What is worship and why is it so important? Biblically speaking, worship is the way in which we express love, honor, and glory to God. There are many different ways to worship God. We can worship Him privately and publically. We can worship Him in quietness or with shouts of joy. We can worship Him with prayer or with song. Even the Bible gives us a variety of methods for worship of God. But why is worship of God so important? Jesus answered that question by emphasizing the greatest commandment. One place we find it is in Matthew 22. Jesus replied: “‘Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.’ This is the first and greatest commandment.” (Matthew 22:37-38 NIV) So the reason worship of God is so important is because Jesus emphasized loving God as the greatest command. Worship of God is our most important purpose as individual Christians and as a church.
And what is the purpose of worship? The purpose of worship is not to worship the personality of the pastor or music leader; it is not to worship a style of music; and it is not to worship tradition or even a specific song. The purpose of worship is to worship God and God alone. The purpose of worship is to express love, honor, and glory to God.
As a pastor, I take seriously my responsibility to worship God privately and publically. I also believe that worship of God is to be orderly as 1 Corinthians 14 instructs. While teaching about worship, Paul said, “Everything should be done in a fitting and orderly way.” (1 Corinthians 14:40 NIV) So what should the order of my worship be? Is there a biblical pattern or order? When we read through the Psalms, we can find patterns of worship in King David’s song lyrics.
One that I have used over the years is Psalm 95:1-7. The pattern in this psalm is first a Call to Worship God. It begins with, “Come, let us sing for joy to the LORD; let us shout aloud to the Rock of our salvation.” (Psalm 95:1 NIV) Most of the time, we need someone to call us to worship. We need someone to draw our attention and focus to God. Even in my daily private quiet time, I begin by reading scriptures of God, Jesus, or the Holy Spirit calling me to pray and worship.
Next in the pattern of this psalm is Praise to God. David says, “For the LORD is the great God, the great King above all gods.” (Psalm 95:3 NIV) So after being called to worship God, we are to praise Him for who He is or what He has done.
The third part in the pattern of this psalm is Intimacy with God. David says, “Come, let us bow down in worship, let us kneel before the LORD our Maker.” (Psalm 95:6 NIV) Here we can see a change in posture or attitude. We move from praising God to bowing before Him. So there is shouting in praise and there is quiet intimacy before God. Both patterns or methods of worship should be used.
Finally, there is a Response to God in the pattern of this psalm. David says, “For he is our God and we are the people of his pasture, the flock under his care.” (Psalm 95:7 NIV) As we worship God, there is to be a response to God for all that we are hearing from Him and learning from Him. The response may be a confession of sin, a new revelation to praise God for, or a new commitment in obedience.
This pattern of worship in Psalm 95 has worked in my planning and participation of worship for years. It doesn’t matter what style of music we use; this pattern fits all styles.
I encourage you in your private and public worship of God to make sure you have a biblical pattern to follow. Make sure that you understand the purpose of worship and why worship is so important.