thank Him for His many blessings. As Kim Collingsworth said this week, “Even in the midst of tragedy and when things don’t go our way, it doesn’t change God’s goodness.” I have found that to be true in my life as well.

Have a blessed week and don’t lose sight of the Reason you are alive.

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Sony Elise

Sony has been an avid southern gospel fan since she first heard The Happy Goodman Family on a cassette in the mid-1980s. She is the co-founder of Family Renewal and the owner of Sony Elise Editing Services.

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  1. Reply October 04, 16:47 #1 Jerry Boor

    I’m also glad to see the hymns coming back, although many of them seem to have been written in a key a bit high for my comfort zone. But I noticed another thing about today’s praise & worship songs – they are generally sung TO the Lord, not ABOUT the Lord. The older hymns and even a lot of southern gospel are just the opposite – songs that tell a story ABOUT the Lord. To tell the gospel story, we need the hymn format to help reach the lost. Sometimes they won’t understand “I Love You Lord, and I lift my voice” until they have heard and understand “He left the splendor of heaven, knowing his destiny…” There is a need for all kinds of worship music. Thanks for sharing that…

  2. Reply October 04, 19:51 #2 Scotty Ray Searan

    What an article!!!

    I love the old songs and hymns.

    I have a hard time connecting with the arrangements of the newer music. I sometimes think that more emphasis is put on the arrangements than the message. I will get off that soapbox.

    What really is worship? Do people really know? Are they using it to show it is a different category of music?

    Let’s look at what a few verses about worship.

    Genesis 22:5 King James Version (KJV)

    5 And Abraham said unto his young men, Abide ye here with the ass; and I and the lad will go yonder and worship (h7812), and come again to you.
    Strong’s concordance: שָׁחָה shâchâh, shaw-khaw’; a primitive root; to depress, i.e. prostrate (especially reflexive, in homage to royalty or God):—bow (self) down, crouch, fall down (flat), humbly beseech, do (make) obeisance, do reverence, make to stoop, worship.

    This definition for worship was used 172 times in the Old Testament.

    Here is the question to ponder. When have you seen a person or a group bowed down in worship to God? Lifting up hands is not a sign of worship. It is a sign of surrender or praise.

    Let’s go to the New Testament.

    John 4:24 (KJV)

    24 God is a Spirit: and they that worship (G4352) him must worship him in spirit and in truth.

    Strong’s Concordance G4352 προσκυνέω proskynéō, pros-koo-neh’-o; from G4314 and a probable derivative of G2965 (meaning to kiss, like a dog licking his master’s hand); to fawn or crouch to, i.e. (literally or figuratively) prostrate oneself in homage (do reverence to, adore):—worship.

    This Definition is used 60 of 103 times in the New Testament. This also shows bowing down in honor and worship.

    The Question to ponder if we met Jesus Christ personally would we stand with our hands lifted up or would we bow down to Him? Jesus Christ is in our midst thru the manifestation of the Holy Ghost. Something to think about.

    Looking at this do we really understand worship and praise?

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