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“All the earth will worship You, and will sing praises to You; they will sing praises to Your name.” Selah. Psalm 66:4 NASB
I had always used the words praise and worship together, almost synonymously. I really didn’t even think about it. It became a habitual way to refer to how our church services begin. I was also familiar with how praise is a component of prayer as well. But I had really never thought about how praise and worship are different and distinct from one another…until one day in prayer.
I felt the nudge to go down a bunny trail to explore the two concepts a little more deeply. I started by reading Psalm 148. What a powerful psalm of praise! It calls for every living breathing thing, and each and every part of God’s creation to all sing in praise! From the sky to the sea, from the trees to the earth itself, from animals on earth to creatures of the deep. Nothing is missed in this declaration of praise. It is magnificent.
So praise is the offering of homage in word or song. It glorifies, exalts and honors God.
Bear with me as I take you down the bunny trail with me.
Glorify is to treat something as being more splendid and excellent. Glory, the root word of glorify, is resplendent beauty or magnificence. It exceeds any other. None compares.
To exalt is to elevate in speech or writing in praise in the honor of another. Honor is to hold in high respect. To revere. Revere is to regard with respect tinged with awe; venerate. And awe is an overwhelming feeling of reverence, admiration, and fear produced by that which is grand, sublime, or extremely powerful.
As I ventured down this trail, I began to feel the weight of the words. Praising God is nothing to take lightly. It is an expression of all these attributes toward Him. It is our means of communicating, in word or song, we acknowledge how truly awesome He is. Awesome in every way possible. It is the recognition of His position in the universe. Not just my little miniscule life. The BIG universe. Larger than science understands. Larger than our minds, hearts or souls can fathom. Yet small enough to be deposited inside each one of us to keep us connected to His power source.
So if these words or song equal praise and praise is only a component of worship, what is worship? Following the bunny trail, I began to realize that worship is so much more.
Worship is an attitude of reverence and adoration toward God. We already discovered that reverence is deep respect tinged with awe. Honor is high respect. To adore is to regard with the utmost esteem, love and respect.
When I began to ponder “utmost esteem, love and respect” it became clear to me that this attitude is also accompanied by a lifestyle. If we truly hold God this way in our heart, then obedience is there too. And faith! When we listen to the Holy Spirit and step out in faith, it is an act of worship. Peter stepping out of the boat was an act of worship. He had faith and acted in obedience out of an attitude of utmost esteem, love and respect for Christ. This high regard filled Peter with enough trust to attempt the impossible. It bridged the gap from the natural to the supernatural and the miraculous.
Father, I repent for trying to “shrink” You into a relatable size to wrap my head around. Help me to embrace everything that You are in worshipful awe. Help me to walk in worship of You each and every day.
Psalm 148, Matthew 2:1-2, Luke 2:25-33, John 4:22-24