Troublesome Topic: Constant Personal Worship

This is the second of the three things I am calling “big stuff.” No one should think showing up at an event scheduled for ten or eleven o’clock on Sunday morning means he has worshipped God. Worship is telling God what I think of Him; it is telling Him what He is “worth” to me (the English word used to be pronounced “worthship” but that’s hard to say so it got shortened). Worship is a spiritual connection characterized largely by gratitude. However, Worship does not need to be something we do with others. In fact, the secret is to constantly worship God all day long, every day.

The Bible gives us several examples of people who worshipped the Lord in a private setting rather than in a regularly scheduled corporate worship experience. Isaac “bowed down on the head of his bed” (Gen 47:31) meaning that he could not get out of bed, the Levites on night duty in the house of the Lord were to continue praising and worshipping as they went about their duties (Ps 134:1),

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and David wrote many of his psalms while hiding from Saul in a cave or some other hideout.

Attending a worship service should not be the primary way we connect with God. It should be a supplemental way that we connect with God, but not the primary way. In fact, if attending a worship service is the most important part of your relationship with God then you have a very weak connection to God and it is quite possible that Satan has you right where he wants you.

If your connection to God is held together, not by the steel bands of significant personal time enjoyed in that connection, but by the singular thread of an hour in a service where someone else shares what God has been speaking to him, you are not much of a threat to Satan. He does not worry about your role in the battle of the ages. If he cannot get you to switch sides, he would have you be ineffective and weak while thinking you are strong. But the enemy of our souls is also very patient; if you are weak there is a chance that he will eventually be able to get you to lose ground and back away altogether from any spiritual commitment. Then you will belong to him but you will think you are still on God’s team because you are still attending those weekly meetings called worship services. You are still holding your end of the thread not realizing that the thread has been broken and hangs limply from your hand.

We need to learn to turn every experience into a worship experience, whether it is a difficult situation, a conversation with a friend, or time alone. I had a professor in seminary, Dr. Bill Vermillion, who had the gift of turning every class session into a worshipful experience. I was amazed. Now I see that God wants us to do the same everywhere we go.

This ability to be in constant worship starts with confession, quietness and thanksgiving toward God. There is a direct correlation between our personal time in prayer and our ability to appreciate times of corporate worship. Leslie Ludy says, “I never understood what true worship was until I experienced deep, daily intimacy with my Prince in my inner sanctuary.”

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I am advising that we do more personal worshipping than corporate worshipping. If we are constantly worshipping God, when we show up for a time of corporate worship we will already be worshipping, so it will be easy to continue doing so.

I fear most believers in America today show up at a corporate worship service totally unprepared in heart and mind and they expect the musicians and the speaker to lead them into worship. Many do not experience true worship because they have not prepared their souls for it.

A corporate worship experience is fraught with many distractions that pull us away from worshipping. Although we know we should be communing with God, we also know others are around us, so we wonder if they think we are singing well or poorly, if they think we should raise our hands more often or not as much, or if they like how we are dressed. In contrast personal times of worship connect us with God because He is our only audience. That is the way it should always be, but unfortunately, if other people are around us, they usually become our audience too.

 The sad reality is that Satan has tricked us into putting ourselves at the center of corporate worship instead of God. Listen to the complaints that people have about worship services and you will hear the word “I” used often. “I like a different type of music. I think the preacher uses too many stories; and that other preacher doesn’t use enough stories. I think the sanctuary is too hot (or too cold). I think the service is too long.” The complaints go on and on, with “I” being the key to all of them. Where is God in that?

 True worship cannot be about me. But corporate worship is often made about me (thus it is not worship at all). These gatherings have all the trappings of worship, music, prayer, and scriptural teaching, so we think that if we go to these gatherings we have worshipped. Others may be worshipping around me but that does not mean I am worshipping.

 Worship is vertical. Fellowship is horizontal. When we gather we have fellowship. We should also worship. And we should be encouraged in our worship by others who are worshipping around us. But if we make it about us it is not worship at all.

True worship is always a personal experience. On Sunday mornings there may be others around me, but my vertical connection to God is a personal matter. Thus we need to develop times of personal worship throughout the week. During these times of personal worship, I cannot make it about me. When I am alone with God there is no one to be concerned about except my singular audience—God.

The next lesson is God-glorifying Prayer


1: Ps 134:1

"Bless YHVH all you servants of YHVH who stand by night in the presence of YHVH.”


Leslie Ludy, Authentic Beauty, p. 184.