"The worship of God is nowhere defined in Scripture," according to Vine's Complete Expository Dictionary of Old and New Testament Words. I believe the reason for this is because worship cannot be defined.
Worship comes from such a deep place within us. It is such a powerful outpouring of our hearts toward the Lord, and it represents such love, gratitude and devotion that we cannot put it into words.
In fact, worship is so personal and intimate that maybe we should not even attempt to define it.
Vine's does say that worship "is not confined to praise; broadly, it may be regarded as the direct acknowledgement to God, of His nature, attributes, ways and claims" and that it can mean "to serve," or to "do service to." Some sources also say that to worship means "to kiss," which connotes great affection and intimacy.
Although we cannot find a definition of worship in the Word of God, the Scriptures are clear in their instructions and observations about it. For example:
"Give to the Lord the glory due His name. ... Oh, worship the Lord in the beauty of holiness!" (1 Chr.16:29, NKJV).
"O come, let us worship and bow down, let us kneel before the Lord our Maker [in reverent praise and supplication]" (Ps. 95:6, The Amplified Bible).
"Extol the Lord our God and worship at His holy hill, for the Lord our God is holy!" (Ps. 99:9).
"I will worship toward Your holy temple and praise Your name for Your loving-kindness and for Your truth and faithfulness; for You have exalted above all else Your name and Your word and You have magnified Your word above all Your name!" (Ps.138:2).
Worship is so much more than just singing songs. It is a condition of the heart and a state of mind. We can be worshiping passionately without singing a single note. It is born in our hearts, it fills our thoughts, and it is expressed through our mouths and through our bodies.
For example, we can worship God by dancing, clapping, lifting our hands, playing an instrument, giving tithes and offerings, marching around, or sitting perfectly still, but our actions or our positions are simply reflections of what is in our hearts.
One posture often used in worship and prayer is kneeling. Kneeling is a posture of humility, but it is also a position of incredible power. As an act of humility, kneeling affects us in a positive way because it allows us physically to express our total dependence upon the Lord.
To kneel is to say to Him: "I need You, God. I want to follow You and obey You. I am desperate for You!"
The world often thinks of worship as "religion," which could not be further from the biblical concept of worship. It's about a personal relationship, spiritual intimacy and passionate expressions of devotion from people who love God with all their hearts. This is true worship.
John 4:23 says God is looking for this kind of worshiper and this type of worship: "A time will come, however, indeed it is already here, when the true (genuine) worshipers will worship the Father in spirit and in truth (reality); for the Father is seeking just such people as these as His worshipers."
I have always been a bit saddened by the fact that God has to seek true worshipers. There should be an abundance of them who are dedicated to Him.
I find it interesting that He does not want just anybody to worship Him. He wants true and genuine people. He does not want to be worshiped out of fear, obligation or religion.
True worship is a result of intimacy with God. That is why worship is so important to our prayer lives.
Our hearts have to be connected, and we have to be focused on Him. We cannot give God lip service. We must express the worship that abides in us.
Joyce Meyer is a New York Times best-selling author and one of the world's leading practical Bible teachers. She has written more than 70 books, including the popular Beauty for Ashes and Battlefield of the Mind, and her most recent, I Dare You (all FaithWords). She is also the founder of Joyce Meyer Ministries Inc. and the host of Enjoying Everyday Life radio and TV programs, which air on hundreds of stations worldwide. To read past columns in Charisma by Joyce Meyer, log on at charismamag.com/meyer.