Someone asked me this past weekend if I knew the difference between Praise and Worship and before I could even answer he threw out his idea between the two. “Praise is just a blanket over everything… ‘we praise someone when they do good’, ‘we praise our pets’, ‘we praise the football team.’ And the list goes on. But we are to only worship God.” I want to give a biblical understanding between both praise and worship.
James 5:13, “Is anyone happy? Let him sing songs of praise…” Praise is not to be just be for people, food, sports, pets etc… but praise is to be directed towards God. Praise is jubilant. “We praise when we feel like it. James 5:13. WE also praise when we do not feel like it (See Psalm 42:5)” – (Exploring Worship by Bob Sorge pg 9) Praise something we use to express towards God as an emotional response of our love for Him. We are to praise God whether we feel like it or not. Mary the mother of Jesus praised God in this way, “My soul glorifies the Lord and my spirit rejoices in God my Savior.” (Luke 1:46-47) That is praise, not worship. Praise is joyful and being exuberant towards God with our actions and words. Praise is about coming before the throne of God with thanksgiving in our hearts. Psalms 100:4 – we come to God in our praise
“If we have a heart which desires God, we naturally desire to come near to Him. We want to be in His presence… for the purpose of meeting with God.” (Exploring Worship by Bob Sorge pg. 29) Is worship to be just with other believers? Are to sing songs of worship? Is there a proper method to worshipping God?
God does not descend to meet with us – it is us who ascends to meet with God!
People have a misconception that coming to church and praising and worshiping God is something that we get – or for God to meet with us. This is a wrong approach, praise and worship is not what we get from God, but how we give unto God. When people have said to me that they didn’t feel the presence of God during a worship service, the problem is never with God, the problem is with us, because where two or more are gathered in His name He is there. There is something that we are missing in our approach to worship. If we want to feel the presence of God in our praises and worship, we need to come with the understanding that we are giving back what He has given to us in our devotional life with God.
Remember that when we praise and worship God that we are coming into His throne room with ‘thanksgiving and praise,’ not the other way around. If we come before God with a heart that is pure we will feel His presence – but we have to come before the throne room of grace to do so and not wait for God. Boldly enter His courts with praise!
Blessings in Christ,
J. B. Sisam