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Worship - An In Depth Study

Asking the question, “What is worship?” is kind of like asking, “What is love?” You know it when you experience it but putting it into words can be difficult. Praise can be defined as an act of applauding or extolling someone for his or her deeds. You can even know praise when you see it. Worship is different. Worship is something you almost have to experience to understand. Jesus said in John 4 “the Father is seeking those who would worship Him in spirit and in truth.” Let’s start by examining the “truth” part of that statement.

We know that the first use of the word worship in the Old Testament was in Genesis 22 when Abraham speaking to his servants said, “Stay here with the donkey; the lad and I will go yonder and worship and we will come back to you.” The Hebrew word here for worship is shachah, which means to prostrate, bow down, stoop or crouch. Throughout the Old Testament, the use of the word worship was in reference to the word shachah. The only other word referenced was cegid, which also meant to prostrate oneself.

Worship is an act of submission. The Old Testament examples show us that frequently they laid flat on their stomach to worship God. Worship was not shouting and clapping and blowing the trumpet. Rather it was a solemn act of bowing down and being silent. To this day, one of the ways that people in foreign countries show their kings and queens respect is by bowing down or crouching before them. This is one aspect of the word worship.

In the New Testament we see reference to the Greek word proskuneo, which also means to prostrate oneself or show homage or reverence to. In John 4, Jesus was saying, “The Father is seeking such to [prostrate or bow down in submission] before Him…”

God, when speaking to Isaiah, said, “These people come near to me with their mouth and honor me with their lips, but their hearts are far from me. Their worship of Me is made up only of rules taught by men.” (Isaiah 29:13) God desires true worship. As in the words of Jesus, He desires not only the “act” of worship but also the “spirit” of worship. Song of Solomon illustrates a lover calling his love into his bed- chamber. God desires intimacy with us.

I can say to my wife in public that I love her. I can even do things that show her and others that I love her. But, only she and I will know the depth of our relationship.

It is important to worship God privately as individuals. But I believe that there is a more powerful element that God desires in worship that can only happen when His Bride comes together corporately of one mind, one spirit and in unity to worship Her Lord. There is something undeniable that happens in unified corporate worship that invokes the presence of God in a measure of power that typically cannot be acheived singularly. God is a personal God. However, I believe it is His great desire that we unite in one spirit as one body to worship Him. It is through this avenue that I believe He will transform His Bride.

Let's take a look at some examples of songs we sing today that would fall in the category of Worship:

“Lord I give You my heart. I give You my soul. I live for You alone. Every breath that I take. Every moment I’m awake. Lord, have Your way in me.”
I Give You My Heart
By: Reuben Morgan

“You are awesome in this place, mighty God. You are awesome in this place, Abba Father.”
Awesome God
By: Rich Mullins

“I worship You, Almighty God. There is none like You. I worship You, O Prince of Peace. That is what I want to do.”
I Worship You
By: Sondra Corbett

Through worship we do 3 things:

  1. We go one-on-one with God.
  2. We seek a closer understanding of His love, His grace and His mercy, and we long to get a deeper understanding of His ways.
  3. We submit ourselves to Him as our King.
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