How to worship God and what is acceptable worship is discussed here.
What is Worship?
To know how to worship God, first lets know what worship meant. Worship meant “to bow down”, “to venerate”, “to reverence” and “to respect”.
About Worship in New Testament
In New Testament, Jesus Christ commanded two types of worship: Private or individual worship and public worship.
We see in many Bible verses that Jesus Christ worshiped alone.
“….he departed again into a mountain himself alone.” (John 6:15)
“….and at night he went out, and abode in the mount that is called the mount of Olives.” (Luke 21:37)
“And when even was come, the ship was in the midst of the sea, and he alone on the land.” (Mark 6:47)
He taught his disciples to pray in private.
“But thou, when thou prayest, enter into thy closet, and when thou hast shut thy door, pray to thy Father which is in secret; and thy Father which seeth in secret shall reward thee openly.” (Matthew 6:6)
Private worship and meditation gives the strongest spiritual foundations.
“Meditate upon these things; give thyself wholly to them; that thy profiting may appear to all.” (I Timothy 4:15)
“But his delight is in the law of the LORD; and in his law doth he meditate day and night.” (Psalm 1:2)
“O how I love thy law! it is my meditation all the day.” (Psalm 119:97)
Through public worship, Christians can edify themselves and others. In New Testament, we see that Christians participated in public worships.
“And they, continuing daily with one accord in the temple, ….” (Acts 2:46)
Acts of Worship
What are the activities that are done when we come together to worship God?
1. Study Gods Word
The early church was constructed in God’s ways through scripture-based teaching and preaching.
“And daily in the temple, and in every house, they ceased not to teach and preach Jesus Christ.” (Acts 5:42)
“Therefore they that were scattered abroad went every where preaching the word.” (Acts 8:4)
“But Philip was found at Azotus: and passing through he preached in all the cities, till he came to Caesarea.” (Acts 8:40)
“…..because he preached unto them Jesus, and the resurrection.” (Acts 17:18)
“Whereby, when ye read, ye may understand my knowledge in the mystery of Christ)” (Ephesians 3:4)
“I charge you by the Lord that this epistle be read unto all the holy brethren.” (I Thessalonians 5:27)
“Till I come, give attendance to reading, to exhortation, to doctrine.” (I Timothy 4:13)
“Study to shew thyself approved unto God, a workman that needeth not to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth.” (II Timothy 2:15)
2. Sing Hymns unto God
We can see in the New Testament that singing is an act of worship.
The Lord Jesus Christ sang with his disciples. – “And when they had sung an hymn, they went out into the mount of Olives.” (Matthew 26:30)
Paul and Silas prayed and sang praises unto God – “And at midnight Paul and Silas prayed, and sang praises unto God: and the prisoners heard them.” (Acts 16:25)
“Is any among you afflicted? let him pray. Is any merry? let him sing psalms.” (James 5:13)
“………and sing unto thy name.” (Romans 15:9)
“What is it then? I will pray with the spirit, and I will pray with the understanding also: I will sing with the spirit, and I will sing with the understanding also.” (I Corinthians 14:15)
“Speaking to yourselves in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing and making melody in your heart to the Lord;” (Ephesians 5:19)
“Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly in all wisdom; teaching and admonishing one another in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing with grace in your hearts to the Lord.” (Colossians 3:16)
The Bible commands us to “Give” in terms of time, energy and also money. It should not be perceived as an option, but as the commandment of God. It is the true expression of love for God and how much God has given for this mankind.
Giving should be done regularly and generously on the first day of the week.
“Now concerning the collection for the saints, as I have given order to the churches of Galatia, even so do ye.” (I Corinthians 16:1) “Upon the first day of the week let every one of you lay by him in store, as God hath prospered him, that there be no gatherings when I come.” (I Corinthians 16:2)
“But this I say, He which soweth sparingly shall reap also sparingly; and he which soweth bountifully shall reap also bountifully.” (II Corinthians 9:6)
Giving should be joyful and should be done purposefully.
“Every man according as he purposeth in his heart, so let him give; not grudgingly, or of necessity: for God loveth a cheerful giver.” (II Corinthians 9:7)
4. The Lord’s Supper
The Lord’s Supper is an important part of the public worship in the early church. – “And upon the first day of the week, when the disciples came together to break bread, Paul preached unto them, ready to depart on the morrow; and continued his speech until midnight.” (Acts 20:7)
The Lord’s Supper was instituted by Jesus Christ, on the night before his death, which is the communion, and told his disciples to partake of bread and grape juice as the lasting reminders of His body and blood given for the salvation of humanity. – Read I Corinthians 11:23-34)
The Lord’s Supper should be observed regularly, looking back on the Lord’s sacrifice and looking forward on Christ’s return. – “For as often as ye eat this bread, and drink this cup, ye do shew the Lord’s death till he come.” (I Corinthians 11:26)
The Lord’s Supper should be only be observed as per one’s spiritual condition. – “But let a man examine himself, and so let him eat of that bread, and drink of that cup.” – (I Corinthians 11:28)
It should not be observed without proper reverence and respect. – “For he that eateth and drinketh unworthily, eateth and drinketh damnation to himself, not discerning the Lord’s body.” – (I Corinthians 11:29)
Purposes of Worship
God desires man to worship him, rather than any gifts.
“Neither is worshipped with men’s hands, as though he needed any thing, seeing he giveth to all life, and breath, and all things;” (Acts 17:25)
Man is required to worship God to
1. Giving Thanks for the providence of God – “By him therefore let us offer the sacrifice of praise to God continually, that is, the fruit of our lips giving thanks to his name.” (Hebrews 13:5)
2. To teach and be instructed in the ways of God. Check Psalm 143.
3. Get Hope. – “And that the Gentiles might glorify God for his mercy; as it is written, For this cause I will confess to thee among the Gentiles, and sing unto thy name.” (Romans 15:9)
4. To find Peace – Hebrews 12:12 – 29
5. Repent and ask for forgiveness – Psalm 51
Prayer and How to Pray
How to Worship God in Prayer?
Prayer is important in both private and public worship. Jesus said, “….men ought always to pray, and not to faint;” (Luke 18:1).
Jesus told to avoid vain repetitions and long prayers to be seen by men. “And when thou prayest, thou shalt not be as the hypocrites are: for they love to pray standing in the synagogues and in the corners of the streets, that they may be seen of men. Verily I say unto you, They have their reward.” (Matthew 6:5) “But thou, when thou prayest, enter into thy closet, and when thou hast shut thy door, pray to thy Father which is in secret; and thy Father which seeth in secret shall reward thee openly.” (Matthew 6:6) “But when ye pray, use not vain repetitions, as the heathen do: for they think that they shall be heard for their much speaking.” (Matthew 6:7) “Be not ye therefore like unto them: for your Father knoweth what things ye have need of, before ye ask him.” (Matthew 6:8)
The Lords Prayer
Jesus Christ instructed his disciples about how to pray and gave a model prayer.
After this manner therefore pray ye:
Our Father which art in heaven, Hallowed be thy name.(9)
Thy kingdom come, Thy will be done in earth, as it is in heaven.(10)
Give us this day our daily bread. (11)
And forgive us our debts, as we forgive our debtors. (12)
And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil: For thine is the kingdom, and the power, and the glory, for ever. Amen. (13) [Matthew 6:9-13]
Our Father which art in heaven – We should direct our prayer towards God. This introduction establishes a wonderful relationship between us and God.
Hallowed be thy name. Thy kingdom come, Thy will be done in earth, as it is in heaven. – These Three are the requests concerning God that mankind should Respect God, that His kingdom come and finally we surrender completely to God, so that His will is done in earth as it is in heaven.
Give us this day our daily bread. And forgive us our debts, as we forgive our debtors.
And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil: – These Three are the requests concerning man first we ask for our bread for the body which is necessary for us to live and continue our works in God, and then we request for forgiveness of our sins, which is necessary for the soul. Finally we ask for Spiritual guidance and deliverance from spiritual danger.
For thine is the kingdom, and the power, and the glory, for ever. Amen. – In this conclusion, we recognize God’s complete authority over everything and only God has the power to answer our prayer. Glory is God’s and we pray for His glory.
“But the hour cometh, and now is, when the true worshippers shall worship the Father in spirit and in truth: for the Father seeketh such to worship him.” John 4:23
1. An Introduction to the Bible and to Heaven Booklet #8 Acceptable Worship by Owen Cosgrove
2. How do we Pray by Iskander Jadeed