Feb 26, 2008
No Such Thing As A Worship Song?
“Worship is to feel in the heart.” - A.W. Tozer
You've probably heard the tongue-in-cheek definition of praise and worship by now: Praise is the fast songs, worship is the slow ones. Even though we smile at such a simplistic definition, I think that, maybe, we believe it more than we think we do. The word “worship” in the Bible literally meant “to prostrate.” Worship is a verb (to borrow from Robert Webber). It literally meant to fall down, but we use it as an adjective (or a music genre) more often than not. We talk about worship songs, worship services, worship events or worship leaders. For the sake of communication we've come to a point where we have to use these terms. We would get some funny looks if we invited people to a prostrate meeting to sing some prostrate songs led by a prostrate leader (some may even get visions of rubber gloves and run quickly away), but I think that using the word “worship” as an adjective has caused us to dilute the mystery that is “Worship”.
Let me offer a simple explanation of praise and worship: Praise comes out of the mouth, worship comes out of the heart.
This would mean, then, that praise is corporate while worship is private. There would be no “worship” songs, only praise. Everyone who sang would be praising, but only God would know whether they were worshiping. And we would have “Praise Leaders” or “Music Leaders” but, again, only God would know whether the leader was really worshiping or not. More than this, however, is that the responsibility of worship would no longer be on the leader, but on each person participating. And, of course, the Holy Spirit.