What Is Worship?

Is worship only found on Sunday morning between the first strum of the guitar to when the house lights are raised and the amen is said? Most of us know that worship is not confined to those minutes, but how do we reset our lifestyles to be lifestyles of worship toward God?

I’m not sure how I would define worship in my own words. I want to use words like awe, reverence, sincere regard, true love, peace, etc. All of these words and phrases help to paint a picture of what worship truly is, but they all fall short of capturing the breadth of it.

That’s why to understand how to live a life of worship we first need to understand what worship is and what it means.

Worship (verb)

1.  To honor or show reverence for as a Above divine being or supernatural power.

2.  To regard with great or extravagant respect, honor, or devotion (as in regard to a celebrity)

I’ve had some amazing opportunities to worship and be surrounded by over 3,000 people, all of our voices becoming one in a song of worship. You could feel God moving and you could hear Him through the words sang by thousands of voices in unison. But I’ve also been a part of amazingly intimate worship sessions with loving friends where no words were spoken and only instruments flowed.

How could two vastly different encounters lead to the same result? Honestly, I think the answer is simple and amazing to reflect on. When I was crammed into a building with thousands of other people, we all lifted our voices, our hands, and our hearts. We were no longer judging the people around us based on trivial things. Random friendships formed, strangers prayed for each other, and complete harmony was found between God’s children. And in the tiny youth group room with three close friends and our instruments, the same thing happened. Harmony occurred when we focused on God.

“God is not a God of disorder but of peace. As in all the churches of the saints.” -1 Corinthians 14:33

God doesn’t promote disorder. It is completely outside of His nature, and when we worship we line up with God’s will, which is peace and harmony.

Some people enter into the most amazing and awe-inspiring times of worship while sitting in complete silence in nature. They are in harmony with what God has created. They are joyful, and they are peaceful.

What is worship.png

In my search for the definition of worship and what it means to people I put a question out through multiple social media platforms asking, “How would you describe worship in your own words?” The answers were… unexpected. They ranged from ‘expressing your beliefs joyfully’ to ‘worshiping objects and only using the word worship as a joke’ to ‘following something or someone blindly so you’ll get something in return’.

They were all answers in people’s own words, and their opinions, which are not necessarily the truth.

But the hour is coming, and is now here, when the true worshipers will worship the Father in spirit and truth, for the Father is seeking such people to worship him. -John 4:23

A few words most answers had in common were joy, feeling, peace, and surrender. Most all of the answers included some of those words. But is worship a feeling? Do we simply worship God to get tingles down our spines, and a happy thought in our head? If so, then wouldn’t that be known as a spiritual high? We use something to make us feel a certain way. It’s a little harsh I know, but in all reality that’s all it is.

We become abusive towards the act of worship and do it to support our habit of feeling good about ourselves. We leave church on Sunday and sometimes complain about how you just weren’t “that into worship” or “worship just didn’t feel good today.” Well worship honestly wasn’t for you. It never is. A concert is for you, the radio is for you, but worship is for God. When we say we just “weren’t feeling worship” we should really check our hearts and minds and realign them with God and His word.

Now, don’t get me wrong, worship is a personal experience. For example, I find myself in really deep worship when I’m painting, or out for a walk, or writing. But others find worship in ways I wasn’t wired to connect with. I understand that. And having feelings when you worship is not a bad thing, not at all. I do, however, caution you to keep your worship focused on God and make it sincere towards Him.

I appeal to you therefore, brothers, by the mercies of God, to present your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and acceptable to God, which is your spiritual worship. -Romans 12:1

I have a challenge for you before I’m done: don’t simply take my word for what worship is. Research, ask questions, and start conversation about what worship looks like to others and figure out how to open your lifestyle to allow worship in every aspect. Above all, go to Scripture and ask the Holy Spirit to show you the answers to your questions.

I would love to hear what your thoughts are and how you would describe worship.    


Hello, my name is Ashley Shrader. I’m 19 and absolutely in love with sharing joy and love. I am so thankful that God has given me the opportunity to serve Him through my life.