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Allison Althoff
Allison Althoff
Natalie Lederhouse
Natalie Lederhouse

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September 13, 2011

Are We Getting Worship Wrong?

And how can we get it at least a little bit right?

One church I attended for a few years was really, really into the song, “The Heart of Worship” by Matt Redman. Don’t get me wrong—I think it’s a fantastic song. But it began to bother me when we seemed to sing it nearly every Sunday. The song’s lyrics candidly and confessionally speak about how we humans can so easily get worship wrong: it can inadvertently become something about us rather than being focused on God.

Week after week all the congregants in my little church passionately sang about worship, saying, “I’m sorry, Lord, for the thing I’ve made it.” There were definitely times when singing these lyrics was an honest confession for me; I do struggle sometimes with turning times of corporate worship into self-focused experiences. But singing “I’m sorry” week in and week out rubbed me the wrong way. Are we really getting worship “wrong” all the time? I wondered. Do we really need to keep apologizing over and over? Aren’t we getting it at least a little bit right?

Worship, after all, is much more than just the time of singing or praying during a church service. It’s got much more to do with the attitude of our hearts, the God-honoring practices in our daily lives, and our responses to the circumstances that surround us than it does with how passionately or how properly we sing on Sunday mornings. Worshiping God through music can certainly be one of the most powerful ways to express our awe and love for God, but at its core, worship is meant to be expressed in all aspects of our lives. And I don’t think this worshipful way of living comes easily—it’s a lifelong process in which we each must put regular effort into choosing to worship, into cultivating worshipful practices and attitudes, and into communing with God throughout each day, rather than focusing all our thoughts and energies into other things.

So in some ways, worship is something that we can easily get wrong—when we boil it down just to music or just to times of “feeling good” about God, for example. But in other ways, worship is something we can definitely get right—when we love our neighbor, when we strive for God-honoring excellence at work, when we choose to affirm our faith in God’s promises even when we’re in pain or afraid.

What does worship mean in your life? How do you cultivate a worshipful heart? In what ways—other than singing—do you enjoy expressing worship for God? How has worship transformed you?

Related Tags: attitudes, communion, confession, practices, worship


Worship songs: While some repetition is good, the words as well as the music are very important. As we rehearse the words and tunes in our head before and after corporate worship, the words should glorify God, praise God and teach about God, as well as solidify our relationship with God. Many examples come to mind; there are such a variety of hymns that glorifym praise and teach. We should not limit ourselves to a few.

I think we put too much emphasis on "how" we worship. All God requires is that we DO it, and with a genuine heart.

When God breathed into man he became a living soul. Therefore, I am to consider everything I say, do, and think as an act of worship to God. Everything that has breath has to praise something....
To me worship is all about the heart and what its focused on for any given moment. So if its focused on Him,

even as I type this comment, it's worship.

Every week at our Traditional Latin Mass we only sing one song -- the same song -- Salve Regina -- a capella -- before we go out. Quiet. Simple. Beautiful. This is a most outstanding way to worship The Christ.

Unless we are perfect of course we have need to be sorry...even every week...every day is far more likely. And a song is but words..words to relay a message and prepare our hearts. If we are genuine, we will receive a beautiful gift of loving forgiveness from God...a cleansing and a sort of renewal. It matters not what you sing. Whether I know but a single chorus or none at all, that I sing HIS praise with my heart, confess it with my mouth, bending both to Him in awe and surrender--that is all that matters in songful worship. Memorizing verses in song, is the Word spoken in song and it can certainly be meditative. In fact the more meditative for some the more a steady repitition helps achieve a mindset of preparedness to be in our Lord's presence. Shall we then receive Him at our most holy meditative state; the state of knowing we are unworthy but, because our God is faithful, have been shown mercy and given grace...yes, definitely a state of knowledge. With an earnest gratitude then is the way to sing...and whatever it is that you sing...sing as unto the Lord...for, of course, you are! So every Sunday then you have the chance, knowing all the words, for a truly awesome renewal experience!! Praise God, girlfriend, praise God! There is comfort in the knowing and turning it to God!

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