If you’ve attend church ever then you’ve probably heard the phrase “praise and worship” and it probably sounded a lot like singing. For some reason, when we step through the doors of a church we over-religious-ize everything. Yes, I did just make up that word.
Praise is mentioned more than 230 times in the Bible. It’s mentioned 363 times in the NIV, 238 in the ESV, and 259 in the KJV.
Praise is the avenue we should be taking to enter into God’s presence. Psalm 100: 4 says, ‘Enter his gates with thanksgiving and his courts with praise; give thanks to him and praise his name.’
Praise is actually quite simple. According to Merriam-Webster, praise simply means ‘to say or write good things about (someone or something) to express approval of (someone or something) or to express thanks to or love and respect for.’ Praise is simply thanking God or an acknowledgement of His great works. We praise food, pets, children, television shows, and anything else we like — We shouldn’t forget God in the process.
According to Barna Research, ‘Only three out of ten church-going adults (29%) indicated that they view worship as something that is focused primarily on God.’ Further, ‘One out of every five attenders admitted that they had no idea what the most important outcome of worship is.’ This is very dangerous. Let me make it very clear, we praise and worship God because He is worthy and deserving. Music is not the praise. Music is there to help us praise but the songs themselves are useless unless we are truly praising from our heart.
Praise and worship are actually two different things although they are used interchangeably in church discussions.
I’ve shared with you about praise. So, what’s really the difference between that and worship?
Praise, in it’s simplest form, requires very little from you. You simply go through the motions of acknowledgement of good things or qualities.
Scripture describes the ways in which we can praise God specifically. We can praise Him with singing (Isaiah 12:5; Psalm 9:11), with shouting (Psalm 33:1; 98:4), with the dance (Psalm 150:4), and with musical instruments (1 Chronicles 13:8; Psalm 108:2; 150:3-5).
While it’s very close in it’s meaning, worship goes deeper. Where praise is about thanks — worship is about surrender and sacrifice.
Worship happens when we acknowledge God’s holiness and Lordship over our life. Frequently, this included kneeling. Kneeling was and is a sign of humility. Kneeling happens with the acknowledgment of surrender to God. He is our God, our Lord, our Maker and we are His people. Worship usually comes after the praise because once we’ve acknowledged all of God’s awesomeness then we are more ready to surrender.
Don’t over-think praise, let the words come as you acknowledge the awesome things about God. Then, as the praise penetrates your heart and spirit, let a beautiful worship come forth.