How do we worship?

We worship that to which we give our attention. For some it can be money; for some, sports; for some, their significant other; for some, even their children. But as Christians, God wants us to turn our attention to him. He desires our worship.


The goal of the modern ‘worship’ service is to make it easier for people to worship. The types of songs we sing, the order we put them in, the keys we choose, and the physical setting are all part of a conscious effort to make it easier for people to turn their attention toward God.


Yet, the Bible shows us that we have barely even scratched the surface when it comes to giving God our whole attention.


In 2 Samuel 6 (NIV) we see that David danced before the Lord in worship to the point of embarrassing his wife. It says he was leaping and dancing with all of his might in the middle of the city. Quite a dynamic, undignified picture—no wonder she was embarrassed!


We see in Genesis 17 that Abraham fell on his face before God and laughed in this incredible conversation he was having with God about how God would bless Abraham. In Matthew 2, the wise men brought precious gifts; they journeyed, probably for years, just so they could bow down before the Christ. Psalm 46:10 shows that worship can look like simply being still and knowing that He is God.


Is there a wrong way to worship God? In Isaiah 29:13, God says that there are those honoring Him with their lips, but their hearts are far from Him. Their worship is focused on rules, not on God. Also, in Isaiah 58 God rebukes His people for “worship” that fails to put God’s priorities first.


So what is God looking for? John 4:23-24 speaks to this directly: Jesus says, “Yet a time is coming and has now come when the true worshipers will worship the Father in the Spirit and in truth, for they are the kind of worshipers the Father seeks.”


God wants our attention. True worship requires us to align our spirit with His by the truth He has revealed to us in Christ. There is much that can hold us back from entering into the kind of intimacy God wants. There are many times I have caught myself singing a praise song, and not even thinking about the words. Sometimes my mind is elsewhere or maybe my heart is heavy and just not “feeling it”. I am sure I am not alone in this.


Hard life issues like a cancer diagnosis, the death of loved one, or financial hardships can easily capture all of our attention. The very act of worship requires us to turn our attention away from those things as we instead pour our attention on God. In so doing, we surrender our circumstances to Him.
As hard as this might seem, worship is not only what God asks of us—it’s actually what sets us free. In the midst of trials, we see that Job continued to place his hope in the Lord (Job 13:15), and that David praised through his trials (Psalm 71:14). Paul and Silas were in jail, praying and singing praises to God, when God sent an earthquake that literally set them free. Yet, in worship, they were already free long before the literal shackles fell.


Good circumstances can be distracting too. It is when we don’t “need” God that it is sometimes easiest to forget about Him. We could learn a lot from David, who started out Psalm 103 famously declaring: “Bless the LORD, O my soul: and all that is within me, bless his holy name. “Bless the Lord, O my soul, and forget not all his benefits!”


Worship isn’t about circumstances. It isn’t about a ‘great song,’ the setting, or even about the demonstration/physical posture.


Worship is about the heart. God desires true worshippers. The Bible says he delights in His people and gives victory to the humble (Psalm 149:4). He wants us to give our all in worship because He loves us. Our response is to love and worship Him. He wants us to lay down our cares, concerns and distractions and see Him in His fullness and His glory. He is our God whether we are on a mountain high or a valley low. He is constant, and His love for us is greater than we can comprehend.


Worship Him because He is worthy of our all.


-Rebecca Bigler