Praise and Worship
Experience authentic praise and worship, where the sound of music commands God’s presence to shift the atmosphere. Brokenness and fear are transformed into wholeness and confidence, as our talented ensemble performs songs to the cadence of God’s anointing every Sunday.
Understanding the difference between praise and worship can bring a new depth to the way we honor the Lord. Throughout the Bible, the commands to “praise the Lord” are too numerous to mention. Angels and the heavenly hosts are commanded to praise the Lord (Psalms 89:5; 103:20; 148:2). All inhabitants of the earth are instructed to praise the Lord (Psalms 138:4; Romans 15:11). We can praise Him with singing (Isaiah 12:5; Psalms 9:11), with shouting (Psalm 33:1; 98:4), with the dance (Psalms 150:4), and with musical instruments (1 Chronicles 13:8; Psalm 108:2; 150:3-5).
Praise is the joyful recounting of all God has done for us. It is closely intertwined with thanksgiving as we offer back to God appreciation for His mighty works on our behalf. Praise is universal and can be applied to other relationships as well. We can praise our family, friends, boss, or paperboy. Praise does not require anything of us. It is merely the truthful acknowledgment of the righteous acts of another. Since God has done many wonderful deeds, He is worthy of praise (Psalms 18:3).
Worship, however, comes from a different place within our spirits. Worship should be reserved for God alone (Luke 4:8). Worship is the art of losing self in the adoration of another. Praise can be a part of worship, but worship goes beyond praise. Praise is easy; worship is not. Worship gets to the heart of who we are. To truly worship God, we must let go of our self-worship. We must be willing to humble ourselves before God, surrender every part of our lives to His control, and adore Him for who He is, not just what He has done. Worship is a lifestyle, not just an occasional activity. Jesus said the Father is seeking those who will worship Him “in spirit and in truth” (John 4:23).
In Scripture, praise is usually presented as boisterous, joyful, and uninhibited. God invites praise of all kinds from His creation. Jesus said that if people don’t praise God, even the “stones will cry out” (Luke 19:40). When the Bible mentions worship, however, the tone changes. We read verses like, “Worship the Lord in the beauty of holiness” (Psalms 96:9). And, “Come let us worship and bow down” (Psalms 95:6). Often, worship is coupled with the act of bowing or kneeling, which shows humility and contrition (2 Chronicles 29:28; Hebrews 11:21; Revelation 19:10). It is through true worship that we invite the Holy Spirit to speak to us, convict us, and comfort us. Through worship, we realign our priorities with God’s and acknowledge Him once more as the rightful Lord of our lives.
Just as praise is intertwined with thanksgiving, worship is intertwined with surrender. It is impossible to worship God and anything else at the same time (Luke 4:8). The physical acts often associated with worship-bowing, kneeling, lifting hands—help to create the necessary attitude of humility required for real worship. Wise worship leaders know how to structure a worship service to allow participants to both praise and worship the Lord. Often, services begin with joyous praise songs and transition to a quieter, more introspective opportunity for worship.
Worship is an attitude of the heart. A person can go through the outward motions and not be worshiping (Psalms 51:16-17; Matthew 6:5-6). God sees the heart, and He desires and deserves sincere, heartfelt praise and worship.
Praise and worship clearly go beyond something we do in church or at a concert. It is not just a title to be assigned to describe an activity. Rather it is a complete way of life for one who follows Christ. Praise and worship are in fact to be the foundation on which we live our lives. Without both, we can’t possibly be effective at being the hands and feet of God. To accomplish this, worship of God and of Him alone must be a first priority at all times. Through our worship of Him and the intimacy that comes through such worship, praise for Him will naturally flow from our actions and words. In doing this our lives will be a true reflection of Christ, from the inside out.