It seems harder than ever to make time to worship God. Whether it’s a busier schedule because of homeschooling, added stress, or church being closed, I think all of us can say this is an area that can use some serious growth.
However, the craziness of this year can’t be all to blame. If we’re honest, we probably didn’t give God the praise He deserves last year either. Or the year before that. And so on.. In truth, it comes down to the heart.
John Calvin calls our hearts “idol factories.” This can sound harsh, but a quick evaluation of my life confirms his hypothesis.
This year has actually opened my schedule. School is closed, extracurriculars are cancelled, and I have more free time than I’ve ever had. Still, I find it hard to worship. Why is that? It’s my sinful heart.
Thankfully, we are no longer slaves to sin if we have Christ. The Spirit is perpetually shaping our hearts to look more like Jesus. He molds us like the potter molds clay. And I am grateful. It should always be our goal to fight the inclinations of the flesh and walk in the Spirit. Even though this area can be a struggle, we can look forward in hope and continue striving to do better, by God’s grace.
I’m so excited to make worship more of a priority through the rest of this year alongside you. Today, we’ll be discussing 15 unique ways to worship God. I hope these bless you and allow you to grow closer to the Lord. This is not an exhaustive list, as there are many ways to worship. The important thing is the position of your heart.
What is worship?
Worship is more than anything, a gift of grace. God doesn’t need our praise. He absolutely deserves and delights in it, but He is completely full and satisfied without our contributions. Jesus paid the penalty for our sins and gave us peace with God. Because of this, we can draw confidently to His throne to worship in spirit and truth.
Worship is not something we do to gain God’s favor, reach a spiritual high, entertain ourselves, or look more holy, but it is an act of declaring, praising, and enjoying who God is and what He’s done. Worship can take many forms, and sometimes we say that we worship only God, but our lives tell a different story.
Worship isn’t just about who you sing songs about on Sunday morning, but it’s about who or what takes precedence in your heart and mind. If you find your affections and attention drifting to other things, do not despair. As I said, worship is a gift of grace. The Lord knows our limitations, and Jesus is our perfect teacher as we learn to worship God more fully.
Worship God through prayer
“Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God. And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.” -Philippians 4:6-7 ESV
I’ve heard it said that our prayer life is a good indicator of our reliance on God. Sometimes, we feel bad for bringing too many requests to the Lord. Yet, Jesus tells us to abide in Him and ask for whatever we need. Prayer is a form of worship because it shows that we believe that God has the power to impact our circumstances, He is a good Father, and is deserving of our trust. The more we pray, the more we get to know God’s character and trust His sovereignty.
True worship requires surrender. Surrender requires trust. Trust requires reliance. We rely on God by praying and believing that He hears our cries to Him. If trusting the Lord fully sounds too difficult or impossible, don’t despair. You can pray for that too. In all matters of faith and worship, it’s important to start with prayer.
Ask the Lord to give you more faith and to allow you to grow in your worship of Him. Go to the Lord, cry out to Him, let Him know all of the requests of your heart. God wants to be involved in every area of your life, from the smallest things to the biggest. Your requests are not a burden to Him. They are a form of worship, as you progressively put God in His right place as the King of the world.
Worship God through music
“But I have calmed and quieted my soul, like a weaned child with its mother; like a weaned child is my soul within me.” -Psalm 131:2 ESV
Some may find it hard to make time to worship God. We must not let our desire for lengthy quiet time lead to no quiet time at all. It is quality over quantity, and our souls need daily fellowship with our maker. It’s as simple as getting up 5 minutes earlier, putting on instrumental music, and coming before the Lord.
Worshipping God through music is a really great way to incorporate worship into your life when things get really busy. There are a lot of different ways you can approach this, but I will give you a few suggestions. I like to sit on my floor and ask God to search my heart and help me to dedicate my day to Him. Sometimes this includes prayer, and sometimes it just means quieting my heart before Him and enjoying a few minutes of His presence.
You can meditate on scripture, thank Him for things, or put on music with lyrics and really soak up the words. Christian meditation is unlike secular meditation or the meditation of other religions. The focus here is not emptying your mind, but filling it with God. You can even play music in your car on the way to work. It doesn’t sound like anything extravagant, but you are making space for the Creator of the World to work in your life. That is a big and exciting thing.
Worship God through singing
“Shout for joy in the Lord, O you righteous! Praise befits the upright. Give thanks to the Lord with the lyre; make melody to him with the harp of ten strings! Sing to him a new song; play skillfully on the strings, with loud shouts.” -Psalm 33:1-3 ESV
The Worship of God through singing has ancient roots, tracing all the way back to Moses and the Israelites after God’s deliverance of them from Egypt (Exodus 15). Worshipping God is a gift to us, but it is also a command. It’s easy to rely too heavily on one’s preference when it comes to worshipping God through singing. We often find ourselves saying “that worship was too loud” or “those songs were too old.” Of course we want the songs we sing to be enjoyable and Biblically sound, but we have to remember that it’s not about us, but the Lord.
Worshipping with others through singing on Sunday mornings is such a gift and something I’m very thankful for. I encourage you to cherish it more fully and really contemplate the goodness and glory of the Lord while you do so. The really exciting thing, however, is that it doesn’t just have to be limited to Sunday mornings! We so often turn to television or social media when we are bored or can’t sleep. It would make such a big impact on our lives if we turned to worship music instead.
With music streaming platforms so readily available, it is easier than ever to sing praises to the Lord any day of the week. Some other ways this can be incorporated is on your drive to work or when you’re feeling stressed. You can have a group of friends over for a worship night around a bonfire if someone can play an instrument, or you can make a habit of worshipping as a family with your kids. Singing to the Lord is commanded of us, and the Lord deserves all of our praise, but it is also such a joy and can add so much light to our lives.
Worship God with our work
“Whatever you do, work heartily, as for the Lord and not for men, knowing that from the Lord you will receive the inheritance as your reward. You are serving the Lord Christ.” -Colossians 3:23-24 ESV
Did you know that work was included in God’s original plan for humanity? We want to blame the fall for our dreaded 9-5, but the Lord gave Adam work to do even in the Garden of Eden. Our lives probably don’t have the work-rest balance that the Lord intended, but that doesn’t mean we can’t worship God with our work.
Paul encourages the church of Colossae to do everything as if it were for God and not for men. We can put this into practice by having a good attitude at work, being honest and hard-working, loving our co-workers well, and being grateful for the job that the Lord has provided for us. It sounds easy to do, but we all know that it’s hard to live out. The Lord has grace for us in this. I find myself discouraged when I slip up and have a bad attitude towards my coworkers or let a complaint slip. Take heart. There is grace for all of the times you miss the mark.
Apologize to any you have offended, confess your sins to the Lord, and continue trying, day by day, to honor God with your work. And- as this passage says- you will be serving the Lord Christ. This can be applied to all kinds of work, whether you are employed or not. You can serve God by being a parent, helping out with chores as a teenager, or volunteering in the community. Don’t be discouraged. A lifetime of striving to glorify God with our work will bear good fruit, remembering that we are not doing it to earn God’s favor, but out of an overflow of our love for Him. Unbelievers may even notice this and want to know the Lord too!
Worship through praise and thanksgiving
“Give thanks in all circumstances; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you.”-1 Thessalonians 5:18 ESV
I have a friend who will only pray in the form of thanksgiving for days at a time. Her love for God and appreciation for His kindness is stronger than anyone I know. I personally need to spend a lot of time in supplication because I’m always in what seems to be crisis-mode, but I think we can all learn a thing or two from my friend.
Thanking the Lord helps shape our perspective, make us content, give us joy, and worship God. There are many ways to incorporate this into our lives. Like with music, this can be done in a fairly short amount of time. It’s as simple as taking a breath and thanking God for 3-5 things. You can thank God as you go throughout your day and are reminded of what you’re thankful for. You can start your day with thanksgiving to go into it with a good mindset, or end your day with thanksgiving to process your day through Christ-centered eyes.
I really enjoy writing down the things I’m thankful for and incorporating thanksgiving into my regular prayers. I think it is wonderful to thank God for the physical blessings and people He has placed into your life. I think it is also important to thank Him for spiritual blessings, and for who He is.
We often forget to thank God for our salvation, for His presence, His comfort, His Word, His guidance, our spiritual growth, and for His perfect character. Thinking on these things regularly and praising Him for them help us to know Him better and enjoy Him more. We can never thank God enough, and we will never run out of things to be thankful for.
Worship through confessing sins
“If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.”-1 John 1:9 ESV
The ability to confess our sins and be immediately and completely forgiven is one of the most wonderful privileges we have as believers. The number one problem facing all of humanity throughout all time is the crushing weight of their sins and their inability to get rid of that guilt on their own. Jesus climbed on the altar so that we could be washed white as snow.
Nothing should bring us to more praise of the Lord than His forgiveness of our sins. However, we often find it hard to bring our trespasses before Him. This can be for a number of reasons, including shame, fear, or an unwillingness to give up sinful pleasures. If you are afraid or full of shame, remember that Hebrews tells us that we can “with confidence draw near to the throne of grace, that we may receive mercy and find grace to help in time of need” (Hebrews 4:16). If you are struggling to let go of your sin, ask the Lord to help you turn away from what is worthless and treasure Him most of all in your heart.
Confession, repentance, and sanctification are all part of our daily lives as believers, and as we continue to implement them into our life, we are conformed more and more into the image of Christ. I usually try to implement confession into my prayer time, but it is also a good idea to confess your sins as soon as you are aware of them. I also like to make a habit of asking the Lord to reveal to me anything that isn’t pleasing to Him in my life.
Confessing your sins to other believers that you trust can also be very helpful, and is greatly encouraged in James 5:16. We worship God by confessing our sins to Him, because by doing so we are casting off anything that takes His place in our lives, and we are coming before Him recognizing His holiness and our need for a savior. Confessing our sins should bring us to more praise of Jesus because it is a reminder of His extravagant grace and mercy towards us.
Worship through reading the Bible
“For the word of God is living and active, sharper than any two-edged sword, piercing to the division of soul and of spirit, of joints and of marrow, and discerning the thoughts and intentions of the heart.”-Hebrews 4:12 ESV
When we read the Bible, we learn about who God is, what He’s done, and what that means for us. Growing in my knowledge of the Word has brought me to praise God more and more, and I am continually delighted and surprised by all of the riches that are hidden in that Book.
Not only is it a beautifully crafted love story of a God who rescued His bride, not only does it tell an overarching story over the course of thousands of years by numerous Spirit-inspired authors, not only does it all point to Christ and show how exceedingly better He is than all things, not only does it instruct us, comfort us, and guide us, not only is it alive and active, but it is also true! It is a source we can trust, through and through.
In a world full of anxiety and uncertainty, the Bible should bring us to so much praise of the Lord for its reliability and all of the other things I listed (and even more!) The Bible leads us to worship God for all that He is; it instructs us in the ways that our view of God is faulty so we can worship Him more fully.
Reading the Bible leads us to worship, but it is also an act of worship itself. We lay down our view of God and the world and what we think they should be to learn what God Himself has to say about these things. We have to give our time to the Lord when we read the Bible and surrender our own understanding.
Reading the Bible is an essential part of every believer’s life. If it is difficult for you to get in the scriptures, do not despair. Start small. Read one Psalm a day or do a Bible study with other Christians. The Lord will help you grow in your love for the Word and your ability to study it well. You are in the Father’s hands as you tackle the hard truths of the Bible; your knowledge and growth are in His loving care.
Worship through obedience to God’s Word
“But be doers of the word, and not hearers only, deceiving yourselves.”-James 1:22 ESV
Obedience to God’s Word should always follow the reading of His word. We don’t want to only be hearers of the Word, but doers as well. Let me caution you, obedience to God’s word is not a way of earning His love. Remember, we are saved by faith, not by works. However, the Bible says that we will be known by our fruits (Matthew 7:16). The natural result of knowing Jesus is bearing fruit by good works and obedience.
We should strive to honor the Lord in everything that we do. We shouldn’t continue living in sin just because we know there is grace for us. When you do sin, there is grace. When we stumble in our obedience and lack in our good works, there is mercy and forgiveness in plenty for every believer. That being said, it should be our aim to be doers of the Word. The world is tired of Christians who read the Bible but never show any signs of being transformed.
We worship God by obeying Him because we show that He is the King over our lives whom we live to please. We must worship Him by obeying His commands and constantly holding our lives up to the mirror of scripture to see where we’re falling short. Then, we trust in Jesus to help us obey and progress in these things. Don’t give up! The Lord is working in you as you strive to please Him more and more. Our worship becomes real and world-changing when it impacts the way we live our lives.
Worship through giving to others
“Each one must give as he has decided in his heart, not reluctantly or under compulsion, for God loves a cheerful giver.”-2 Corinthians 9:7 ESV
We worship God when we give to others because it shows that we know that the Lord has gifted us with all of the resources we have. When Christians give to others, we are simply giving back to the Lord what is already His. If it is hard for you to have this attitude, don’t despair! Ask the Lord to give you a more giving attitude and start small.
Giving to others helps teach us to be thankful for what we have, and helps shape our perspective to see that all things belong to the Lord and there is nothing we have that wasn’t gifted to us by Him. This takes surrender and sacrifice, which are both facets of true worship. This can also serve as a good indicator of if you are idolizing anything above the Lord or relying on your belongings or resources too much.
Giving to others can truly be a joy, and so many people get to know the love of Jesus through the giving of believers. This is such a beautiful thing that you can be a part of! Whether you support causes financially, send dinner to a struggling family, or give your grandma some of your time, you get to be the hands and feet of Jesus, and I encourage you to look for the opportunities that are undoubtedly already around you.
Worship through serving others
“And whoever would be first among you must be slave of all. For even the Son of Man came not to be served but to serve, and to give his life as a ransom for many.”-Mark 10:44-45 ESV
Like giving, serving others is another way to be the hands and feet of Jesus. Once again, we are not doing this to gain God’s favor or look like a good person. We are doing this out of worship of the one who became the Ultimate Servant: Jesus Christ our Savior.
We can worship God by giving our time, comfort, and gifts to become servants like our Lord. There are so many ways you can serve, at home and abroad. You can serve your wife, your children, your siblings, your friends, your coworkers, your parents, and even strangers!
You can volunteer or be a part of events that serve the community, you can go on mission trips to spread the Gospel and serve the people there, you can go out of your way to spend time with someone, you can do chores or nice things for others, you can have a loving attitude towards others, and much, much more.
We never run out of ways to serve others. They are all around us from the time we get up to the time we go to sleep. I’ll be the first to admit that my gut reaction is hesitancy and annoyance when I’m asked to do a chore or task that I don’t want to do. However, I’ve found that much joy can come from doing these hard or inconvenient things, and we get to grow closer to God and exalt Him more in our lives by doing so! Let us all pray that we would be able to worship God better by having a servant’s heart.
Worship through daily living
“He is before all things, and in him all things hold together.”-Colossians 1:17 ESV
The most exciting thing is that worship doesn’t have to be an addition to our lives, but we can actually live our entire lives in worship! The Bible tells us that in God “we live and move and have our being” (Acts 17:28). Believers never have to question if their lives have purpose or not. We can wake up every morning confident that God is using our daily lives to advance His kingdom.
The biggest step of surrender we can take is offering up our entire life to the Lord. It was never God’s intention for us to stop our involvement with Him at the point of our salvation. The church is Christ’s bride! Wouldn’t it be odd if a wife completely ignored her husband after their wedding day? Jesus wants to love us daily, guide us, mold our hearts, use us for His glory, give us joy, and be with us forever! How do we live this out? I would suggest starting with all of the things listed in this article, along with waking up every morning and asking God “What do you have for me today? This day is yours.” Of course, you will stumble, the great thing is that it’s not our performance that allows our lives to be “in Christ,” but rather His claiming and saving of you. Like I said before, worship becomes real when it impacts our daily lives.
Being able to quote the most Bible passages is a great gift, but if it doesn’t impact the way you speak to your children, your worship of God is not being carried out to its fullest extent. I am so excited, because I know God is going to do wonderful things in and through your surrendered life!
Worship through journaling
“I will remember the deeds of the Lord; yes, I will remember your wonders of old.”-Psalm 77:11 ESV
Journaling is honestly my favorite way of worshipping God! I know I’ve said a lot about worship involving surrender, but it most definitely can and should be enjoyable too! I absolutely love making myself a cup of tea, curling up in a blanket, and pulling out my journal to spend some one-on-one time with God.
Journaling can include many different things. You can journal your prayers, write down the things you’re thankful for, write notes as you study scripture, draw pictures that remind you of spiritual things, write out verses in an artistic way, and much, much more! I like to listen to worship music as I do this as well.
Journaling is a really good way to be able to look back and see all the ways the Lord has worked in your life. It helps you create space to notice God’s presence, and it’s often easier for people to stay on task when writing things out rather than just thinking about them. It can be a relaxing activity, and a good way to process the things in your life.
I am often brought to more praise of the Lord because journaling helps me to notice things that God is doing in my life that I wouldn’t have realized otherwise. Journaling doesn’t work for everyone, and that’s totally okay! I would encourage everyone to try it at least once, and see if it helps them to worship God more!
Worship in God’s Creation
“Are not two sparrows sold for a penny? And not one of them will fall to the ground apart from your Father.” -Matthew 10:29 ESV
As previously stated, part of worship is enjoying God more. One way we can enjoy God is by enjoying His creation! The Bible tells us that we can see God through the things that He has made (Romans 1:19-20). The world is full of beautifully diverse flora and fauna that speak to the creativity, beauty, and loving-care of God.
The part of nature that encourages me the most is God’s sovereignty over it. Verses like Matthew 10:29 allow me to rejoice in God’s care of His creation each time I see a bird or a squirrel when I go outside. Other people are more encouraged by the intricate and symmetrical designs of flowers or all of the mechanics that go into a tree growing from a sapling to a mighty oak.
You may be reminded of God’s power when you see the ocean, or of His peace in a quiet wood. Whichever you prefer, reasons to worship God are all around us all the time. Pray to have eyes to see His majesty in the world around you. Take a walk around a pond, or even spend some time with your faithful feline. God is the author of it all. How beautiful!
Worship God with your body
“Or do you not know that your body is a temple of the Holy Spirit within you, whom you have from God? You are not your own, for you were bought with a price. So glorify God in your body.”-1 Corinthians 6:19-20 ESV
The human body is a galaxy of intricately woven systems and parts working together to allow us to live our daily lives. Each person is made in the image of God, and for believers, our bodies are temples of the living God. Given this knowledge, we should worship God by honoring Him with our bodies.
This can often feel like an impossible feat, as our flesh wages war against our spirit, enticing us to do things we hate. Even if you stumble, it’s worth it to do everything you can to honor the Lord with your body. You claim Him as God and ruler over your life when you obey His commands about worshipping Him in this way. What does this look like practically? It can mean going to a mentor about sexual sin you’ve been struggling with, not idolizing food, being filled with the Spirit rather than drunkenness, or seeing a counselor about self-harm.
Pray that the Lord would reveal to you how you can better serve Him with your body. Trust His grace when you stumble, but never stop in the battle to live in the Spirit rather than the flesh. Another way to worship God with your body is to be grateful to Him for it. I entreat you to see yourself the way the Father sees you: fearfully and wonderfully made (Psalm 139). Your life is a miracle; a million different processes set to motion by God to keep you alive.
“For where two or three are gathered in my name, there am I among them.”-Matthew 18:20 ESV
One of the most beautiful gifts of worship is the ability to do it with others. All of the things listed above can be done with a close friend, group, or even a large church! When we worship with other believers, it reminds us that we’re not alone in our walk with God. Community can be a struggle, but it is worth it.
If you don’t currently know other believers, don’t despair. Ask God to bring other Christians into your life that you can love Him with and keep an open heart and mind to those around you. Remember that even if you have no one, Jesus is your truest and closest friend forever and you can always worship with Him.
The best way to grow in worship is to actually worship. You can read hundreds of articles about the topic, but nothing will happen until you actually apply the things you’ve learned to your life. I’ll leave you with these thoughts: worship is about God (not you), and God will help you to worship Him more.
Go forth and praise the Lord! Let’s commit to growing in these things together. I encourage you to stop right now and think of an attainable goal. Personally, I want to get up every morning this week to take a walk and pray. We can do this, friends!