Discover The Meaning Of Praise And Worship In The Bible
Praise and worship are two significant words found in the Bible.
They both refer to our expression of adoration for our God and Father, yet have significant differences.
Understanding these can give you a great opportunity to learn to connect with God, through His Jesus, in a new and exciting way.
In Christian circles, praise and worship typically refer to singing. While singing definitely plays a significant role in expressing praise and worship to God, the meanings are even deeper than merely singing.
What is Praise?
Praise refers to lifting God up. It is the joyful recounting of what God has done for us. Praise and Thanksgiving go hand in hand as thank God and offer appreciation for who He is. Praise is the acknowledgment of all the wonderful, righteous deeds of God. He is worthy of praise (Psalm 18:3).
Praise can be presented as an uninhibited, overflowing, joyful, and even boisterous recounting of the goodness of God.
Bible Verses about Praising God
Praise the Lord!
Praise God in His sanctuary;
…in His mighty heavens.
….for His mighty acts;
Praise Him according to [the abundance of] His greatness.
Praise Him with trumpet sound;
…with harp and lyre.
Praise Him with tambourine and dancing;
….with stringed instruments and flute.
Praise Him with resounding cymbals;
….Him with loud cymbals.
Let everything that has breath and every breath of life praise the Lord!
Praise the Lord! (Hallelujah!)
– Psalm 150:1-6
Is anyone among you suffering? He must pray. Is anyone joyful? He is to sing praises [to God].
– James 5:13
Bless and affectionately praise the Lord, O my soul,
And do not forget any of His benefits
– Psalm 103:2
Praise the Lord!
For it is good to sing praises to our [gracious and majestic] God;
Praise is becoming and appropriate.
– Psalm 147:1
O magnify the Lord with me,
And let us lift up His name together.
– Psalm 34:3
What is Worship?
Worship refers to humbling ourselves to God and is costly. We are made to Worship and the question is not whether we are going to Worship or not but rather who are what are we going to worship? Worship is the act of losing yourself in the adoration and admiration of another. To truly worship we need to be in a place of complete submission to the will and word of the Lord. Worship carries a weight of reverence and awe and throughout scripture is often coupled with the act of bowing our heads and kneeling as a physical representation of surrender to who God is and submitting everything in our lives to His authority (Psalm 95:6).
Bible Verses about Praising God
Worship the Lord in the splendor of holiness;
Tremble [in submissive wonder] before Him, all the earth.
– Psalm 96:9
Jesus replied to him, “It is written and forever remains written, ‘You shall worship the Lord your God and serve only Him.’”
– Luke 4:8
My [only] sacrifice [acceptable] to God is a broken spirit;
A broken and contrite heart [broken with sorrow for sin, thoroughly penitent], such, O God, You will not despise.
– Psalm 51:17
Ascribe to the Lord the glory and honor due His name;
Bring an offering [of thanksgiving], and come before Him;
Worship the Lord in the splendor of holiness.
– 1 Chronicles 16:29
But a time is coming and is already here when the true worshipers will worship the Father in spirit [from the heart, the inner self] and in truth; for the Father seeks such people to be His worshipers. God is spirit [the Source of life, yet invisible to mankind], and those who worship Him must worship in spirit and truth.”
– John 4:23-24
Praise and worship songs
In daily church life, songs that are more upbeat are typically referred to as praise songs, while quieter, more reflective songs, have come to be called worship songs. This is likely because during faster, louder songs to the Lord, we dance, raise our hands and often look up (similar to how the ancient worshippers did – 2 Samuel 6:14-22).
By contrast, when the music is slower and quieter, we may tend to lower our eyes (even closing them), bow our heads, and kneel. It is rare for a worshipper to dance excitedly during a slower worship song.
It is true that these are not absolute rules. Many worshippers bow their heads, kneel, and deeply reflect on Christ during upbeat songs. Conversely, it is not unheard of for some worshippers to jump, dance, and shout during a slow worship song. Indeed, many worshippers will look up when the music is slow and reflective.
Surely the reason why these two terms are used in this way is that the typical way for believers to behave during faster songs is with an attitude of praise, while the slower melodies bring a sense of worship. Either way, the similarities between these two styles of connecting with God is far more significant than their differences.
Connecting with God
Whether we are praising God in our music and lives, or worshipping Him, both praise and worship serves the purpose of drawing us into His presence, helping us to become aware that He is there and how much more significant He is than the problems we currently face in our lives.
Through lifting Him up and lowering ourselves, we are bringing every part of our lives, physical, mental, and emotional, under His authority as we declare with our voices and actions that He deserves all honor and praise as we pour our adoration onto Him.
While praise and worship are both done during singing to Jesus Christ, they should be done with everything we do in life. Far more than simply singing songs, we should make our every action an act of praise and/or worship to God Almighty.
The Bible tells us that the Lord inhabits the praises of His people (Psalm 22:3).
Our praise and worship involve us connecting with God.
While we can tend to go about our daily lives, either giving occasional thought to Him or, even worse, no thought to Him at all, living a life of praise and worship helps us to make Him a frequent part of our lives. We may not always succeed at doing this, but deliberately praising and worshipping Him as often as we think of it makes a significant impact on our mission to submit all that we have to Him.
How to worship beyond the music
Some simple tips can help us to bring praise and worship into our daily lives. Firstly, we can deliberately take on an attitude of thankfulness in situations that we encounter (Phillippians 4). Choosing to thank God for what we have and what we face leads automatically to praise.
Secondly, talking to Jesus like the real friend He is, not just with please and thank you, but talking to Him about our favourite food, our likes and dislikes, what we would like to do that day, and how exciting the soccer game was, reminds us that He is with us in everything we experience.
Finally, examining ourselves and what we do, asking the very important question, “Does this honor God?” builds a habit of praise and worship. Doing this, and making the necessary changes to make sure every part of our lives does honor him, helps convert our lives into acts of praise and worship.
When Christians talk about praise and worship, they typically mean the fast and slow songs during the church service. However, these songs and how they are sung are only an outward expression of the complete act of worship, which is done inside of us and how we live.
Praise and Worship is an attitude of the heart. It is possible to do all the religious outward motions yet miss the whole point of what praise and worship actual mean.
Giving complete control over to God is the goal, and honoring Him is the path to that goal.
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