Wondering About Worship

I came to a startling conclusion today: I have no idea what it means to worship God.

So I did what any rational person in my situation would do.

I Googled it.

I came across all kinds of images of people raising their hands, singing praises to the Most High.  I thought, “I’ve never raised my hands.  I’ve never sung His praises.”worship1I saw pictures of people deep in prayer.  I thought, “The only time I’ve ever engaged God deeply in prayer is when I want something.”

worship-prayer
I saw people smiling and laughing and kneeling and shouting–publicly–and I tried to imagine myself in their place.

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I’ll admit it.  Even the thought of it made me a little embarrassed.

And now I’m stuck wondering why.

Is it because Mormon services are so reserved–full of dirge-like organ music and weeping women?

Is it because our view of God is smaller than the rest of the Christian world–and therefore, somehow, there’s less to be inspired by?

Is it because we’re taught that worship is a quiet, personal experience–not something to be expressed publicly?

Or heck.  Is it just me?

And so I wonder: what does it mean to worship God anyway?  My gut tells me it has something to do with awe…reverence…joy…delight.  I probably shouldn’t admit this out loud, but I’m not sure I’ve ever really felt that.  As a result, I’m guessing there’s something profound missing from my experience of the Divine.

I’d be interested to know: what do you think it means to worship God?

About Katie L

A doubter by nature, a believer by grace.

Posted on April 29, 2009, in Mormonism, Personal, Thoughts on God and tagged , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 33 Comments.

  1. Hmm. This is a hard topic for me to talk about, but I’ll try.

    I used to be so into worshiping God. What is worship? I suppose in one sense, it’s spending time thanking and praising God for who He is and what He’s done for you, usually done through music. When I first became a Christian, I was so nervous about the things I saw other Christians doing during worship: raising hands or sometimes getting down on their knees or approaching the altar to kneel and pray.

    When I started attending Sumner Presbyterian Church when I was 16, that changed. I think part of it was that I felt comfortable at a church for the first time, and I didn’t worry about what people might think of me raising my hands or doing anything else that might normally look stupid. I loved my church and I loved God so completely, I passionately believed God had saved me from such a meaningless life and given me power and meaning and purpose, and I loved to express that to Him. Sometimes that meant expressing that on my knees.

    I really fell in love with raising my hands for worship. I think in addition to offering ourselves to God during worship, God can also speak to us, and the open hands symbolize that. “God, whatever I have, take it, and I’ll take whatever You give, whether it falls from Your hands or it falls from Your lips.” That’s what hands raised to heaven mean to me, and I think it’s beautiful for both worship and prayer.

    I don’t do a lot of these things anymore, and it’s so hard to explain why. Something about my relationship with God changed when my mother died last year; something inside of me broke and I’ve been learning to live without it instead of trying to fix it. I wouldn’t say that I’m angry at God; anger has always felt like far too vulgar a way to describe how I feel. It’s more like God has been trying to talk to me, and I’ve been saying, “We already know how this conversation is going to end, so what’s the point in having it?” We already know God is great and good and perfect and all-knowing and all-powerful. What’s the point in expressing it?

    I miss the days when I loved to express my love for God. I hope they come back, and I think that they will. I just haven’t figured out how to be whole again.

  2. When I was on a playdate with an evangelical friend, one of my kids randomly asked me what it meant to worship and I have to admit I was stymied. My friend answered for me and I really liked her answer. Too bad I can’t remember what it was . . .

    Um, for me I think the most worshipful gesture is in the sacrament. When I take Christ’s body and blood into my own, especially when I do it in the right spirit, it is a very worshipful act.

    I also think that for Mormons the idea of worship is closely tied to the idea of consecration. Because we are a covenant people and we believe those covenants commit us to helping God’s with his work on earth I think the main way we worship is in serving other people. You know, when I rock my kids to sleep that feels worshipful. When we have family prayer, that feels like worship. When I do my visiting teaching or service for a neighbor, that feels like worship.

    So, unfortunately, we don’t have a lot of shout-outs and hands raises–although I have been known to do that in a small way for myself; I also on occasion let out an emotional (yet quiet) amen. I think that also has to do with the personal nature of Heavenly Father. Since we believe in a very personal God and an intimate, revelation filled relationship with Him I think we have to be quiet at our meeting so as to avoid distracting others from the revelation they may be receiving. At least that’s what I tell my kids!

    I definitely don’t think it’s because our conception of God is smaller or less. If anything I think it’s because He is so much more for us.

    Oh, the hymns are usually very worshipful for me. While I try not to distract, I do think about the way I sing the songs and try to phrase them individually so that they reflect my feelings for Heavenly Father and Jesus and their restored gospel.

    Does that help at all?

  3. Another thought just occurred to me: I think we don’t worship in more ostentatious ways because we want to be sure that what we are doing is for the Lord and not for the approval of those around us. I mean, think about testimony meetings as an example. There is a difference between the testimonies that truly testify and those that are preachy or soapbox-y or thank-amonies or travelogues. Maybe we don’t stand up and shout out because God already knows our heart and minds and a more verbal/emotional outburst wouldn’t necessarily fuel our relationship with Him. It might be more for those around us.

  4. Bridget–I find I am drawn to your comment and I want to comment on it but I don’t know what the right words would be. You honesty is beautiful and I admire you for keeping God in your heart even though it is difficult for you. Really amazing.

  5. We don’t usually worship to draw attention to ourselves. It is not for show. The best way to worship is to live how Christ taught. ‘If you love me, keep my commandments’. I would say it is more how we live day-to-day and what our attitude is that shows how we really worship.

    Oh, and we do raise our hands in worship in a special place if you will remember.

  6. Grouping together to tell each other that God is Really Really Big and Really Really Good is something Mormons absolutely do.

    But I wonder if we do it the way we do it, with milquetoast Sacrament Meetings and an expectation of quiet meditation followed by quiet but real acts of service and devotion *to each other*, never making a big public fuss about it, isn’t a way of saying that God is So Incomprehensibly Huge and So Incomprehensibly Good that no amount of public cheering will do the trick.

    It’s almost as if we’re challenging ourselves, sometimes, not to be distracted by public noise, to try and detect the still, small voice Elijah was talking about. He isn’t in the fire, or the earthquake, or the storm. Or, that we want that quiet conviction to be expressed as simple action (a very American kind of puritanism) rather than “just words”.

    Alternatively: Our traditions of a strong hierarchical organization result in that energy being channelled through institutions like the Mormon Tabernacle Choir, for the joyful-noise-making part of worship.

  7. Hi guys. I’m sorry it’s taken me so long to respond. Work has been busy the past couple of days.

    I think I understand what you guys are saying about how our worship is designed not to call attention to ourselves, and how we experience God in quieter, subtler moments of self-reflection and in the performance of small acts of kindness.

    And I wholeheartedly agree that God is found in those places–perhaps he is even primarily found there.

    But I think what I’m missing is the sense of joy and awe I see in others. I mean, I can’t remember the last time I went to church and heard someone just praising God’s goodness.

    That’s why I’ve wondered it part of it has to do with our view of God. Maybe that our view of Him is “smaller” was a bad way to phrase it–but as I’ve been studying mainstream Christianity’s view of God and comparing it to ours, one thing that sticks out to me is how much more comprehensible our God is. Because we believe that He’s ontologically the same as us, (albeit at an infinitely higher level of progression), I can, in some small measure, imagine Him. Like, I can picture what God might look like, for example.

    On the other hand, they teach that He is altogether different than we are. Therefore, I get the sense that there is a greater feeling of majesty and mystery surrounding Him.

    I’m just wondering if some of that doesn’t translate into more reserved forms of worship–because we’re not quite as amazed when we think about God. I’m not saying we’re NOT amazed, please don’t get me wrong, but I do wonder if we’re AS amazed.

  8. I really agree with some of the other comments about worship being a way of life. I think everything we do should be an act of worship. From seemingly insignificant things like household chores to self-sacrificing endeavors for others. I can feel very emotionally drawn into God’s presence during a stirring song service, but I am also drawn to worship during the giving of God’s Word or when I hear that an unbeliever has come to faith in Christ. I love to worship by lying flat on my face or kneeling when I’m alone with God. I think times of intense sadness or loss can inspire a deep, surrendered, tearful worship that involves a heart of absolute dependence. I love the story of David when, right after his child died (because of his sin with Bathsheba), he got up and entered the house of the Lord and worshiped (2 Sam. 12:20). I long to have a heart like David. I often have to pour out the “abundance of my complaint or grief,” like Hannah, (I Sam. 1:16) before I can rise up and worship. I guess I’m thinking of loss because of what Jack shared.

    Jack, I cannot imagine the intense loss you must be experiencing. I know the Lord will bring you through this and I pray that you may soon be able to worship Him freely once more. It’s neat to hear about your memories of awesome worship times. I can totally relate. I trust and believe the Lord will bring you through this pain with an even deeper heart of worship.

  9. Katie, I think we were posting at the same time! I hit enter and then I saw your comment.

    PS – I love the pics. They inspire a heart of worship in me.

  10. I have the luxury of switching between the “traditional” services, which I like, and our contemporary services, which I also really like. The contemporary service I attend right now is pretty small, and the pastors always include an interactive part of the service so that we have to do more than “pass the peace” to our neighbors. And I love taking communion. That simple ritual centers me each week. Oh, and I love Welch’s grape juice.

    The most recent feel-it-tingle-in-my-toes worship experience I had was actually the Good Friday worship at my church this year. It was my first time at one of those, and the sheer emotional weight of it was stunning. We took time to do a silent progression through the Stations of the Cross, and I truly felt God embrace me as I was contemplating and thanking Him for the sacrifice of His Son.

    But my all-time, greatest, most favorite worship experience is definitely CHURCH CAMP. I used to go to both Camp Sawtooth in Idaho and Macgruder on the Oregon coast, and I felt God’s presence there as strongly as I’ve ever felt it. There’s something about singing praise along with a couple of guitars by a campfire in the middle of the mountains that simply cannot be matched. And did I mention that there is a natural cross on the mountain peak above the camp? It’s a tree that was hit by lightning, and I still think it was just plain cool to see that reminder of God’s love every morning when I wandered out of those freezing cold cabins.

    So, even for a stodgy old protestant, it’s still possible to find those pure and raw moments to just give it up :-).

  11. Jessica, I think there’s something about periods of suffering that lends itself to special communion with God that is noticeably distinct–at least, that has been my experience.

    Whitney, that switching thing sounds cool. I’m jealous. 🙂

    Come to think of it, I guess I had some moving worship/spiritual experiences at Young Women girl’s camp growing up. I seem to remember some nice testimony meetings around the fire.

    Speaking of camps–and I’m totally not saying your stodgy old protestant church camp was like this because I’m sure it wasn’t–but did you see Jesus Camp? That movie freaked me out.

  12. I saw Jesus Camp. And it freaked me out too.

  13. Holy crap, I haven’t seen that yet, but NO. We were not like that.

    I think the freakiest thing I ever saw at camp was when a kid used purple-colored sunscreen when we were playing in the Boise River. All the counselors started yelling because we thought he had hypothermia.

  14. I just went to find a Jesus Camp clip from YouTube to link to, but I got so freaked out I didn’t dare post it.

    As I’ve mentioned here already, I think I would like to feel some portion of the kind of expressive love and joy and adoration directed towards God that I see in other faiths–and would even be open to trying it out maybe some day–but it could never ever be like what they do in that movie, with kids speaking in tongues all at once and having seizures and stuff. Yikes. The stuff they have those kids doing is SCARY, man.

  15. I think that a lot of worship (cultic worship, that is, not just doing acts of service, etc.) is cultural. Our staid Mormon worship services have more to do with the puritan, New England, congregationalist roots (as well as European roots) of the early Church than it does with a) our greater understanding of the spirit or b) the “smallness” of our conception of God. If Joseph Smith had been born to a small family in South Carolina, perhaps our sacrament meetings would look a little different?

  16. We are taught NOT to worship really anything BUT God, so when it comes to our “worshiping skills” (especially the way we worship, all reserved and reverently), that would be my most simple idea as to why someone might feel like they aren’t up to par in the Worship and Praise field of things.

    How can you be good at something you don’t practice at?

    The other things people “worship” (i.e. Music, Movies, Books, Food) are much easier to worship because we have A LOT of good practice at loving and adoring and appreciating those physical tangible things. It is sometimes difficult to feel sincere joy and happiness in the worship of intangible things like God. I can’t physically touch or see or talk to God face to face, so worshiping becomes an unnatural act in comparison to the things we are use to “worshiping” (movies, music, people)

    Mormons probably think more about; “What is God thinking, and what’s He going to do next?” rather than what THEIR thoughts are on God, and how they love him. Trying to read the mind of God is a bad way to worship.

    … I haven’t read any of the previous comments here, so if I’m repeating what has already been said then I apologize.

  17. Jesus Camp does for evangelicals what The God Makers does for Mormons. ‘Nuff said.

    Thank you Katie, Jessica and Laura for the kind words about my comment. I wasn’t trying to draw attention to my grief, I just wanted to make it clear that currently I feel some level of disconnect in the way I worship.

    Two more things about worship:

    1) I don’t think Protestant worship is about showing off. Remember David’s dancing for the Lord? Sometimes very public, very emotional expressions of joy and gratitude toward God are appropriate.

    2) Just because I prefer my system of worship doesn’t mean that I think the LDS system is bad in itself. I’ve come to understand that LDS expressions of worship hold the same function in the lives of Mormons as my worship does for me, even if I personally just don’t “feel it” when I visit LDS services. I think it’s a given that different worship expressions seem to mean different things for different people and cultures.

    The one flaw that I do see in the LDS system is that it’s pretty much universally the same for all wards. In the Protestant system, if you hate the way worship is done at one church, you can find a church that does it differently. To quote what a friend of mine, rhinomelon, said on the Mormon Apologetics forum last year (entire thread here):

    I would also say that the LDS church fails at living up to Paul’s example in this passage [1 Cor. 9:19-23], even when it is about actions and not teachings. The LDS church is rather monochromatic in terms of church culture and expression, which skips over many people and groups. If this passage were to be rewritten by an LDS apostle today, it might read closer to, “To the Jews I became as a conservative American white pietist, that I might convince them to become conservative white American pietists like me; to the Africans, I became as a conservative American white pietist, that I might convince them to become like me,” etc.

    In short, the LDS church doesn’t adapt much of anything to other cultures and people, expecting them to change things that don’t really need to be changed in order to come to the LDS church. One can adapt to various cultures and groups without changing the teachings. Paul did it, as have Christians throughout history. The LDS church does not.

    It’s one of the few areas where I can definitively and confidently say, evangelicals do cultural assimilation with worship very, very well. Mormonism does not, and I sincerely hope that improves in the future.

  18. Todd, good point about how we often worship media, sports heroes, wealth, and STUFF instead of God–because, frankly, you’re right: we do have more practice at it. 🙂

    Jack, point well-taken about Jesus Camp.

    I completely agree that Mormonism has some serious problems when it comes to cultural sensitivity. A big part of it, I believe, is because the primary responsibility for growing the church in foreign countries rests on the shoulders of ethnocentric 19- and 20-year old boys from Provo. Most 19 and 20 year olds don’t have the maturity to recognize which aspects of Mormonism are purely cultural, and which get to the heart of the gospel. Heck, most people don’t have that capacity, simply because your culture plays such an integral role in how you experience the world around you, it is almost impossible to truly separate it.

  19. Oh, I should add: just because it’s difficult doesn’t mean we shouldn’t do our very best to accommodate cultural differences in worship styles. We don’t need to try to turn every Mormon convert into a white American, and the idea that we needed to is one of the things that bugged me most about my mission. (There I go, bagging on my mission again.) 😛

  20. Bridget, thanks so much for your comments. I really enjoyed them. Katie, now you’ve got me thinking about worship. Now that my tornado refuses to sit still I find myself wandering halls and not get much at all out of church. When I look back at spiritual experiences most have involved music. Not just the Mo Tab, but often lots of gospel choirs. There is something about artists coming together because of a love of the Lord. I wish there was a little more of that in our church.

    I also think it’s important to remember that spiritual and emotional responses can often be mistaken for one another. A lot my experiences as a youth, now that I look back, were pretty emotionally/spiritually manipulative. But that’s probably another topic.

  21. Trine, I also really wish there were more…I don’t know…energy, perhaps? in the music at church. There are exceptions to every rule, I know, but usually everything is just so “safe.” Sometimes I want someone to just lay it out on the line, like we all do when we turn our lives over to God, you know? And it’s not just in church–go check out the music section at Deseret Book and I’ll pay you $25 if you manage to stay awake after even a few minutes.

    (Heh. That reminds me of the time I dumped a boyfriend because he bought me an EFY CD for my birthday. I was like, “Dude. An EFY CD? You gotta be kidding me.”)

    You’re right about the emotional vs. spiritual experiences, too. They can be very difficult to differentiate. I’m not sure I’ve figured that one out. I think sometimes we tell ourselves what we want to hear, which makes it tough to tell when it’s God’s Spirit moving in us or if we’re just making it up. At least, it’s hard for me anyway…

  22. Thomas Parkin

    Katie,

    As an aside, Sec 93 says that it is given so that we can know _what_ we worship, as well as _how_ we are to worship.

    I personally need as much quiet as possible – being aware that it isn’t possible that all the little humans there are going to be quiet. I think, if anything, we don’t need more overt “energy” in our worship as a greater respect for the meditative states that _allow_ for personal revelation through the Holy Spirit. It seems to me there are plenty of chances in life to be energetic and exuberant, and that Sacrament Meeting probably isn’t one of them. I think that the constant reminders that the voice of the Spirit is quiet and mild, “still and small”, are apt.

    Best to you. ~

  23. I honestly don’t think that worship per se is really a significant part of Mormon religious practice. I don’t buy the lines about not wanting to attract attention, not even a little bit. Mormons are good at being reverent, sure, but the primary focus in Mormon religion is on feeling the spirit, which is the opposite of worship in a way. Worship is pouring out to God, offering praise and adoration to a deity, it is an act of giving. “Feeling the Spirit” is about receiving. It’s the other side of the two-way street and it is what Mormons are interested. This is not to say that Mormons offer nothing to God, or that Mormons are somehow spiritually selfish. It’s jsut that the emphasis, the important thing for Mormons is not to give to God but to receive from God. Mormons go to Church to perform ordinances and to feel the spirit, to get something from God.

    Worship is just not really something that Mormons do.

  24. Michelle Johnson

    I know this is an old post, but I just wanted to put in some thoughts.

    Worship defined by Webster would be: “… 2: Reverence offered to a divine being or supernatural power; also: an act of expressing such reverence.”

    I am inclined to agree. Worship is an act, a verb, specifically meant for someone/something you respect or revere. Notice though it is not strictly raising hands or singing, though this is a great way of showing respect for our Lord! But you can worship GOD in the simple things you do, like at your work place. If you work to the best of your ability where ever you work, because you want to show off and glorify GOD, then that is an act of worship. This is why many people have different views on how someone should worship. GOD made each one of us separately, and so we show our respect to Him in many ways. For some, it is a quite humbleness, which can come across as inexpressive or conservative, while others have to shout or dance to truly show their respect for GOD. I’ve been blessed to experience both sides of the coin and, since the bible has no specific way to worship Him correctly; only that we need to, I have found no problem with either way of worship.

    The problem lies when the worship isn’t about GOD or Christ anymore. Many people worship many things, for example lets take Joe, who has thrust himself into a 24-7 job and does all he can to become a millionaire. Why? because he expensive things. Those things are his idol, and all his actions are set to earn more money to get more nice things. In this way, Joe is worshiping stuff. Now stuff and expensive things are not bad in and of themselves, but because they come before GOD in Joes life, Joe has turned them into a sin. The second commandment states: “You shall have no other gods before Me.”

    In essence, worship is doing everything you do, and doing it for GOD. He wants you to worship Him, because he wants us to spend our glory and time and respect and reverence for the thing that is going to last us forever. Himself.

    I hope this may have helped some. Now, I’m just a human so this is probably ridden with lots of holes and things, I don’t claim to be a scholar, just a Christian, or translated: “Little Christ”. Be sure to talk to some pastors you really trust (if you haven’t already) and read loads of scripture!! Pray before you do to, ask GOD to show you what he wants to tell you while you read. It helps tones when you just sit and listen to Him.

    Thanks for your time!!

  25. Hi, it’s nice to meet you woman of God. It’s refreshing to hear someone being honest about their feelings about worship. Let me first respond by saying, worship cannot in anyway be taught to a person, it’s an outward expression from and inward experience. Without really experiencing the presence of God, how can you offer up a true worship to someone you can’t see. It takes faith (like anything else) to worship. Worship is not just music, hands lifted, singing, shouting, worship first comes from humbling ourselves in brokeness to a Creator who formed us long before in our mother’s wombs. It’s knowing for real that without the Creator we can do and be nothing at all, that there’s no real life unless it’s lived by Him, for Him and through Him. Worship is an act of living in His righteousness in everything we say, do, think, and act out. It’s part of doing the right thing at all times. We worship Him in spirit and in truth just by knowing first of all what is the truth. In the bible God states that He’s looking for true worshippers, this to me means those whom He called that cannot and will not compromise their calling, their gifts, everything they are in Him for the things of this world. Worship comes only from the heart (H E A R T) where you HEAR, with your spiritual EAR, living the life he called us to live and making it an ART. Look at all of creation, everything He designed was created to worship Him, the trees, birds, animals, even the sky. Worship involves obedience to Him alone, sometimes that’s through other people he has ordained for your life. I could go on but I have to exit. You be encouraged woman of God. God Bless You

  26. Let me first respond by saying, worship cannot in anyway be taught to a person

    That’s total nonsense. You are conflating worship with spiritual experience. The two may go hand-in-hand, but they’re not somehow required to.

    If I pour out a libation to Zeus and sing a Homeric Hymn in his praise, I have worshipped him, the end.

    My worship may have been more or less sincere depending on my intent, but that’s a qualifier, not the definition. Zeus may not be interested in receiving insincere worship, but that doesn’t make it not worship.

    Singing praise to a god is worship. Praying the praise of a god is worship. even asking a god for soemthing is worship in a sense, because you are recognizing the god’s power to grand your petition.

  27. Wow, lot of good, valid comments here. I’m a hybrid product of Charismatic Catholic, Southern Baptist and Pentacostal traditions.

    Everything we as humans do, as unto the Lord, is an act of worship–as many have said above. However, I sense that perhaps you are trying to understand particulars and differing traditions of corporate and/or private displays during prayer?? So, if you will permit me to comment on just that portion of the topic…

    My thoughts are that often how we worship is more cultural (taught as valid or not valid) than personal. Our country mostly being of western traditions are not often “free” with displays of emotion in worship— unless you’re pentacostal these days. Past and much present missionary work is often done with the western way of thinking. It’s not bad, but it’s not always good either, especially if you’re not from a Western culture. (Check out Richard Twiss, a Lakota Sioux Christian at http://www.wiconi.com).

    There are many expressions of affirmed and commanded worship in the Bible, and as such those are all valid. When we cannot worship, it may be that we’re distracted, or don’t want to look foolish in front of others (this is a big one), or we’ve lost our attitude of thankfulness (another biggie) for even the most minute & inconsequential of things (this also includes the things we just take for granted like the sun rising and setting, or a child’s laughter.

    Finding things to be thankful for in corporate or private worship times will help with your outward display. Sometimes it’s just about telling God you Love Him and you need Him. For example: If you feel so overwhelmed with what God has done for you and you need to cry, then cry. If you are so jubilant or overjoyed and your face hurts because you are grinning so hard from ear to ear just thinking about how totally amazing He is and what He’s brought you through, then grin or smile! If you feel you need to reach out to Him for Him to grab your hand, or praise Him as David did, or want Him to hug you (even if you only see it in your mind) then lift up your hands and praise Him and reach out to Him. Do it in faith and do it from the heart. Forget who’s looking and do it for Him and Him alone. Start in private if it’s more comfortable. But do it as unto the Lord and don’t be embarrassed. He’s not embarrassed by it. He loves you just as your parents do, just as your spouse does. And just as you show it to them or your child, show Him in the same manner, even if it starts only in private.

    I find most often that I feel closest to Him in my private time in prayer because I can let go, even if only for 15 iminutes. It’s just me and the Lover of my Soul, my Creator and Master, my Abba Father. But it’s a relationship I have to work on. He already knows everything so it’s pointless to hide anything from Him. I find it liberating because I know I will always be safest in His hands and company. Sometimes, just thinking on these things is all it takes for me to focus, cry, smile and raise my hands in worship. It’s a bit harder when I’m angry, frustrated or sad; I tell him those things too, so I can get them off of my chest, even if He’s the one with whom I’m frustrated or angry.

    On a side note, as a pentacostal I’ve seen some extreme and overboard things that I think are totally inappropriate in corporate times of worship, but I can’t vouch for the person’s heart. I don’t think raising your hands and crying out or praying to the Lord is inappropriate but as Paul said, “to the Jews, I am a Jew, to the Romans I am a Roman, to the Greeks I am a Greek…” We’re dealing with some cultural aspects here. Do what you feel is appropriate, and as the Lord leads you, but neither be afraid to express your love for Him. Sometimes it does also take practice. The only thing you have to fear is fear itself. It’s not always about your comfort zone, but you will eventually find where you feel most at peace and balanced. Trust that the Lord knows your heart on that.

    Don’t know if any of that helps, but I hope in some small way it did. It’s a good topic to think on.

  28. Feeling close to deity ≠ worshipping deity.

  29. Thanks, Candela, for taking the time to write a personal and detailed response! I appreciate what you say about worship and culture, and will perhaps try to start doing some private displays of worship.

    Kullervo, perhaps not, but wouldn’t you agree that feeling close to God is an important part of worship?

  30. Kullervo, perhaps not, but wouldn’t you agree that feeling close to God is an important part of worship?

    Yes and no. Would we worship if we did not (at least sometimes) feel closer to deity because of it? Maybe not. But maybe we would–there can be a lot of motivations to do a thing.

    But do I think feeling close ot deity is a definitional component of worship? Absolutely not. Often you eat because eating is pleasurable and makes you feel satisfied, but if you eat something unpleasurable and unsatisfying, it is still eating.

  31. Check out some songs by Hillsong on youtube. They have a pretty cool worship music ministry…

  32. Worshipping God si
    Ply means to get lost in letting God know how your heart feels.It is being completely honest with him, forgetting about everyone around, and just do whatevr he puts in your heart. Without thinking about what you’re body is actually doing, and just focusing on giving him your full attention an heart assures a deep connection with him. Everything else should not matter. Who cares what men think, if God makes you feel like kneeling, like crying, like shouting, or just simply to talk to him quietly, if it comes from God, if it comes from your heart, you are doing the right thing. Dont let religion misguide you, seek God alone in your room as the word says, and he will let you know things and take you where you have never been

  33. So, I came across this little post when actually searching for pictures; random, right?
    But after reading what you wrote and what people have stated in these comments, i felt compelled to comment as well.
    People often don’t understand worship because, when it comes down to it, most people don’t worship, or perhaps better stated, can’t worship.
    True worship is never going to be about how you feel, otherwise you would only worship when your heart feels like it, and your emotions will always get in the way. Remember, the Bible states that “heart is deceitful above all things.”
    True worship will also never require an action. Putting your hands in the air is the response. Kneeling down is just the response. Clapping and jumping and dancing is nothing more than a response that we as people are often moved to make to express what we truly cannot with words.
    True worship also cannot be something that is expressed through thought. Worship is not reasonable in a sense that your mind cannot grasp it.
    If you want to understand true worship, you must look to the source: God. All things were created by God, through God, and for God. Worship is the reasonable service of a believer, one who has been given a regenerated spirit by God. True worship is the expression with all your being of your inadequacy before a holy and living God.

    “You shall love the Lord, your God, with ALL your heart, ALL your soul, ALL your mind, and ALL your strength.”
    This is Worship

    God Bless

    Anyone who wants, feel free to e-mail me at:
    questiontheabsolute@hotmail.com

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