Tag Archives: worship

Thanksgiving as Worship

I have been seeking to learn to worship God in a manner that truly honors God as God.

I have not always felt this strong drive to worship God even though I have been a disciple for over 40 years. I have experienced the goodness of God in my life.  I have said some deeply emotional prayers, as well as my share of rote or canned prayers. At times I have viewed prayer as a way to get what I want. I have prayed prayers from true faith, and at times I have merely mouthed words.  In my quest for true deeper worship I am not talking about prayers like that. I am talking about learning to talk to God in a way that honors Him as God.

As I study the Word of God and see who He is through the character, life and sacrifice of Jesus, I am moved to worship Him. Another factor that moves me to worship God is seeing my sins, especially those things that are deep in my heart. Examples of deeper heart issues include doing the right things for the wrong reasons; doing good things because they are expected; resenting using my time and resources for others but doing it anyway; not being totally honest about my feelings; judging others, and the like.

The more that these things are revealed to me, the greater my appreciation for the sacrifice of Jesus becomes, and the more intense my desire to worship Him. The deeper I see inside my soul the more drawn I am to honor Him.

The Heart’s Stance in Worship
In my quest to worship God I found that giving thanks to God is a major facet of worshiping Him, but to truly thank God requires a heart stance and understanding about our “selves” and God.

Romans 1: 20-21 reveals a truth about man’s relationship to God: “ For since the creation of the world God’s invisible qualities—his eternal power and divine nature—have been clearly seen, being understood from what has been made, so that people are without excuse.  For although they knew God, they neither glorified him as God nor gave thanks to him, but their thinking became futile and their foolish hearts were darkened.”

Romans 1:20-21 reveals the heart stance and understanding that we must have before God in order to worship Him.  Simply stated, we have to acknowledge God as the Creator and our “selves” as His creation under Him. It is from this stance that we can honor God and give Him thanks. When we refuse to glorify God as God and do not give Him thanks we become more and more darkened in our thinking and unable to understand spiritual truths.

Honoring Self Hinders Honoring God
In the gospels we see religious leaders who surely should know and worship God. Although these men practice religion, they do not really honor God. In John 5:43-44, Jesus infers it is because they seek their own glory: “For I have come to you in my Father’s name, and you have rejected me. Yet if others come in their own name, you gladly welcome them. No wonder you can’t believe! For you gladly honor each other, but you don’t care about the honor that comes from the one who alone is God.”

They do not honor God because they are honoring themselves among men. Seeking our own honor hinders our ability to honor God, and it hinders our ability to believe. Therefore, as a “worshiper” of God, I need to ask myself some hard questions: Who do I really seek to honor, God or myself? What are the subtle ways that I honor myself over God?

Thanksgiving and Worship
In Psalm 50:23, the psalmist reveals that thanking God is like offering a sacrifice that honors God, “He who offers a sacrifice of thanksgiving honors Me; and to him who orders his way aright I shall show the salvation of God.”

Ps. 69:30-31 states that to praise God with thanksgiving is more pleasing to Him than offering a sacrifice, “I will praise the name of God with a song; I will magnify him with thanksgiving. This will please the Lord more than an ox or a bull with horns and hoofs.”

Hebrews 13:15 states that in Jesus we can continually worship God in a way that gives thanks to His name, “Through Him then, let us continually offer up a sacrifice of praise to God, that is, the fruit of lips that give thanks to His name.”

So in this quest I am learning to put God in His place over me by acknowledging in my daily life that He is God, my Creator, and I am His creation under His rule and authority.

Honoring God involves giving Him thanks in praise. I thank Him for who He is and what He does. I thank Him for: His steadfast love and faithfulness, His mercy, His grace to me, His power and help, His wisdom and truth, and so much more. The more I know Him, the more I praise Him with thanksgiving.

“Therefore, since we are receiving an unshakable kingdom, let us be filled with gratitude, and so worship God acceptably with reverence and awe.” Heb.12:28

A Quest to Worship

I am on a quest to learn what it means to “worship” God. I can think back to several “worship” experiences. When I was young, I attended many worship services which consisted of rote and routine practice of words, and actions. It was meaningful to me because of what I believed.

Sometimes I would go to that building when few others were there. I would sit with sunlight streaming through the beautifully painted windows, the scent of candle wax and incense in the air and the sound of bird songs flowing in from outside. It was the quietness of the place that drew me to feeling of communing with God.

Later when I began reading the Bible I found this verse, “Be still, and know that I am God. I will be exalted among the nations; I will be exalted in the earth!” (Ps.46:10)

When I read this I thought of those days sitting quietly communing with God. While the building provided an aura of communing with God it was the stillness and quietness that that allowed me to be calm in my soul and commune with God.  I am thinking that was the beginning of being drawn into knowing God.

Cease the Strivings of Self
To worship God, first requires a stilling of the heart. Various translations of Ps. 46:10 use the expression “cease striving” instead of still. To begin worshiping God I need to calm, still my heart and mind and cease striving with all the distractions of the world, and the inner turmoil. Above all, I have to cease striving to be first and foremost in my life. In other words I need to stop worshiping myself. Stop seeking honor, recognition, credit and approval for myself and give that first place and honor to God. (Wow, wouldn’t that make all our relationships go better).

Isn’t that what Ps. 46:10 says, “Be still, cease striving” to be at the top of the recognition consciousness, and know God.  Looking further in that verse, we see that exalting God above all is involved in being still and knowing Him.

God is God
In Ps. 95 there is a call to worship God, “Come, let us worship and bow down, let us kneel before the Lord our Maker. For He is our God and we are the people of His pasture…” Ps. 95:6-7.  “Bowing down and kneeling before the Lord our Maker” is exalting God. It is honoring Him because it is an attitude of the heart and a mindset that says, “Yes, God, You are God I am not. You are my Creator. You are to be honored above all.”  It is acknowledging His supremacy. We are the people who belong to Him, under His care, under His reign.

I have been an independent spirited person and at times I don’t like the idea of being “under someone’s reign or rule.” That is that part of me that is god in my own life. Yet I like the thought of being one of the “people of His pasture” and being comforted that the God who created the universe takes care of me.

God is the Ultimate Value
In Ps. 96:8, another call to worship, the psalmist says, “Ascribe to the Lord the glory due His name…”  Ascribe means to give, to acknowledge, and to declare. We must acknowledge that God is God, and assign to Him that position in our life.

 “Glory” in this sense means weight, heaviness or value. In other words worshiping God is giving to Him the ultimate value in our life.  I can intellectually agree with this, and even have an emotional connection to this, but do I really live my life as though God was the most valuable being, the most valuable relationship in my life?

“And so, dear brothers and sisters, I plead with you to give your bodies to God because of all he has done for you. Let them be a living and holy sacrifice–the kind he will find acceptable.
This is truly the way to worship him.”
Romans 12:1(NLT)

A Language for Prayer

Language to Pray
Sometimes in my communication with God I wonder what language could I possibly speak that would communicate effectively my thoughts and my heart? Words from an old hymn express this thought well, “What language can I borrow to thank Thee, Dearest Friend?”

Recently on a quest to learn how to praise God, I read through the book of Psalms and looked at the language of praise and of prayer.  I came away with an amazing new understanding of God just by studying the expressions used to describe God in the Psalms. Here are several examples of these expressions, there are many more.
Ps. 111:3 – the God of splendid and majestic works (NASB)
Ps. 104:1 – God who is clothed in majesty
Ps. 29:4– the God of powerful and majestic voice
Ps. 24:10 The Lord Almighty— he is the King of glory.
Ps. 68:8 – God, the One of Sinai

Thinking about these names and descriptions of God found in the psalms gave me a greater awareness of  “Who” I am talking to in prayer. This transformed my reverence for God. How can one not be reverent when thinking of God as presented in Ps. 68:8 “God, the One of Sinai.” When praying to God and thinking of Him as the same God who appeared to Moses and the people on Mt. Sinai in thunder, lighting, smoke, fire and quaking earth, (Ex. 19:16-19), I gained a greater sense of awe. This is the same God who hears my prayers. I can come before the throne of this God through the grace of Jesus.

I found these expressions and descriptions affecting my attitude towards God and my actual words in communicating to God. It made me more aware that I am actually communicating to the God who created the universe.  Speaking to God as the King of Glory; the God who sits enthroned above the earth; my refuge and high tower, or my shield and protector makes my communication with God more real. It helps me to more deeply appreciate prayer not just as a spiritual exercise, but as it really is a “relationship” with “God.”.

Use the inspired Word of God to help you express your heart to God and to develop greater intimacy with God. (More of this topic will be presented in the future on the Digging Deeper page of this site).