What is Worship?

I strongly encourage you to stay with me through this first part of this column. I do not normally get so involved in just Bible teaching. But in this case it is necessary to look at the meaning of the word Worship. I pray that as you read this you will find yourself worshiping our Lord and God now and forever!

Let us first look in the Old Testament which was written in Hebrew.
In Strong’s Greek/Hebrew Dictionary:
The word “Worship’:
Word number 7812 in Hebrew is shachah (shaw-khaw’);
Meaning “a primitive root; to depress, i.e. prostrate (especially reflexive, in homage to royalty or God)”:
Translated in the KJV as to:
bow (self) down,
fall down (flat),
humbly beseech,
do (make) obeisance,
do reverence,
make to stoop,

Vine’s Expository Dictionary:
“WORSHIP’ in Hebrew
shachah 7812, “to worship, prostrate oneself, bow down.” This word is found in modern Hebrew in the sense of “to bow or stoop,” but not in the general sense of “to worship.” The fact that it is found more than 170 times in the Hebrew Bible shows something of its cultural significance. It is found for the first time in Genesis 18:2, where Abraham “bowed himself toward the ground” before the 3 messengers who announced that Sarah would have a son.
The act of bowing down in homage is generally done before a superior or a ruler. Thus, David “bowed” himself before Saul in 1 Samuel 24:8. Sometimes it is a social or economic superior to whom one bows, as when Ruth “bowed” to the ground before Boaz Ruth 2:10. In a dream, Joseph saw the sheaves of his brothers “bowing down” before his sheaf Genesis 37:5,9-10. Shachah is used as the common term for coming before God in worship, as in 1 Samuel 15:25 and Jeremiah 7:2. Sometimes it is in conjunction with another Hebrew verb for bowing down physically, followed by “worship,” as in Exodus . 34:8: “And Moses made haste, and bowed his head toward the earth, and worshiped.” Other gods and idols are also the object of such worship by one’s prostrating oneself before them Isaiah 2:20; 44:15,17.
(From Vine’s Expository Dictionary of Biblical Words)
(Copyright (C) 1985, Thomas Nelson Publishers)

In the New Testament which was mostly written in Greek the word that is used for Worship is:
4352 proskuneo (pros-koo-neh’-o);
From 4314 and a probable derivative of 2965
(meaning to kiss, like a dog licking his master’s hand);
to fawn or crouch to, i.e. (literally or figuratively) prostrate oneself in homage
(do reverence to, adore):

Notes: (1) The worship of God is nowhere defined in Scripture. A consideration of the above verbs shows that it is not confined to praise; broadly it may be regarded as the direct acknowledgement to God, of His nature, attributes, ways and claims, whether by the outgoing of the heart in praise and thanksgiving or by deed done in such acknowledgment. (2) In Acts 17:25 therapeuo, “to serve, do service to” is rendered “is worshiped.” See CURE, HEAL.
(From Vine’s Expository Dictionary of Biblical Words)
(Copyright (C) 1985, Thomas Nelson Publishers)

*After you have finished this page on Worship. Please go to this page where I give the scriptures about being prostrate or laying flat on your face in Worship. It is very very important to see these for yourself. Our link of our site is: Click “Positions of Prayer” # 2

The Heritage Bible always translates Worship in the following way.
Psalms 29:1-2 in the Holy Bible.

“Give to Jehovah, Oh you
children of the Almighty, give to
Jehovah heavy glory and strength.
Give to Jehovah the heavy glory of his name;
prostrate yourselves
to Jehovah in the adornment of holiness.”

Today in the modern church worship has become synonymous with music. Some people have even been taught that you only worship when you sing! Should a song help you worship God then great, you can worship and sing. But to emphasize music above other ways of worship is to totally miss what worship is.

Have you ever seen a ‘Worship leader or team’ lay down on the floor or ask the crowd of people to lay down and prostrate themself before the Lord God?

During the entire life of Jesus there is no record that anyone sang before or after He spoke. No record of Jesus leading a crowd to sing and worship. There is no record of the 12 disciples being a singing group.

Jesus and the disciples did sing at the end of the ‘Lord’s Supper’ or ‘Holy Communion’ or the giving the ‘New Covenant’. Matthew 26:30 “After singing a hymn, they went out to the Mount of Olives.’ and Mark 14:26.

When Jesus was talking with the woman at the well in John 4th chapter he told her “God is Spirit and those who worship Him must worship in Spirit and truth.” (“God is Spirit, and those prostrating themselves to him are  bound to prostrate themselves to Him in the Spirit and in truth.” Heritage Bible.) The Greek word is ‘proskuneo’ with the meaning given above. Jesus did not teach the lady a song and they started to sing. No, I think she worshiped in believing in Jesus and going to tell the men in the town about Jesus and they came out and believed in Jesus and Jesus stayed there two days.

I think the definitions of worship above will open our mind to the possibilities of worship in many forms and ways that to the Lord is worship. I just want you to think of the following and ask God who is Father, God who is Holy Spirit and God who is Jesus to open your heart and mind to worship Him now and forever!

The best place to understand worship is to look at the life of Jesus!

During the temptation of Jesus in Matthew 4:8-11 we read:

“Again, the Devil took Him (Jesus) to a very high mountain and showed Him all the kingdoms of the world and their splendor. And said to Him, 

“I will give You all these things if You will fall down and (worship) Prostrate yourself to me.

Then Jesus told him, “Go away, Satan! For it is written:

You shall prostrate yourself (Worship) to the Lord your God,

and serve Him Only! 

Then the Devil left Him, and immediately angels came and ministered to Him.”

During Jesus conversation with the Woman at the Well in 

John 4:23-24

“But a time is coming and has now come when the true worshipers will (worship) prostrate themselves to the Father in spirit and in truth, for the Father is seeking such as these to (worship) prostrate themselves to Him.

God is spirit, and those who prostrate themselves to (worship) Him must prostrate themselves (worship) in Spirit and Truth.”

The woman said to Him, “I know that Messiah is coming, He who is called Christ when that One comes, He will declare all things to us.

Jesus said to her, I AM the one speaking to you.”

Worship is about God: Father, Son and Holy Spirit. It’s purpose is not to give us a good feeling but that can be a by product of worship.

We should live our lives in Worship. 

Worship focuses on who God is…

Praise and thanksgiving on what God had done…

Worship is condition of the heart toward God

Praise is a action of expression of thanks to God

Worship is to only be done for God alone!!

Praise is expressing thanks for what God has done.

We can praise people, as well as God; but we are only to 

Worship God!

I was doing a 7 day and night prayer fast in the center of Cape Town, South Africa in 1986. Living and sleeping outdoors in a park.

As I sat in the cold rain contemplating the things of God, I suddenly said to the Lord, “Oh God, show me something profound, something deeper than I’ve ever thought about before, something I need, something that is the ultimate in understanding and revelation that I have been blinded to.” The words from John, the fourth chapter, verses twenty-three and twenty-four came to my mind: “But the hour cometh, and now is, when the true worshipers shall worship the Father in spirit and in truth: for the Father seeketh such to worship Him. God is a Spirit; and they that worship Him must worship Him in spirit and in truth.” These words staggered me. I had never really dwelt on them, even though I had preached so many sermons from this very chapter. I was now thinking differently than I had ever thought about this particular passage before. What does it mean worship in spirit and in truth? Jesus said that from then on, that’s how we were to worship and yet I had never really studied what that meant. Then I began to see an unfolding picture in my mind. Jesus said God is a Spirit. God is Spirit. What does that mean? What is Spirit? Spirit is presence, not a term, it is the presence of God. God said to Moses in Exodus 33:14, “My Presence shall go with thee.” Jesus said we must worship the Father in spirit and in truth. This means that where God’s Spirit is, His Presence is. Where God’s Presence is, His Spirit is and where His Spirit is, His Presence is. I have presence. I occupy space where my body is. That is my physical presence. If someone is sitting near me talking to me they would say, “I am in the presence of Arthur Blessitt.” I have a presence but God also has a Presence. It is where His Spirit is. So true worship then is when we are in His Presence with our presence. Jesus said, “If you have seen Me, you have seen the Father.” We are to worship in His Presence. He is here to those who are born into his kingdom we are with Him. His Presence is deep, personal, imminent and always available to the believer. Wherever I am, God is. You can come into my presence but you can come into God’s Presence and live in His Presence. As we worship Him in spirit, we recognize His Presence. Jesus was speaking to the Samaritan woman as the story is described in John the fourth chapter. They had their special mountain where they felt that God was. As she said in verse twenty, “Our fathers worshiped in this mountain and You say that in Jerusalem is the place where men ought to worship.” For this woman and most of the people of her day, the concept was that God’s Presence inhabited a certain geographical place. Jesus was now saying no, not in that mountain, nor in Jerusalem shall we worship the Father but from now on, the true worshipers shall worship the Father in spirit and in truth. Jesus was saying now you can worship Him anywhere. He will be with us, not a geographical location, but His Spirit, His Presence, will be wherever you are. When God is present, all God is present. There is no part of God, only God. He is all the time. It is we who are such narrow funnels that little manifestation of His presence and Spirit is revealed. The problem is not that God in all His glory and works is not present, but that we limit the manifestation of His presence. God is a Spirit. We must be present in His presence. This is truly worship. Again the Bible says He inhabits the praises of His people (Psalm 22:3). His Presence is within our praises while we are within His presence. He is in us while we are in Him. The extent of the revelation of His glorious Presence is available only to them that are available and capable of receiving it. The depth of which we may know the intimate heart of God is also based upon our capacity and sensitivity to receive it.

God had me contemplate upon the Spirit throughout the afternoon and early night. Then I moved on to the next word TRUTH. Jesus said we must worship the Father in spirit and in truth. What does that word truth mean? In essence, truth means total honesty. Truth is absolute revealing. Truth means nothing concealed or covered, naked like Adam and Eve. The first man God ever spoke to was unclothed. The first woman God ever spoke to was unclothed. The first couple God ever spoke to was unclothed. God walked with them in the Garden. He talked with them. They were together naked in the presence of God. This was true worship and this is what we are to be, Jesus said. But something happened. When Adam and Eve sinned against God, being deceived by Satan, the first thing that happened was they knew that they were naked and they made a covering of fig leaves. Then they hid from the presence of God. The Lord came walking in the Garden and called unto Adam. “Where art thou?” Adam said, “I was afraid because I was naked and I hid myself.” And God said, “Who told you that you were naked?” Adam and Eve had never seen any clothes. They had never heard of clothes. And God said who told you you were naked? It was Satan; and people have from that time until this, been trying to cover up and hide from God.

In chapter four of the Book of John as Jesus is speaking to the woman at the well.  Notice how this woman told the truth, yet lied. In verse fifteen, the woman said to Jesus: “Give me this water that I thirst not neither come here to draw” as Jesus had told her that He had living water. Now she wanted what Jesus had to offer but in order to receive it, she had to come in truth. Therefore, Jesus said to her, “Go call your husband and come here.”

The woman answered and said, “I have no husband.” Jesus said, “You have well said ‘I have no husband’ (You told the truth). For you have had five husbands and he whom you now have is not your husband. In that you told the truth.” Now here, you see the typical manifestation of telling the truth and lying at the same time. Technically, she told the truth. ‘I have no husband,’ but basically, Christ was revealing to her that He wanted openness and truth, real truth not technical truth because in essence she had lied. She had had five husbands and was now living with a man though not technically her husband. She got the point immediately because she said, “I perceive that You are a prophet,” because now she was dealing with someone who knew her, not just heard her words. That is what truth is. Truth is open, exposed, with no covering of our will, mind, or motive. If I were to call my wife on the telephone from here and ask her how she is, she could say, “Fine” and I would believe her and accept that she told the truth. But she could have had an accident and broken her legs and be in a cast in great pain, but since I am not in her presence, I only have her words and in a technical sense, she might be fine, but not truly fine in the greater meaning of the word. If I were present with her, she could not conceal that condition. That is how we are to worship in spirit and in truth. We worship in His Presence (Spirit), uncovered and unashamed (truth). Jesus was showing her that God’s Presence was not in that mountain or in Jerusalem but that the temple of God’s Presence shall be within you. The holy of holies of God’s Presence will be your heart. (I Corinthians 6:19-20).

This woman did recognize the presence of God and did comprehend the truth of her condition, Jesus revealed something to the woman that He did not even say to the disciples when she asked about the Messiah. Jesus said, “I that speak to you am He.” After the resurrection of Jesus, as two of the disciples were on the road to the village of Emmaus, Jesus also joined them along the road and they spoke to Him. He taught them all the things from Moses through the prophets concerning the Christ. Finally, when they arrived at the house in the evening, Jesus sat down and joined them for the meal. Jesus took the bread and blessed it and gave it to them, their eyes were opened and they knew Him. Jesus had been with them along the road that day but they had not worshiped Him. Their hearts were sad because they thought He was still in the tomb. True worship is the recognition of His presence in our presence and the understanding that He knows us and we are open and free and uncovered with Him. The amazing concluding work is this that Jesus said, “The Father seeketh such to worship Him.” God is looking for those who will worship in His presence, in His spirit and truth with nothing hidden. If we reveal ourselves, He will reveal Himself.

The above is taken from my book “Arthur A Peacemaker” You can read the book online at: www.blessitt.com/arthur-a-peacemaker-chapters/Copyright © 1986 Arthur Blessitt 

“Thomas said to Him, “Lord, we do not know where You are going, and how can we know the way?”

Jesus said to him, I AM the Way, the Truth and the Life. No one comes to the Father except through Me.”

We worship God as we:

Walk in His Ways,
Give to the Poor,
Visit the Sick,
Care for the Widows and Orphans,
Provide for our Family,
Visit those in Prison,
As we give a Cup of cool Water,
Forgive Others,
Have Mercy,
Humble Ourselves,
We Keep His Commandments,
Love one Another,
Deny Self,
Take up our Cross,
Follow Jesus,
Are filled with the Holy Spirit,
Lift up Jesus,
Tell others about Jesus and His Salvation and Love,
Help others,
Speak of Him,
As we Meditate on Him Day and Night,
Read His Word,
As Two or Three are Gathered in His Name,
Go into all the world,
Make Disciples,
As we are Baptized,
In Communion as we take the Bread and the Wine,
Wash one another’s Feet,
By Living by Faith,
As we give our bodies unto God a Living Sacrifice,
As we give money,
In Prayer,
Believe His Promises and His Word,
We are Filled with the Holy Spirit,
When we Walk in the Spirit,
When we are peacemakers,
We live with a Pure Heart,
When we expect the return of the Lord Jesus,
When we speak of Jesus,
We preach the Cross of Jesus,
When we tell the Good News of Jesus to Others.

“Therefore, whether you eat or drink, or whatever you do, do all to the glory of God” 1 Corinthians 10:31

“And whatever you do in word or deed, do all in the Name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through Him.” Colossians 3:17

Now Hear Jesus speaking: (Remember the meaning of worship is given above but I will use the common word below)

“You shall worship the Lord thy God, and Him only shall you serve.’
(Matthew 4:10 in the Holy Bible)

“God is Spirit, and those who worship Him must worship in spirit and truth.”
The woman said to Him, “I know that Messiah is coming” (who is called Christ). “When He comes, He will tell us all things.”
Jesus said to her, “I who speak to you am He.”
(John 4:24-26 in the Holy Bible)

Now we take a look at Heaven!

And they sang a new song, saying:
“You are worthy to take the scroll, and to open its seals;
for You were slain, and have redeemed us to God by Your blood out of every tribe and tongue and people and nation,
And have made us kings and priests to our God; and we shall reign on the earth.”
Then I looked, and I heard the voice of many angels around the throne, the living creatures, and the elders; and the number of them was ten thousand times ten thousand, and thousands of thousands,
saying with a loud voice:
” Worthy is the Lamb who was slain to receive power and riches and wisdom, and strength and honor and glory and blessing!”
And every creature which is in heaven and on the earth and under the earth and such as are in the sea, and all that are in them, I heard saying:
“Blessing and honor and glory and power be to Him who sits on the throne, and to the Lamb, forever and ever!”
(Revelation 5:9-13 in the Holy Bible)

“ After these things I looked, and behold,
a great multitude which no one could number
of all nations, tribes, peoples, and tongues,
standing before the throne and before the Lamb,
clothed with white robes, with palm branches in their hands,
and crying out with a loud voice, saying,
“Salvation belongs to our God who sits on the throne, and to the Lamb!”
All the angels stood around the throne and the elders and the four living creatures,
fell on their faces before the throne and worshiped God,
saying: “Amen! Blessing and glory and wisdom, thanksgiving and honor and power and might, be to our God forever and ever. Amen.”
Then one of the elders answered, saying to me,
” Who are these arrayed in white robes, and where did they come from?”
And I said to him, “Sir, you know.”
So he said to me, “These are the ones who come out of the great tribulation, and washed their robes and made them white in the blood of the Lamb.
” Therefore they are before the throne of God, and serve Him day and night in His temple. And He who sits on the throne will dwell among them.
” They shall neither hunger anymore nor thirst anymore; the sun shall not strike them, nor any heat;
” for the Lamb who is in the midst of the throne will shepherd them and lead them to living fountains of waters. And God will wipe away every tear from their eyes.’
(Revelation 7:9-17 in the Holy Bible)

He who testifies to these things says, “Surely I am coming quickly.” Amen. Even so, come, Lord Jesus’!
“Revelation 22:20 in the Holy Bible)

The best place to understand worship is to look at the life of Jesus!

Worship is about God: Father, Son and Holy Spirit. It’s purpose is not to give us a good feeling but that can be a by product of worship. It is not about exulting one’s self but carrying your cross and following Jesus.

A pilgrim follower of Jesus,

Arthur and Denise Blessitt  www.blessitt.com
Luke 18:1