What is worship?

Worship is...

 
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when a person or a group of people show God how much they adore him by doing things they know he loves.

Below is a list of things Christians often do as part of their worship.

  • Helping others
  • Thanking God
  • Telling God he is great (Praising)
  • Singing songs to God or about him
  • Dancing and raising their hands when singing to God
  • Kneeling when they pray

Worship is like giving God a gift - a gift of things he loves.  

What is praise?

Praise means telling someone they are great, telling someone you are pleased with them and/or thanking them for doing something wonderful. A teacher might praise someone for working hard or being kind – they might say, ‘That was fantastic, I’m so pleased with what you have done, thank you for doing that for me’.

 
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When Christians praise God they tell him he is great and thank him for what he has done for them; they might say: ‘Thank you for what you have done for me, thank you that you love me – I think you are fantastic.’

You might also like to talk about people deserving a medal or a trophy because of something great they have done. Explain that giving somebody a trophy or a medal is another way of praising them – it’s a way of saying ‘you’re great, that’s a wonderful thing you have done’.

What sort of things do Christians thank God for?

The Bible teaches that God loves it when people thank him. Christians often say 'thank you' to God as part of their worship.

Here are some things Christians say thank you to God for over and over again... 

 
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Christians are thankful for the many wonderful things God gives them. They are thankful for both things they can see and things they can’t see…

1. Christians believe God created the whole earth. They thank God for the things they see around them: their friends, their family, safe places, animals and flowers. They even thank God for ‘man-made’ things such as warm clothes and places to live, because these too are made from the natural materials God created. 

2. Christians believe God created the parts of nature they can’t see, such as the wind and the air. They also thank God for his Holy Spirit. They believe  the Holy Spirit is with them wherever they go. They thank the Holy Spirit for his comfort, guidance and help. They believe the Holy Spirit's presence brings great peace, love and joy. We can’t see any of these with our eyes, but Christians believe each one is a wonderful gift from God.

Christians not only thank God for his gifts but for the great things he does too.  

Over and over again we read in the Bible about the things God did: he led the Israelites through the Red Sea and gave them water and food in the desert. Christians believe God still does great things today. Christians believe that over and over again he works in people's lives, changing their tough times into better times.

However Christians believe the greatest thing God has done is send Jesus to live with people.

Jesus came to earth over 2,000 years ago. He came to show what God is like, to teach people how to live and make a way for everybody, everywhere to become close friends with God. Jesus healed the sick, fed the hungry and comforted the poor. Then he did the best thing of all; Jesus died on the cross and three days later God raised him back to life. Christians believe that because Jesus lived, died and rose again everybody, everywhere can now say ‘Yes’ to God's love and forgiveness and become close friends with him.

When Jesus went back up to Heaven God sent the Holy Spirit down to live with people.

Christians believe the Holy Spirit comes alongside to teach and guide. They believe the Holy Spirit works in their lives changing them from the inside-out to become more and more like Jesus; to be more peaceful, patient and kind. As the Holy Spirit helps Christians become more like Jesus, more and more they are able to live God's way, the way he created them to live.

 

This text is repeated in 'What does the phrase 'loving-kindness' mean? 

Why do Christians believe they come into God's presence through worship?

Coming into God’s presence through worship.

Christians believe that one of the most important reasons to worship God is because he loves and deserves worship. However, the Bible teaches that worshipping God also brings people closer to him; when Christians worship God they feel his closeness and presence in a greater way.

The Bible teaches that God is always with people. However, when Christians worship God they are choosing to pay attention to him - they are choosing to listen to him, speak to him, sing to him, chat with him etc.

Christians believe that when they pay attention to God they come closer and closer to him in a wonderful way - many Christians call this entering into God's presence.

 
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Christians believe that when they are close to God and feel his presence they feel his love, peace and joy in a greater and more wonderful way too. They also believe that in God's presence the Holy Spirit is able to work powerfully in their lives - more and more they feel the Holy Spirit's closeness, his comfort, his guidance and his help.

Coming close to God and feeling his presence through worship and spending time with him does not always feel easy to do. Giving attention to God often means not giving attention to other things; these other things might be playing games and watching TV or they might be thoughts about our busy lives. But Christians think it is something that is good to practise, so they get better and better at it. They believe the good news is that God really, really, really wants people to feel his closeness in their lives.

What does the word 'bless' mean?

Explain that we sometimes say somebody is blessed when they have lots of good things. The good things might not be stuff like toys and clothes; it could be things like feeling well, and good friendships. Christians believe God blesses them by giving them good things.

 
 

The Bible teaches that Christians can bless other people by praying that God will give them good things too. However the Bible also says that people can bless God. But how can they bless him? Christians believe they bless God by giving him good things – their time, their attention, their love and their praise; they believe that these are all good things God loves to receive.

In Psalm 34 David said he was going to bless God by giving him praise. David said that he was going to bless God all the time.

 

Why do Christians worship God?

1. Worship is a response.

Christians often feel like worshipping God. When Christians think about who God is (what he is like) and all the wonderful things he has done they are so grateful, and feel such love for him that they want to worship him. Over and over again Christians worship God when they think about his greatness – it’s as if they can’t stop themselves.

 
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2. Worship is a choice.

Sometimes Christians can feel tired and busy just like everybody else and they don't especially feel like worshipping. But when Christians don’t feel like worshipping God they choose to worship him anyway, because they believe God deserves worship.

Spend a very brief moment explaining what the word ‘deserve’ means. Talk about people getting an award or prize for doing well. They get the prize because they deserve it - they have done well and deserve to be rewarded.

Christians believe God deserves worship because he is great and does great things.

 

 

 

Why do Christians sing to God?

For thousands and thousands of years people have sung worship songs to God.

Christians believe that singing to God is a great way to worship him, in fact the Bible encourages Christians to sing joyfully to God.

Worship songs can be about how great God is or they can simply be songs of thanks, thanking God for the wonderful things he has done.

Read aloud some of the lyrics from a Christian worship song. Talk about what the song is about and why Christians might choose to sing this particular song. Spend some time discussing why on some occasions people sing rather than speak to God. If you have the opportunity to do so, play a variety of worship songs then encourage the children to discuss why some songs are sung slowly while others are fast; some are sung quietly while others are sung loudly.  

 
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Christians believe that singing to God with others is an important part of being a Christian. They feel that singing with other Christians sounds and feels very different from when one person sings to God alone.

Christians believe God loves it when people worship him on their own but he also loves it when Christians come together to worship him. 

When do Christians worship God?

The Bible encourages Christians to worship God all the time - when they feel like it and when they don’t, when they are alone and when they are with others, when they are in their homes and when they are out and about. 

 
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The Bible teaches that at any time or in any place people can let God know how much they adore him. However there are of course times when it is not a good idea to sing out loud, dance or kneel in prayer. During these times Christians simply carry on with their everyday lives but on the inside they feel a great sense of thankfulness and gratitude to God for who he is and what he has done for them.