Cultivate a Heart of Worship

Oh come, let us worship and bow down;
    let us kneel before the Lord, our Maker!

Psalm 95:6 (ESV)

Worship – to revere, venerate, praise, adore, exalt, glorify, extol, honor.

The feeling or expression of reverence and adoration; the act of attributing reverent honor and homage to God

In the Greek, the word used for worship in the New Testament is often Proskuneó – to prostrate oneself, to fall down. It comes from two words, Pros meaning to move toward and Kuneó meaning to kiss. How might the definitions and an understanding of the Greek word provide you fresh insight on the following verses?

God is spirit, and those who worship him must worship in spirit and truth.
John 4:24
And when they saw him they worshiped him, but some doubted.
Matthew 28:17

In the Hebrew, the word used for worship in the Old Testament is Shachah – to bow down, to prostrate oneself. The Scriptures are filled with worship, unfortunately often God’s people did not worship Him, but the gods and idols of other nations. But God promises that one day, all nations will worship Him and He calls the whole earth to worship Him now. Do you take the time during your week to answer this call?

All the ends of the earth shall remember and turn to the Lord, and all the families of the nations shall worship before you.
Psalm 22:27
Worship the Lord in the splendor of holiness; tremble before him, all the earth!
Psalm 96:9

Worshipping God is not merely confined to Sunday mornings in our church service—there are many ways to worship. In fact, everything we do, as we’re doing it in and for the Lord, can be a form of worship.

  • Music – singing (Psalm 66:4), playing instruments (Psalm 144:9), dancing (Psalm 149:3), hymns (Colossians 3:16)
  • Posture – bowing down (Genesis 24:26), lifting hands (Psalm 63:4), clapping hands (Psalm 47:1), kneeling (Psalm 95:6)
  • Art – creating (Exodus 35:31-33), whether painting, writing, woodworking, gardening, sculpting, etc
  • Prayer – listening to and talking to God (Psalm 32:6),
  • Study – God’s word, his statutes, commands, instructions, teachings, precepts, laws, testimonies, prophecies, and promises (Psalm 119)
  • Serve – ministry (Romans 14:18), meeting the needs of others (Matthew 25:40), working (Colossians 3:23), one another (1 Peter 4:10), giving (Deuteronomy 16:17)
  • Rest – Sabbath (Leviticus 19:13), rest (Psalm 116:7), quiet (Psalm 131:2), silence (Psalm 62:5), nature (Psalm 143:5)

I’m thankful that everything I do can be a form of worship to God. However, I’m often busy about whatever I’m doing and I forget to surrender my activities, to offer them up to God. My deeds, no matter what they are, can become something other than worship. In fact, they can become tedious and burdensome, a sort of counter-worship.

When this happens, I know its time for a heart check. And intentional, focused, worship provides the realignment the heart needs. Sometimes it’s listening to music, sometimes it’s sitting in the shade of the tree listening to the wind, sometimes it’s working on a devotional like this one, sometimes it’s reading the Psalms out loud.

A very simple and practical way to adjust my heart is to focus on God and not myself. I mentioned the Psalms—they’re a great place to turn my eyes on Him. There is also what I call the Adoration Alphabet and it can be done anytime, any place. Driving, walking, cleaning house, exercising, trying to fall asleep.

Start with the letter A and think of all the attributes, characteristics, qualities, actions, and nature of God that start with A. Discuss with Him what each one means to you. Then move on to B, then C, until you’ve either run out of time, fallen asleep, or realized that your eyes are now on Him and not yourself or your circumstances. Your heart has been readjusted and realigned.

I’ll help you start.

  • God, you are ABLE to realign my heart as I focus on you.
  • God, you BLESS me everyday with so many good things.
  • God, you CARE when my heart isn’t right with yours.
  • God, you DELIGHT in me and my worship.
  • God, you EQUIP me for whatever I may face each day.
  • God, you FREE me from the things that weigh me down.
  • God, you GUARD my heart so that I can worship you.
  • …continue on through the alphabet.

Now it’s your turn. Go and worship.

grace and peace


About Jill English Johnston

God writes His story on every heart, if we only pause to read it. My heart has lived in a fantasy world since early childhood and am delighted that God has finally brought me to the place where I can bring the fantasies to life through story. I am currently working on a fantasy trilogy (of course) but I also post thoughts, reflections and (hopefully) inspiration to my website: I am a follower of the Rabbi Jesus, married to my best friend and inspiration, and the mother of three incredible children, one daughter and two sons, a son-in-love, a daughter-in-love and two adorable granddaughters. When not writing, I passionately pursue prayer, reading (never enough time to read them all!), and the outdoors. My husband and I both served in the US Navy and have lived/travelled through many states and all over Asia. We both still enjoy travelling, but we really love our home in New Braunfels, located at the Texas Hill Country.
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