“Worship”, originally, comes from “worth-ship” – expressing the worth of something precious to us. When we follow Jesus, we begin to glimpse something more of the wonder of who God is – even if we may not always find it easy to express this.
So worship is an attitude of the heart that then expresses itself in some way. Typically, we may think of the worship songs we offer together on a Sunday; but of course, it goes far beyond this. Worship may be individual or corporate, audible or silent, visible or unseen, spontaneous or planned; all of which is initiated and enabled by the Holy Spirit. Alongside words or song, we may express our Father’s worth in a thousand different ways – through the ways we conduct ourselves in study or in work, in parenting or in other close relationships, in creativity or humble service, in our priorities and in how we rest.
Worship is a heart attitude – but one which needs feeding, developing and expressing. It helps a great deal to learn to allow the Holy Spirit to prompt us; to make a choice to expand our horizons; and to engage in activities that will help us on those occasions when we just don’t feel like worshipping. As with many other “healthy habits”, the decision to follow good practice will release deeper encounter.
“With eyes wide open to the mercies of God … as an act of intelligent worship … give him your bodies, as a living sacrifice, consecrated to him and acceptable by him.”
Romans 12 1, JB Phillips.
Worship may be an instinct or a discipline; emotionally charged or dispassionate; obviously visible, or deep in our heart. It is the expression of how we see ourselves before God: in thought, word, song, reflection, deeds and service.
- When it’s hard to find the right words for worship, the Bible can really help! Try the Psalms (eg 33, 34, 100, 103, 104, 118, 138, 139….); the early church hymn in Philippians 2 5-10); or reflect on the gospels’ accounts of the death and resurrection of Jesus.
- Many Jesus-followers find that our hearts “unlock” with the physical expression of our bodies: kneeling, hands lifted, clapping, lying down..…
- Play worship music! In the car, at home, in the gym, wherever. Aim to engage your heart as well as your ears.
- Learn to “offer” daily work, and even more mundane tasks, to God – seeking to do them in a way that expresses our love for Him. Our work station as our worship station!