Grace & Truth Chapel
131 Fardale Avenue ~ Mahwah, New Jersey
Phone 201-327-6226 ~ E-mail

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"True Worship for God" (posted September 1, 2009)

   Give unto the Lord the glory due to His name; worship the Lord in the beauty of holiness.
   - Psalm 29:2

It is a commonly heard idea that listening to a sermon is worship, but in the strictest sense neither listening to a sermon nor intercessory prayer is worship. Thus, three things common in church services should be regarded as distinct: worship, prayer, and listening to the Word of God presented by one whom He has gifted to preach.

In worship, we bring to the Father and to His Son the praise, thanksgiving, and gratitude of our hearts for who He is and what He has done. We seek to give something to Him rather than receive something from Him.

Conversely, in intercessory prayer we go to God for help, spreading before Him our needs or the needs of others. In listening to a sermon, we seek to receive from Him a message of instruction, correction, encouragement, or exhortation. It is true that intercessory prayer and messages from God's Word may lead us to worship; but, strictly speaking, they are not worship.

Some Christians associate collective worship with the Lord's Supper, for in it we have the memorial of His death and the manifestation of His love-- and these prompt us to worship Him. To stimulate worship during the remembrance, there may also be a message given and prayer offered that are intended to call forth gratitude and praise, but in themselves these are not worship.

True worship will prompt us in devotion to Christ and therefore will arouse our interest in all that concerns Him and His work. This in turn moves us to pray and intercede for His interests and inclines our hearts to receive instruction from Him. Thus, true worship leads us to serve Him.

E. C. Hadley

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