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What is Worship?

Worship is more than just the music we sing on Sundays. It’s a lifestyle that reminds us of who God is and what he’s done for us.

Growing Faith
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What comes to mind when you think of the word worship? Is it a style of music? The music portion of a church service? Something that can only happen within a church?

Many of us reduce worship to a specific religious activity, but in reality, that’s only one part of the lifestyle of worship God invites us into. Let’s explore the depth behind true biblical worship and how it can impact what we do in and outside church.

What is worship according to the Bible?

Whether we recognize it or not, God created us with the ability and need to worship. To worship simply means to “give worth” to someone or something. 

Worship is something cultures are naturally wired to do. We ascribe worth to celebrities, jobs, the latest health and fitness trends, reputations, and relationships.

Worshiping God, then, means to give him worth, to express adoration for who he is and what he’s done for us, giving him the proper place in our hearts and lives as a result. God calls us to put him first in our lives (Exodus 20:3), but any time we give something the highest value in our hearts, we’re putting it above God and knocking him out of that #1 position.

Throughout the Bible we see examples of what it’s like to live a lifestyle of worship, utilizing various rhythms and practices to God at the center of our hearts. 

Communal worship

For centuries, God has given his people both communal (or group) and personal practices they can engage in to worship him and remind themselves of his authority in their lives and in the world. The very first church placed a high value on communal worship, which involves a community of believers gathering together and engaging in various practices as an expression of gratitude to God. We see a description of this in Acts 2:44-47:

“And all the believers met together in one place and shared everything they had. They sold their property and possessions and shared the money with those in need. They worshiped together at the Temple each day, met in homes for the Lord’s Supper, and shared their meals with great joy and generosity— all the while praising God and enjoying the goodwill of all the people. And each day the Lord added to their fellowship those who were being saved.”

In our context, we can think of communal worship as the Sunday church service. Communal worship helps us remember our collective identity as followers of Jesus and gives us an opportunity to encourage each other to live out his will for our lives. The apostle Paul emphasizes the purpose of group worship throughout his teachings, like what he wrote in Ephesians 4:11-13

“Now these are the gifts Christ gave to the church: the apostles, the prophets, the evangelists, and the pastors and teachers. Their responsibility is to equip God’s people to do his work and build up the church, the body of Christ. This will continue until we all come to such unity in our faith and knowledge of God’s Son that we will be mature in the Lord, measuring up to the full and complete standard of Christ.”

For many churches, communal worship involves a time of singing songs, talking to God through prayer, and reading the Bible. It also includes practices like baptism, communion, and confessing our sins and mistakes. Each of these practices plays a key role in training our hearts and minds to give God the worth he deserves in our lives. 

Personal Worship

While communal worship helps us remember our collective identity and unity with Christ, personal worship helps us engage our individual relationship with God and live out that relationship in our everyday lives. Jesus himself had patterns of personal worship. Many passages in the Bible give examples of Jesus taking time alone to strengthen his personal relationship with God, like these:

  • “After sending them home, he [Jesus] went up into the hills by himself to pray. Night fell while he was there alone.” Matthew 14:22-24
  • “But Jesus often withdrew to the wilderness for prayer.” Luke 5:16

Jesus came so that we could give worth to God personally. In fact, Jesus told us that worshiping God with our whole hearts and lives is the true and proper way to worship. 

“Jesus replied, “Believe me, dear woman, the time is coming when it will no longer matter whether you worship the Father on this mountain or in Jerusalem…. But the time is coming—indeed it’s here now—when true worshipers will worship the Father in spirit and in truth. The Father is looking for those who will worship him that way. For God is Spirit, so those who worship him must worship in spirit and in truth.” John 4:21-23

In this verse, we see Jesus affirm the fact that genuine worship of God exists outside a particular religious building or practice. The apostle Paul expands this idea in his letter to Christians in Rome:

“So here’s what I want you to do, God helping you: Take your everyday, ordinary life—your sleeping, eating, going-to-work, and walking-around life—and place it before God as an offering. Embracing what God does for you is the best thing you can do for him.” Romans 12:1 (MSG)

Today, some modern practices to personally worship God include:

  • Meditation and reflection

Get the most out of worship

Distractions are inevitable, and even good things can creep into our connection with God and keep us from being fully transformed by him. Here are few ways we can combat the distractions and create space for God to truly meet us through these practices: 

Remove or limit technology

Sometimes distractions are inevitable, while other times we invite them in ourselves. If technology interferes with your ability to focus on God, limit it. Maybe it’s putting the phone in another room during your devotional time, being intentional about not taking it out during church,  or reading a physical bible.

Use reminders to remember to engage with God

Whether that’s putting a reminder for church in your calendar each week, a reminder in your phone to read your Bible, or a post-it note in your car that prompts you to use that time to pray or listen to worship music, simple reminders can pull us from the busyness of everyday life and help us re-focus on what matters most. 

Consistency is key

It can be easy to beat ourselves up for not being where we want to be. Start small and be consistent, rather than attempting to overhaul your whole schedule at once. Maybe it’s committing to 10 minutes of Bible reading a day or praying to God for 5 minutes before bed. Pursuing consistency and being realistic about what our schedules allow for in any given season are most important. Miss a day or two? Start back up again. 

Heart posture matters most

God gave worship practices for us. They’re never a task to be accomplished or a method to earn greater status with him, but rather a rhythm for continually connecting and deepening our relationship with him. When we seek him with that heart posture, genuinely wanting to encounter him, he is faithful to meet us regardless of the length or type of practice.

Worship matters

Worship, in all of its forms, is a central part in the lives of followers of Jesus. It provides the opportunity to cultivate a genuine relationship with God - and one that keeps growing. It reminds us of who he is, what he’s done for us, and helps us position ourselves to make him known in our lives. 

We all give worth to things The question, for those who are following Jesus, is, “What are we intentionally doing to give worth to God?”


There are even more ways to worship God than you might realize! From getting into nature to spending time alone, here are 9 sacred pathways to engage with God. 


LCBC stands for Lives Changed By Christ. We are one church in multiple locations across Pennsylvania. Find the location closest to you or join us for Church Online. We can’t wait to connect with you!

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