Praise and worship are a significant part of our Sunday morning services. You may wonder about the difference between these two action words. Here are some thoughts on the difference between praise and worship and how you can incorporate these two into your life.
What is praise?
Praise is an action word that means to express our adoration, glorify and applaud. Our culture understands praise. We praise celebrities, successful business people, and athletes. We show them honor and applaud their achievements. If given the opportunity, we’d love to see them in person and get a selfie with them.
In a similar way, when we praise God, we’re saying he’s worthy of our attention and applause. When we sing joy-filled songs of praise to God, we recount all he’s done for us. We thank him and show our appreciation for his work in our lives. When we praise God, we’re acknowledging all the wonderful things God has done. Praise can involve singing, dancing, clapping, or raising hands. It may also involve playing an instrument.
How often should we praise God?
Praising God isn’t just something we do on Sunday mornings. Scripture encourages us to praise God all the time.
I will bless the Lord at all times; his praise shall continually be in my mouth. (Psalm 34:1 ESV)
How do you praise God all the time?
Praising God can be more than singing songs of praise. Here are some practical ways to praise God continuously.
- Start your day reading the Bible-Reading God’s word helps us get to know him better. We learn what’s important to him. We learn how we should live and how he helps us live for him.
- Pray-Daily prayer allows us to express our need for God. We can confess our sins and ask for forgiveness. Prayer is praise to God because it expresses our dependence on him.
- Turn our trials into praise-Not a day goes by that we don’t have some trial. Whether something small or large, trials and tribulations are part of life. When you’re in trouble or having a hard day, look to God. Thank him for being there for you. Ask him to help you get through the trial.
A popular song by Casting Crowns called Praise You In The Storm expresses the idea of praising God even amid the storms of life. Here are the lyrics to the song. The main verse says,
And I’ll praise You in this storm
And I will lift my hands
For You are who You are
No matter where I am
And every tear I’ve cried
You hold in Your hand
You never left my side
And though my heart is torn
I will praise You in this storm
Praising God isn’t always easy. It can be hard to praise him when we’re
suffering. Even in our darkest moments, there is always something to thank God for, even though it’s a sacrifice of praise in many ways.
Through him then let us continually offer up a sacrifice of praise to God, that is, the fruit of lips that acknowledge his name. (Hebrews 13:15 ESV)
What is worship?
Worship is different than praise. In Hebrew, the word for worship is “shachah.” It means to bow down, to lower yourself. Worship is humbling ourselves before a holy God. It’s surrendering our entire lives to him.
Ascribe to the Lord the glory due his name; bring an offering and come before him! Worship the Lord in the splendor of holiness; tremble before him, all the earth; yes, the world is established; it shall never be moved. (1 Chronicles 16: 29-30 ESV)
Worship gets to the heart of who we are as believers. When we worship God in our lives, we put away all other gods. You may not feel like you have other gods in your life, but as humans, we’re prone to idol worship rather than God worship. It’s easy to make idols out of the good things in our lives. Some of the idols we can worship include:
- People we love-Our parents, our spouse, or our kids. We can place them above God.
- Our jobs-Seeking a successful career isn’t bad, but if we put our jobs higher than
- God, it’s idol worship.
- Money-Wanting money too much can lead to being controlled by it.
- Sex-Sex is a gift from God for married couples. If you desire sex so much that you’re willing to disobey God, it’s an idol in your life.
- Approval of others-Wanting others’ approval is a subtle snare. We may find it leads to doing things we don’t agree with because we’re worried people won’t like us.
- Material things-It’s easy to allow our hearts to drift to wanting a stylish house, trendy clothes, and a big new car. These things seem so appealing, but these things can steal our first love and leave us wanting more.
- Beauty-Ask anyone over the age of 40, and they’ll agree that beauty is a fleeting thing to idolize. We’re all growing older. No matter how much moisturizer or Botox you use, you will still age and lose your beauty.
- Health-Our society worships health. Well-toned abs are touted as the way to be happy. Even the healthiest person isn’t worth worshipping above God.
Worshipping seeks him above all other things in this life because we know this life is passing away. Heaven is our home.
“Worthy are you, our Lord and God, to receive glory and honor and power,
for you created all things, and by your will they existed and were created.” (Revelations 4: 1 ESV)
What are the differences between praise and worship?
Praise is a joy-filled expression of thanks to God. Worship is more of a sober, humbling of our hearts. It causes us to bow down. Here are some other differences between praise and worship.
- Joy filled
- Expressing our approval or adoration
- Dancing, singing, clapping
- Surrendering our hearts to God’s will
- Confession of sins
- Asking God to take control of our lives
Examples of praise in the Bible
There are many people who offered praises and thanksgiving to God.
- Hannah-Hannah thanked God for giving her a son. (1 Samuel 2:1-10)
- Mirriam-Moses and Aaron’s sister thank God for delivering them from the Egyptians. She sings, dances, and plays the tambourine as she praises God. (Exodus 15: 20-21)
- David-David praised and thanked God for helping him defeat the Philistines. (2 Samuel 22:1-51)
- Paul-Paul thanks God for the believers who live in Phillipi. These folks partnered with him in sharing the gospel. (Philippians 1: 3-11)
Examples of worship in the Bible
Those who worshipped God, inspire us to do the same.
The woman with the alabaster box worshipped Jesus
Scripture doesn’t mention her name, but it tells us what she did. She, no doubt, had encountered Jesus before this, and he had forgiven her for her sins. In this setting, he once again tells her she’s forgiven, but in a public setting.
And behold, a woman of the city, who was a sinner, when she learned that he was reclining at table in the Pharisee’s house, brought an alabaster flask of ointment, and standing behind him at his feet, weeping, she began to wet his feet with her tears and wiped them with the hair of her head and kissed his feet and anointed them with the ointment. (Luke 7:36-37 ESV)
The servant sent to find a wife for Jacob
Then I bowed my head and worshiped the Lord and blessed the Lord, the God of my master Abraham, who had led me by the right way to take the daughter of my master’s kinsman for his son. (Genesis 24:” 48 ESV)
The widow who gave all she had
This woman was probably poor, but she still gave to God. She worshipped God extravagantly by giving out of her need rather than her abundance.
And he sat down opposite the treasury and watched the people putting money into the offering box. Many rich people put in large sums. And a poor widow came and put in two small copper coins, which make a penny. And he called his disciples to him and said to them, “Truly, I say to you, this poor widow has put in more than all those who are contributing to the offering box. For they all contributed out of their abundance, but she out of her poverty has put in everything she had, all she had to live on.” ( Mark 12:41-44 ESV)
What is the significance of praise and worship? Why do it?
Probably the best reason to praise and worship God is because he commands his followers to praise him. (Psalm 150:6). But there are other reasons, too. Here are just a few.
- Praise and worship help fight the enemy’s lies-When we praise God, and we declare him Lord of us and everything that affects us. We resist the devil’s lies about us.
- Praise and worship help us draw near to God-When we praise and thank God, we are looking to him. We forget about ourselves and our problems. We cast all our cares on him and declare that he controls our lives. As we worship God, we humble ourselves and ask for God to forgive us of our sins.
- Praise and worship help get rid of anxiety-This world is full of difficulties and hardships. Looking up to God with raised hands of praise and worship helps us let go of anxiety and fear.
- Praise and worship because God is worthy-Scripture tells us that God is worthy. He’s the creator of the entire universe, and we should acknowledge his majesty and greatness.
Great is the Lord, and greatly to be praised, and his greatness is unsearchable. (Psalm 145:3 ESV)
Ways to praise and worship
You can praise and worship God every day. Here are a few suggestions.
- Keep him first- Set aside time with God every day.
- Serve others- Look for opportunities to help others
- Be generous- Share with others, give to your local church and to missionaries
- Be grateful to him- God has given you so much, be grateful to him.
- Being part of a church community- Being in a church community will help you grow in godliness.
- Sing praise songs- Add praise and worship songs to your playlists. Play them in the car or when you’re at home. Sing to God.
Praise and worship are a vital part of our Sunday worship experience. But we can praise and worship God in our lives every day. While praise is filled with thankfulness and joy, worship can be more reverent and soul-searching. We humble ourselves before God with deep expressions of gratitude. If you want to grow in praise and worship, try incorporating some of the things listed in this article into your life. Before you know it, you’ll be enjoying praise and worship times with God every day.