What Is the Point of Worship?
- Clarence L. Haynes Jr. Contributing Writer
- 2021 10 Aug
When you go to church on a Sunday morning, the typical service will usually begin with praise and worship. Depending on the type of church you go to, the worship experience can be quite different. Some churches are very loud and boisterous in their worship, which can even lead to shouting and dancing. Other churches can be more reserved, leading to a worship experience that feels more reflective and reverent.
To be honest, I enjoy both styles and the truth is the heart you bring to worship is more important than the style anyway. Regardless, people tend to have a particular preference, which I am sure you do too, and there is nothing wrong with that.
I would like you to think about something for a moment. Have you ever stopped to wonder what the purpose of worship is and why do we begin the service doing it? As crazy as it sounds, there are some people who don’t see the need for worship in the service. They believe it is not that important because they just want to get to the preaching of the word. After all, this is what they came for. Why do we have to delay the preaching to sing some songs?
Sadly, I have been to churches where the pastors or leaders in the church for some reason don’t engage in the worship when the service is going on. I wish this weren’t the case, but it is, which brings me back to the question of what the purpose of worship is, and why it is an important part of the service? I am going to share with you four reasons that highlight the purpose of worship in church, and I hope once you understand this, you would never want to miss worship again.
1. Worship Invites the Presence of God
“But thou art holy, O thou that inhabitest the praises of Israel” (Psalm 22:3, KJV).
One of the things that worship does is it helps to usher in or welcome the presence of God. In this verse in Psalm 22, the literal translation is that God sits on the praises of his people. Many times in church you will hear people pray “Lord have your way and do what you want to do in this service.” Well, worship is what sets the stage for that to occur.
There is something that happens when the people of God begin to worship. When you engage in worship, you are telling God that you are desiring to draw near to him. When this happens, not only does God find pleasure in that, but he has promised to draw near to you.
“Come near to God and he will come near to you” (James 4:8).
We are also reminded in Hebrews that God is a rewarder of those who diligently seek him. When you begin to worship, you get God’s attention and you set the stage for him to show up. If you really want God’s presence to show up or you desire to be in God’s presence, worship is the doorway to make that happen.
2. Worship Settles Your Heart
Have you ever walked into church worried or thinking about all the things that are happening in your life outside of church? Maybe you are thinking about what you will cook for dinner. Maybe the kids have gotten on your nerves. Maybe there is an intense family or job situation that has you deeply concerned. For some people, just getting up and getting everyone dressed and out of the house can be a monumental task. By the time they walk into church they are exhausted, and they need a moment to settle.
One of the things worship can do is to settle your heart and your spirit. After all, you came to church to connect with God and worship can give you the opportunity to tune everything else out and put you in a position so that you can connect with God. Without worship, you could sit through a service and never enter in because you never had the opportunity to settle you heart. When this happens, instead of finding that moment to get away and get refreshed, you often leave church the same way you came in.
If you have ever gone to a fine dining establishment, then you know that at some point during the meal, they may bring you out a little bit of sherbet. When they do this, they are not skipping the main course to get to the dessert – what they are simply doing is offering what is called a palate cleanser. What this is designed to do is cleanse your palate from anything that you have previously eaten, so that you can enjoy the next course and taste all the flavors in the food.
This is what worship does.
When you have come in from the outside world, sometimes you are not able to enjoy what God has for you because you have too many things interfering with the taste of it. When you worship, you can release all those things and position yourself so that you can taste and enjoy what God has to offer you.
Photo credit: ©Getty Images/bowie15
3. Worship Can Be the Place God Meets You
I believe every time you go to church there is something God wants to say to you. However, that something does not always come through the preaching of the word. Sometimes it comes through the message in the songs.
There have been plenty of times in my life where the song that was sung was exactly what I needed to hear in that moment. When you miss worship, you might be missing the reason God had you there in the first place. What worship also does is that it aligns your heart with God’s heart. When you are worshipping God, he becomes the focus, and when you are focused on him then your heart can become aligned with his heart. Missing worship can cause you to miss this opportunity.
4. Worship Puts You in Position to Receive the Word of God
The last thing that worship does is it can break up the fallow ground of your heart, so you are ready to receive the word of God. When farmers plant seeds, they don’t just go out and drop the seed. They must work the ground first and till the soil so that when the seed goes into the ground it is going into good soil. This gives the seed the best possible chance of taking root and growing. The same is true of worship. Worship prepares your heart so that it is ready to receive and respond to the word of God that is preached. Without worship, it is possible you can miss what God wants to say and do in your life because you are not ready to receive it. Simply put, your heart is still too hard for the word to have any real impact.
Worship will make you more aware of who God is, but in doing so it makes you more aware of who you are. This can lead to repentance, this can build faith, this can increase joy. All of this is God tilling the soil of your heart so that you are ready to receive the word of God. It is often during the worship that God will position your heart so he can speak to you about things in your life. If you are too distracted or your heart is not ready than you may not be able to hear what God wants you to hear.
I hope I have encouraged and motivated you to want to engage in worship, By the way, this is not just good for the Sunday service, this is also true of your personal time with the Lord. I would encourage you before you pray and before you read your Bible, make time for worship so you can position yourself to hear from God. Finally, when the next service at church comes, don’t miss the worship because if you do, you might miss everything God wants to do in your life that day.
Photo credit: ©Getty Images/freedom007
Clarence L. Haynes Jr. is a speaker, Bible teacher, and co-founder of The Bible Study Club. He is the author of The Pursuit of Purpose which will help you understand how God leads you into his will. He has also just released his new book The Pursuit of Victory: How To Conquer Your Greatest Challenges and Win In Your Christian Life. Do you want to go deeper in your walk with the Lord but can’t seem to overcome the stuff that keeps getting in the way? This book will teach you how to put the pieces together so you can live a victorious Christian life and finally become the man or woman of God that you truly desire to be. To learn more about his ministry please visit clarencehaynes.com.