UP - Deepening Trinitarian worship, touching God's heart in prayer
As Christians we should be a worshipping people, worship is the total response of ourselves to the God who comes in grace seeking those who will worship Him in spirit and in truth. Worship should be our lifestyle, our motivation for all we do, the attitude of saying Yes to everything God says.
John Stott said “Worship is the pre-eminent duty of the church, not evangelism. That is not to say that evangelism is not important but worship is more important for three reasons.
1) Worship is our duty to God, evangelism is our duty to our neighbour and our duty to God takes precedence.
2) All Christians are worshippers but not all Christians are specifically evangelists.
3) Evangelism is a temporary activity for the church, worship will continue throughout eternity.”
We have been created for the worship of God
We have been redeemed for the worship of God.
We will live before Him forever for the worship of God.
John Frame puts it this way: "Redemption is the means; worship is the goal. In one sense, worship is the whole point of everything. It is the purpose of history, the goal of the whole Christian story. Worship is not one segment of the Christian life among others. Worship is the entire Christian life, seen as a priestly offering to God."
Matt Redman, one of the foremost modern Christian songwriters, said “Who on Earth are we that the awesome King of all eternity would spare a thought in our direction? Why would the God of yesterday, today, and forever- the One who was, is, and is to come- choose to bestow His loving attention upon the likes of us? The God of unspeakable glory is speaking to us in unmistakable words of love and grace.” This is the God we worship.
Paul Copan in his useful book "When God goes to Starbucks" answers those who suggest that God is arrogant and egotistical in expecting us to worship Him in this way:
"The knowledge and worship of God is the highest good possible. Not only this, worship expresses an awareness of God's - and thus our - proper place in the order of things, and it also transforms us into what we were designed to be. To be connected with God in worship not only humbles us. It's a lofty, lifelong endeavour that expands our minds, enriches our souls, makes us wise, and enables us to have a proper understanding. Knowing God is the highest pursuit possible. The loving and creating triune God is worthy of our allegiance, love and attention. .................To worship God fulfills our humanity rather than diminishes it."
In our worship services, we encourage people to respond to God in song, in prayer, in sacrament and in listening to His voice as His word is read and preached.
There are many useful books on worship and websites that offer new insights, the following are a few suggestions:
Ronald B. Allen (2001) The Wonder of Worship. Word Publishing.
Mike Pilavachi (1999) For the Audience of One. Regal.
Robert E. Webber (2004) Worship is a verb. Hendrickson Publishers.
Bishopdale Theological College http://www.bishopdale.ac.nz/ under the Resources tab, has videos on the EQUIP teaching sessions on "How Great is Our God - Heart of Worship"
The Fresh Expressions website is always worth looking through: http://www.freshexpressions.org.uk/
Robert Webber has published a number of useful books and two websites which continue his work are:
The 2012 Calvin Symposium on Worship has, among other things, some contemporary ideas of using the Psalms in worship.
Tom Wright has a thought provoking session on Praying the Psalms. Check out the playlist on:
The following four websites are good places to start for some newer ideas on worship but, as always on the web, discernment is essential to sift out the wheat from the chaff.
http://www.prayerscapes.com/ has some useful resources for prayer, including short videos
http://www.freshworship.org/node/92 this is the website for Grace, a Christian alternative worship community/network, and this linked item is some notes on getting started in alternative worship
http://www.the-next-wave.info/ has some interesting material on worship in the archives.
http://www.alternativeworship.org/ has some provocative and stimulating ideas about alternative ways of worshipping God together but also has useful links to other websites.