The Soul of Worship
Come, let us worship and bow down.
Let us kneel before the LORD our maker,
for he is our God.
We are the people he watches over,
the flock under his care.
Psalm 95 gives us one of the fullest and clearest pictures of worship in all of Scripture. The psalm begins with a call to joyous praise, as we’re invited to sing and even to shout to the Lord (95:1). We bring our thanks and praise because of who God is as “a great God” and “great King above all gods” who created the whole earth (95:2-5).
Then Psalm 95 moves from exuberance to humility: “Come, let us worship and bow down. Let us kneel before the LORD our maker” (95:6). In the original Hebrew of this verse, the verbs translated here as “worship,” “bow down,” and “kneel” have similar meanings. They all refer to the physical act of lowering oneself in a gesture of submission to a sovereign ruler. If God is the “great King above all gods,” then our proper response is bowing before him, offering all that we are to him in humility and reverence. As William Temple once said, “Worship is the submission of all our nature to God.”
This act of submission is, indeed, the soul of worship. Our words of thanks and songs of praise are expressions of our deepest worship, which is offering our whole selves to God. This happens, not only as we gather for worship with God’s people or draw near to God in our private devotions, but also as we live out our lives in the world. Every step we take and every word we speak, when they are given to the Lord, are acts of genuine worship.
QUESTIONS FOR REFLECTION: What helps you to offer all that you are to God in worship? Do you see your daily life as a context for worshiping God? Why or why not? How might you live worshipfully today? Tomorrow?
PRAYER: Take my life, and let it be consecrated, Lord, to Thee.
Take my moments and my days; let them flow in ceaseless praise.
Take my hands, and let them move at the impulse of Thy love.
Take my feet, and let them be swift and beautiful for Thee.
Take my voice, and let me sing always, only, for my King.
Take my lips, and let them be filled with messages from Thee.
Take my silver and my gold; not a mite would I withhold.
Take my intellect, and use every power as Thou shalt choose.
Take my will, and make it Thine; it shall be no longer mine.
Take my heart, it is Thine own; it shall be Thy royal throne.
Take my love, my Lord, I pour at Thy feet its treasure store.
Take myself, and I will be ever, only, all for Thee.
(The words to this prayer are from the hymn, “Take My Life and Let It Be,” by Frances R. Havergal, 1874, public domain.)
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This devotional comes from The High Calling of Our Daily Work (www.thehighcalling.org), a wonderful website about work and God. You can read my Daily Reflections there, or sign up to have them sent to your email inbox each day. This website contains lots of encouragement for people who are trying to live out their faith in the workplace.