What is Worship?

Webster’s definition of worship: “The feeling or expression of reverence and adoration for a deity.”

The definition for reverence is “deep respect for someone or something”.

I felt like it was important to elaborate on the definition of deep respect for this article. Why? Because there is a definitive difference in the respect that the average person is entitled to and the respect that we show God and worship is one of the ways that we demonstrate that respect. Something interesting I’ve observed is how the bow is used as a sign of respect.

Now bowing in Western culture has for the most part been replaced with a simple handshake or in some cases a nod. Other cultures, such as the Japanese culture, Hindu culture, or British culture when addressing the royal family, have all adopted less obvious or straining bows. This is a good sign as most countries are adopting more democratic values (even though some remain under the rule of dictatorship) and people are no longer taught to believe that their leaders are gods or god-like (such as what was the norm in ancient Egyptian times).

But we still bow our heads in reverence to God. This is only one of the ways that Christians can worship and show their reverence to God.

How do Christians worship God?

The most common place that we think to go to worship God is the church. It’s a great atmosphere and it’s always easier to worship in a place where you are surrounded by those that share the same love for God as you do. We sing songs of praise, we pray for ourselves as well as those around us, and we listen to a biblical message which is given thoughtful insights.

The church is always a great place to start when you are new to the idea of worship, but truthfully, you can worship in an infinite number of ways, any place, and any time.

Many regular churchgoers that are searching for more knowledge and community than the once a week service will often create bible studies and small groups. These groups are fantastic ways to learn as the smaller setting allows for more individual thought, conversation, and interaction.

I have personally found that the closer I get to someone, the easier it is to share with them about my fears, doubts, and questions. Therefore, the strengthening of a Christian friendship can also lead to the strengthening of your relationship with God. This is why in small groups we will also use the ability to bond over games and mutual interests as a way to get closer to those who share our same beliefs and it can create more opportunities to worship.

Worshiping God can become a lifestyle once you believe in his omnipotence. A walk through nature can serve as an amazing reminder of the beautiful world that he has created.

In anything we do, we can show praise to God. Showing praise through prayer in a solitary environment is one of the most humble and simple ways that we can worship. Just like it is with people, there’s rarely a deeper connection that you can get with God than in a one on one scenario.

God will speak to us every day in our thoughts, but sometimes it’s hard to hear him when there is so much going on. Slowing down and listening to what he has to say shows faith in his existence and in his judgment and one of the truest forms of reverence towards God is showing pure belief in him.

Greatest examples of Worship in the Bible:

It was necessary to equate faith to worship in the former paragraphs because the most common image that comes to mind when we think of worship is the songs sung in a church setting or a group prayer.

Now I am not discrediting or demeaning those things in any way, but the examples that come to mind when one considers a great act of worship involve inner strength, humility, and the faith to take their worship outside of the church.

Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego refused to bow down to King Nebuchadnezzar; this was thought of as a sign of blatant disrespect towards the king. So much so, in fact, that they were thrown into the fiery furnace. Luckily for them, their hearts were in the right place, and it was not because they were irreverent towards the King, but because of their reverence to the one true God and God showed his love for them in return by saving them from the fiery furnace.

Paul and Silas were two disciples that were facing certain death because of their proclaimed belief in Jesus. They were brought into the dungeons and shackled, but they did not use this as an excuse to put the brakes on their worship. They worshiped God from within the prison, and God heard their praise! He even sent an angel to break them out of prison, so they could go on preaching the word of God.

Jesus’ complete surrender to God is another amazing example of humility before God. Jesus was frightened before the crucifixion but did not ever waver in his faith.

Luke 22:42 says this: “Father, if you are willing, take this cup from me; yet not my will, but yours be done.” Being crucified would cause crippling fear in many and I believe most people who knew that they were about to be crucified would run given the chance.

Jesus’ unrelenting faith in God gave him the strength to stay, and even utter the words, “not my will, but yours be done.”. Still one of the greatest acts of faith in the bible, it is also one that represents a man that is willing to go to any lengths to see God, his father’s, work be done. This act of faith and worship is repaid by what is known as the greatest act of God in the Bible; the resurrection.

Now we are starting to see a pattern emerge as God tends to repay these great acts of faith with miracles.


Abraham’s willingness to sacrifice his son is one of the most notable and intense stories in the Bible. Back before Jesus sacrificed himself for mankind’s sin, men were expected to bring sacrificial offerings to the lord in place of their sins.

Abraham was heartbroken when God told him that he would have to sacrifice his son Isaac, but he was still willing to do it as an act of servitude and obedience to the lord. The Lord greatly repaid him for his willingness to obey, and Abraham became a father to the nation of Israel.

The widow’s offering serves not only as a great example, but a timeless parable. The widow’s offering for those who do not know was the event of a widow giving only 2 cents into the offering as opposed to the richer people who were throwing in large amounts.

When Jesus saw this, he called to his disciples and said, “Truly I tell you, this poor widow has put more into the treasury than all the others. They all gave out of their wealth, but she, out of her poverty, put in everything-all she had to live on.” This occurrence tells us this much; that it is not what we have to give to the lord, but how willing we are to give it.

For someone who is rich, the most valuable thing that they can give to the Lord may not be their money, but their time. For someone who has nothing to give, the same can be said for them. God appreciates what we give, and the sincerity with which we offer it to him.

It actually brings to mind the story of Cain and Able, where their offerings (which were not described) may not have been that entirely different, but God appreciated Able’s more and as such he blessed him. Why? Because of the sincerity in his heart.

Conclusion:

There are many differences between bowing to God and bowing to a king, but I think the major difference is this: we do not have to bow down to our God because of a fear of getting thrown into a furnace. We do it out of reverence.

God has always given us a choice to worship, a choice to believe, and a choice to follow and while hell is a very real thing, in the end, we are the ones that choose whether or not to go there.

I believe this is the answer to the often asked question of “Why does God not just reveal himself?”

We are not following a cruel, egotistical dictator that wants us to obey and fall in line for his own selfish benefit. We are following a God that loves us, a God that wants the best for his children, and a God that wants us to choose him. This type of love deserves worship and worshiping him who loves us is our humble sign of voluntary respect.

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