What Is the Life-Changing Impact of These 6 Ways to Worship?

Updated Jun 10, 2024
What Is the Life-Changing Impact of These 6 Ways to Worship?
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What is worship? The essence of worship, defined, is the soul's response to God’s greatness, acknowledging His sovereignty, love, and omnipotence. In this exploration, we delve into the multifaceted ways through which worship manifests, inviting believers to engage with their whole beings. From heartfelt prayers to jubilant melodies of praise, from acts of humble service to the daily pursuit of righteousness, each avenue becomes an adoration of our Redeemer and Lord. 

Let’s unpack the nature of worship, guiding through its various forms and unveiling the inner transformational power that lies within. Navigating these dimensions of worship magnifies God above all else.  May our hearts be stirred, our spirits uplifted, and His image reflected as we grow in the beauty of worship. 

“O Lord, there is none like You, nor is there any God besides You.” - 1 Chronicles 17:20

Photo Credit: ©GettyImages/AaronAmat

1. What Does it Mean to Worship with Your Heart?

Jesus once told a parable of two men at church. One worshipped from his heart while the other boasted, “I thank you that I am not like other people—robbers, evildoers, adulterers… I fast twice a week and give a tenth of all I get” (Luke 18:11-12).  

Jesus praised only the humble worshipper who, from his heart, acknowledged God’s greatness, goodness, and mercy. Despite both being in the church, only one worshiped sincerely from the heart, while the other indulged in his own self-righteousness.

Sincere love and devotion to God rise from the core of our being by loving God “with all our heart” as the foremost commandment (Mark 12:30-31). Just as we cherish hearing the words “I love you” from a spouse, the tender whispers of a precious child, or during a dear friend’s hug, God loves to hear it, too.

 An overflowing heart of worship is genuine, wholehearted devotion, similar to faithfulness in marriage when both husband and wife selflessly love each other and share the words “I love you” day in and day out. 

Heart worship aligns with God's will and the purifying power of genuine devotion.  As William Temple, Archbishop of Canterbury (1881-1944), said, 

“Worship is the opening of the heart to His love, the surrender of will to His purpose.” 

2. How Can We Worship in Prayer?

As a significant worship mode, prayer encapsulates the deep intimacy of communing with God. Much like confiding in a trusted friend, prayer offers comfort, but it also has the power to guide and provide insight, nurturing a heart filled with empowerment. Establishing an early morning appointment with God each day at a specified time with an ongoing thread of conversation throughout the day builds an unshakeable bond of closeness and confidence with the Lord. Journaling our prayers and God’s answers reminds and tracks God’s faithfulness knowing “that in all things God works for the good of those who love him” (Romans 8:28).  

The immediate connection of prayer, better and faster than texting, initiates a two-way dialogue with Jesus. Whether it's the first thing in the morning when we awake, an ongoing conversation during the day, or in the night watches, God always listens and leads us. Whether we pray out loud or just in our thoughts, God hears. Psalm 139’s first verses assure God knows our thoughts, underscoring the personal and intimate nature of prayer. 

In moments of distress and vulnerability, prayer becomes a sanctuary where we pour out our hearts with raw honesty, unburdening our fears, hopes, and struggles before God. It is not the eloquence of words but the authenticity of our hearts that resonates with Him. The promise in Isaiah 65:24

“Before they call I will answer; while they are yet speaking I will hear,” reminds us that God is an ever-present help." - Psalm 46:1 

Philippians 4:6-7 highlights the power of prayer, promising God's peace to guard our hearts and minds as we present our requests with thanksgiving. Talking with God continually --- our fears, concerns, hurts, needs, family, and health---everything that is important to us is also important to God. Through prayer, believers cultivate a growing intimacy with the resulting alignment to His will and His abiding presence.

young woman playing music instrument at home alone

3. How Can Worship in Song and Praise Bring Us Close to God?

The book of Psalms, with its 150 chapters, stands as a testament to the centrality of worship, praise, and singing in the life of believers. David, renowned as a psalmist musician and a man after God's own heart, extols the virtue of worship through song: "Sing to Him, sing praise to Him; tell of all His wonderful acts" (1 Chronicles 16:9). In verse 23, he further emphasizes the universal call to praise the Lord and proclaim His salvation through melodies from a heart of praise, 

“Sing to the Lord, all the earth; proclaim his salvation day after day.”

The act of singing honors God, whether through familiar melodies ingrained since childhood or new compositions birthed from the depths of our spirit.  “I will sing to the Lord as long as I live; I will sing praise to my God while I have my being” (Psalm 104:33).

Personally, one of my most cherished forms of worship in life and ministry is sitting at the piano, singing new songs to the Lord, often inspired by the Psalms. This is worship from the depths of my heart and spirit, coupled with the power of His Word. 

The divine connections to heaven, through His Word and singing, on your own or corporately at a church service, usher us into His courts with praise, engaging the very depth of our being, echoing Jesus' admonition to worship in "spirit and truth” (John 4:24). 

Photo Credit: © Getty Images/Polina Panna

4. Why Is Serving Others an Important Expression of Worship?

The deep connection between selfless acts of service underscores worship. Billy Graham aptly captures the essence of worship through service: the selfless pursuit of reaching out to the lost and vulnerable. According to Graham, true worship manifests in consecrated feet actively seeking to bring hope and healing to those in need. We worship God when we show acts of kindness in innumerable ways--- volunteering to make Sunday’s church service run smoothly, setting up for church outreach, serving the community through food drives, helping repair a damaged porch, and providing carpooling to a medical appointment. These acts of service as a mode of worship, reveal our love of Jesus in tangible ways. 

“Truly, I tell you, whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers and sisters of mine, you did for me.’” - Matthew 25:40

Not only do we worship in serving others, but we also serve God in our worship. As believers, we are called to present our bodies “as living sacrifices,” as articulated in Romans 12:1-2. This form of worship encompasses a life surrendered to God's will. While serving others in tangible ways, such as providing meals or lending a helping hand, is essential, Romans 12:1-2 emphasizes the dynamic power of surrendering our entire being to God, which is true worship, allowing Him to renew our minds and guide us in His perfect will. “Therefore, I urge you, brothers and sisters, in view of God’s mercy, to offer your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and pleasing to God—this is your true and proper worship (12:1).  

This act of surrender, where our hearts, minds, and will align with His divine purpose, is the pinnacle of worship. It is when we please Him in all aspects of our lives, that we truly worship Him. 

5. We Worship God by Living Righteously.

Living to please God in obedience to God’s Words and commands encapsulates the profound connection between worship and righteous living, as articulated by John Piper: "True worship is when a person, through their person, reflects the worth of God." In our culture, some who profess Jesus as Savior fall for the myth that they can love Jesus without obedience. James 1:22 reminds us, 

“Do not merely listen to the word, and so deceive yourselves. Do what it says.”   

God's omniscience ensures that nothing escapes His notice; He intimately knows our thoughts, words, actions, and behavior. Galatians 5:19-21 defines the acts of the flesh that will keep us from God’s kingdom--- dishonesty, sexual immorality, hatred, fits of rage, selfish ambition, or envy. But yielding to the Holy Spirit’s guidance, God’s righteousness will become ours: “But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, and self-control” (Galatians 5:22). 

Righteousness is the foremost requirement for the child of God. We are not perfect, but we are forgiven (1 John 1:9), and given the ability to live faithfully as we prioritize God’s Word and the written requirements for righteous living. Neglecting time in God’s word stifles the followers of Jesus. 

 Blessing is promised to those who are students of Scripture. Matthew 5:6 says, 

“Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they will be filled.” 

This hunger and thirst for righteousness can only be satisfied by delving into the Bible and obeying its commands. The Bible fortifies believers against the temptations of the flesh, guiding them towards a life led by the Holy Spirit. God's Word is not just a guiding light but a roadmap, illuminating the path of righteousness for those who fear the Lord (Proverbs 9:10).

Jesus emphasized obedience as the hallmark of true worship, declaring that those who love Him will obey His commands. This underscores the inseparable connection between worship and obedience. Jesus emphasized, “If you love me, keep my commands” (John 14:15). As we do, we not only become genuine worshippers, but we also find enlightenment and inspiration in our obedience.

woman outside hiking; what is worship?

6. How Can We Continue to Grow in Worship?

Growing up in worship is similar to mastering an instrument through consistent practice. Just as proficiency in piano playing develops over time, our ability to worship God, “in spirit and in truth” (John 4:24), deepens as we cultivate a devoted relationship with Him. Psalm 119, the longest chapter in the Bible with 176 verses, about 2,445 words, is filled with the value of honoring God’s Word and the fruitful outcome of an abundant life and eternity. I encourage you to read it if it’s been a while since you have, noting how often the word “obey” is mentioned. Verse 57 is one example. 

“You are my portion, O Lord; I have promised to obey your words. I have sought your face with all my heart; be gracious to me according to your promise.” 

Developing a deep connection with God's Word is not just crucial, it's transformative in the path of worship growth. The living Word is a purifying force that addresses our innermost struggles and leads us toward healing and wholeness. It’s alive (Hebrews 4:12). It pierces through our core and aids us in processing our thoughts and aligning heart attitudes. Praying the psalms, singing Scripture, and allowing God's Word to permeate our hearts will illuminate His presence and voice each day. In the midst of life’s greatest trials and joys, walking with God in worship yields the purest satisfaction known on earth. 

The gift of the body of Christ in corporate worship is not just beneficial, it's essential for spiritual growth. Through biblical teaching, fellowship, collective prayer, and opportunities for serving others, we are not just equipped but uplifted for righteous living in the company of supportive friends.

Additionally, involvement in small group fellowships and Bible studies fosters a deeper understanding of God's principles and a supportive community of worshipers.  Together in worship, our hearts are continually drawn closer to God, with the beauty of Jesus shining out.

Photo Credit: ©GettyImages/Lilly Roadstones

The Way to Walk in God's Will and Favor

To sum up worship, I love how William Barclay, pastor and theologian, describes it:

“The true, the genuine worship is when man, through his spirit, attains to friendship and intimacy with God. True and genuine worship is not to come to a certain place; it is not to go through a certain ritual or liturgy; it is not even to bring certain gifts. True worship is when the spirit, the immortal and invisible part of man, speaks to and meets with God, who is immortal and invisible.”

Worship secures our gaze upon God’s worth. 

Drawing inspiration from the book of Revelation, we glimpse the grandeur of heavenly worshippers, uncountable multitudes, every creature, from angels to mankind, unites in declaring the worthiness of God and the Lamb (Revelation 5:13), underscoring the everlasting nature of worship. When we worship, we join the heavenly throngs and, together in the eternal symphony, praise the One enthroned.

Adoration from the heart, continuous communion, serving the Lord, and doing our best to live righteously, download God’s immeasurable love and generous favor: 

“Surely, LORD, you bless the righteous; you surround them with your favor as with a shield. ' - Psalm 5:12

S.B. Ferguson said it well, “Where God is at the center of things, worship inevitably follows. Where there is no spirit of worship, there God has been dethroned and displaced.”

This article originally appeared on Christianity.com. For more faith-building resources, visit Christianity.com. Christianity.com

SWN authorJudy McEachran loves to worship the Author of life and love. She is an ordained pastor and gifted musician who writes and speaks to encourage believers. She pastored churches in the Midwest and after retirement moved to Arizona. She is humbled not only by the gracious love of God but by her devoted husband, two sons, and ten grandchildren. You can visit her website at God Secrets that Impart Life. Find her music on YouTube. Judy’s natural musical giftings invite worshippers into the presence of the Lord.

Originally published Tuesday, 04 June 2024.