We can use the word worship very loosely but sometimes it is helpful to look at what the Bible says worship is. Is the worship time in church the time when we express our praises to God the main thing about worship? I believe that the Scriptural teaching is a lot bigger than this.
Worship should be the expression of our love for God in all that we do, the greatest commandment is
Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength. (Deuteronomy 6:5)
When we think of this as being the central text of the subject of worship it makes sense of Paul’s teaching in Romans 12
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. (Romans 12:1)
These verses taken together make us realize that worship is a lifestyle that is God centered, not just time when we are singing the praises of God or seeking him in prayer. The scriptural concept of worship is much bigger than we normally think. Of course this does not invalidate our concerns for private and public times of worship, on the contrary,if we live a life of worship, we will seek for channels to express that worship in words as well as deeds. Paul links daily life and praising god together in Ephesians 5
15 Be very careful, then, how you live —not as unwise but as wise, 16 making the most of every opportunity, because the days are evil. 17 Therefore do not be foolish, but understand what the Lord’s will is. 18 Do not get drunk on wine, which leads to debauchery. Instead, be filled with the Spirit, 19 speaking to one another with psalms, hymns, and songs from the Spirit. Sing and make music from your heart to the Lord, 20 always giving thanks to God the Father for everything, in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ.
Paul very naturally links our daily lives to being filled with the Holy Spirit and praising God. sometimes we separate these things and have compartmentalized our lives. This leads to us making a distinction between the sacred and the secular which the Bible never makes. We need to live our whole lives before the face of God.
Having made these comments I do want to look at some guidelines for our corporate worship.
True Worship is God Centered: When we gather to worship have we come to express our love for God or have we come seeking something for myself? This is a vital question because in true worship God must be central. I have been in services where God has been sincerely worshiped some of these have been of charismatic patterns some have been traditional but God is not concerned mainly about the format of the worship, he is concerned about the state of hearts.
If worship is God centered we will want to see everything done for his glory and our worship leaders will point us to the Lord. When we praise our God we praise him for who is and for what he has done for us. The reason that songs like And Can It Be, and Amazing Grace, have lasted so long is that they give God the praise due for his gift of salvation.
True worship is Spirit lead: We can not worship the Lord rightly unless we are filled with the Holy Spirit. This means being open to the Holy Spirit’s leading at all times. It also means that we can not have a format for worship that is correct for every occasion, there will times of exuberant praise and other times when the worship is quieter and more subdued. The Holy Spirit should be the one who leads us in all aspects of our worship. When we visit other churches the worship pattern may be different than we are used to, this does not mean that one pattern is inferior to the other but rather that our God leads individual congregations to express their praise in a way that is unique to them. the diversity of the church can be a great blessing to us. The Lord has blessed each congregation with gifted people to serve him in leading in worship and in playing musical instruments, each church should seek to use these gifts in the unique way they were intended for. This is why it is dangerous to slavishly follow somebody other than the Lord, we should glory in the diversity that God has given us.
As the Spirit leads us, he will lead us into those things which will glorify God in our particular context. We should be open to the Lord at all times because he is a good and gracious God. Worship will be the overflow of our love relationship with God. As we see that God is on the throne governing everything he has created and yet caring for each of us,we will have much reason to praise him.
Therefore let us live lives that are lives of worship,responding to the grace of God in Christ Jesus and then we will have much to praise him for.