While it’s true that God is the object of all true worship, it has a profound effect on us, too. It informs and transforms us. As God’s people, it reminds us of who we belong to and where we are going. Worship should become like breathing—it happens naturally and gives us life.
Let’s look at 20 Bible verses about worship, to illustrate its significance and centrality.
1. Worship and God’s blessing (Exodus 23:25)
Worship the Lord your God, and his blessing will be on your food and water. I will take away sickness from among you.
God raised up a people whose very existence was a testament to his goodness and faithfulness. Their worship was tied to very specific expectations for living. This law would set them apart from their neighbors and put God on display.
At the beginning of their relationship with God, cause and effect was easier to interpret. If they were obedient and faithful in their worship, God blessed them. If they weren’t, God withheld his blessing until they repented.
Things became infinitely more complicated once Israel embraced rulers like other nations.
2. God’s apologetic for worship (Deuteronomy 10:14–22)
To the Lord your God belong the heavens, even the highest heavens, the earth and everything in it. Yet the Lord set his affection on your ancestors and loved them, and he chose you, their descendants, above all the nations—as it is today.
Circumcise your hearts, therefore, and do not be stiff-necked any longer. For the Lord your God is God of gods and Lord of lords, the great God, mighty and awesome, who shows no partiality and accepts no bribes. He defends the cause of the fatherless and the widow, and loves the foreigner residing among you, giving them food and clothing. And you are to love those who are foreigners, for you yourselves were foreigners in Egypt.
Fear the Lord your God and serve him. Hold fast to him and take your oaths in his name. He is the one you praise; he is your God, who performed for you those great and awesome wonders you saw with your own eyes. Your ancestors who went down into Egypt were seventy in all, and now the Lord your God has made you as numerous as the stars in the sky.
Throughout the Bible, God continually reminds the Israelites of what he has done for them and why he is worthy of worship. Here the Lord reminds Israel that:
- He is the Creator.
- He chose to love Israel.
- He continues to love Israel’s descendants.
- He is above all other gods.
- He is righteous and benevolent.
- He has remained faithful to his people.
3. Let the heavens rejoice (1 Chronicles 16:23-31)
Sing to the Lord, all the earth;
proclaim his salvation day after day.
Declare his glory among the nations,
his marvelous deeds among all peoples.
For great is the Lord and most worthy of praise;
he is to be feared above all gods.
For all the gods of the nations are idols,
but the Lord made the heavens.
Splendor and majesty are before him;
strength and joy are in his dwelling place.
Ascribe to the Lord, all you families of nations,
ascribe to the Lord glory and strength.
Ascribe to the Lord the glory due his name;
bring an offering and come before him.
Worship the Lord in the splendor of his holiness.
Tremble before him, all the earth!
The world is firmly established; it cannot be moved.
Let the heavens rejoice, let the earth be glad;
let them say among the nations, “The Lord reigns!”
Another regularly recurring scriptural theme is one of nature’s response to its Creator. By doing precisely what the Lord fashioned it to do, all of creation proclaims God’s goodness and glory.
4. Through the praise of children and infants (Psalm 8:1–4)
Lord, our Lord,
how majestic is your name in all the earth!
You have set your glory
in the heavens.
Through the praise of children and infants
you have established a stronghold against your enemies,
to silence the foe and the avenger.
When I consider your heavens,
the work of your fingers,
the moon and the stars,
which you have set in place,
what is mankind that you are mindful of them,
human beings that you care for them?
The Psalmist reflects on humanity’s insignificance in light of the vastness and majesty of Creation. But even when you consider the frailness and vulnerability of infants, their praise still plays a significant role in the order of all things.
5. Come let us bow down in worship (Psalm 95:1-6)
Come, let us sing for joy to the Lord;
let us shout aloud to the Rock of our salvation.
Let us come before him with thanksgiving
and extol him with music and song.
For the Lord is the great God,
the great King above all gods.
In his hand are the depths of the earth,
and the mountain peaks belong to him.
The sea is his, for he made it,
and his hands formed the dry land.
Come, let us bow down in worship,
let us kneel before the Lord our Maker
It’s wise to reflect a moment on Israel’s full expression of worship. They come to God in exuberant worship full of shouting and song, but they also bow low before him. Our worship should be physical, evocative, and expressive.
6. A prophetic hymn (Psalm 96:7–10)
Ascribe to the Lord, all you families of nations,
ascribe to the Lord glory and strength.
Ascribe to the Lord the glory due his name;
bring an offering and come into his courts.
Worship the Lord in the splendor of his holiness;
tremble before him, all the earth.
Say among the nations, “The Lord reigns.”
The world is firmly established, it cannot be moved;
he will judge the peoples with equity.”
Isaiah talks about a time when Gentiles will assemble to worship Israel’s God (Isaiah 2:2–3). Centuries before that prophecy is given, the psalmist calls on the nations to gather and worship the Lord for his holiness and goodness and to proclaim his supremacy to other nations.
7. A final worshipful psalm (Psalm 150)
Praise the Lord.
Praise God in his sanctuary;
praise him in his mighty heavens.
Praise him for his acts of power;
praise him for his surpassing greatness.
Praise him with the sounding of the trumpet,
praise him with the harp and lyre,
praise him with timbrel and dancing,
praise him with the strings and pipe,
praise him with the clash of cymbals,
praise him with resounding cymbals.
Let everything that has breath praise the Lord.
Praise the Lord.
The Psalms function as Israel’s hymnal, so it’s significant how human and honest they are. From excitement to irritation, every human emotion is on display in its pages. In fact, an overwhelming number of psalms are laments, communicating frustration and sadness. So, it’s notable that the psalter closes with a psalm that is so simple and buoyant in its praise.
8. Worship is evangelism (Isaiah 12:4–6)
In that day you will say:
“Give praise to the Lord, proclaim his name;
make known among the nations what he has done,
and proclaim that his name is exalted.
Sing to the Lord, for he has done glorious things;
let this be known to all the world.
Shout aloud and sing for joy, people of Zion,
for great is the Holy One of Israel among you.”
Looking forward to the coming Messiah, Isaiah promises that the nations would learn about all God has done and come to believe. But do you see what draws the nations in? It’s not their well-reasoned arguments; it’s praise. By proclaiming what the Lord has done, they make him known among the nations. This is an important concept to remember when trying to grow a church!
9. I exalt you and praise your name (Isaiah 25:1)
Lord, you are my God;
I will exalt you and praise your name,
for in perfect faithfulness
you have done wonderful things,
things planned long ago.
Isaiah not only praises God for his faithfulness but also for his long-reaching plan. The prophet doesn’t see God as a reactive parent struggling to respond to one surprise after another. On the contrary, God is the first mover who is fulfilling a master plan.
10. God defends the defenseless (Jeremiah 20:13)
Sing to the Lord!
Give praise to the Lord!
He rescues the life of the needy
from the hands of the wicked.
Jeremiah’s praise isn’t solely personal. He doesn’t just worship God for doing kind things for him. His worship arises out of what he recognizes God doing for others. The Lord is also worthy of worship because of his tender care for the most vulnerable.
11. Praising the God of my ancestors (Daniel 2:19–23)
During the night the mystery was revealed to Daniel in a vision. Then Daniel praised the God of heaven and said:
“Praise be to the name of God for ever and ever;
wisdom and power are his.
He changes times and seasons;
he deposes kings and raises up others.
He gives wisdom to the wise
and knowledge to the discerning.
He reveals deep and hidden things;
he knows what lies in darkness,
and light dwells with him.
I thank and praise you, God of my ancestors:
You have given me wisdom and power,
you have made known to me what we asked of you,
you have made known to us the dream of the king.”
Daniel was in a precarious position. He was exiled in Babylon with most of Judah. As a young noble of promise, he had the king’s ear—but that didn’t make things easy for him. There wasn’t a moment when he wasn’t on shaky ground. One misstep and he could find himself in danger (as he did in Daniel 6).
Despite this constant peril, we see Daniel as a man of faith and influence. He wasn’t afraid to speak his mind and even challenge the powers that be when necessary. And it all springs from what we see in this passage. Daniel worshipped a powerful and faithful God.
12. Worship the Lord your God (Matthew 4:8–10)
Again, the devil took him to a very high mountain and showed him all the kingdoms of the world and their splendor.“All this I will give you,” he said, “if you will bow down and worship me.”
Jesus said to him, “Away from me, Satan! For it is written: ‘Worship the Lord your God, and serve him only.’”
Jesus’ wilderness temptations could have provided a shortcut to “glory.” Instead of a road of degradation and sorrow, he could have opted for an alternative route of influence, and all he would need to do is offer the devil worship.
But the Lord understands that no outcome’s worth withholding worship from God. And when we rightly ascribe worship to God, no sadness or hardship will have the final word.
13. Worship in spirit and truth (John 4:19–24)
“Sir,” the woman said, “I can see that you are a prophet. Our ancestors worshiped on this mountain, but you Jews claim that the place where we must worship is in Jerusalem.”
“Woman,” Jesus replied, “believe me, a time is coming when you will worship the Father neither on this mountain nor in Jerusalem. You Samaritans worship what you do not know; we worship what we do know, for salvation is from the Jews. Yet a time is coming and has now come when the true worshipers will worship the Father in the Spirit and in truth, for they are the kind of worshipers the Father seeks. God is spirit, and his worshipers must worship in the Spirit and in truth.”
Jesus was speaking with a Samaritan woman at Jacob’s well near a town called Sychar. After he made a revealing statement about her lifestyle, the woman pivoted away from the personal conversation. She asks Jesus to settle a dispute between Jews and Samaritans about the proper place for worship.
After Jesus assures her that salvation would come to the world through Israel, he tells her that worship will be changing. Soon it won’t matter where you are. Because God is spirit, the need to take a pilgrimage to a specific location to worship will be unnecessary. God’s people will be filled with the Spirit, and God’s presence will be with them.
As followers of Christ, we don’t have to gather in a specific place to worship in the presence of God. Wherever we worship him, his presence is there.
14. Worship when everything is going wrong (Acts 16:22–25)
The crowd joined in the attack against Paul and Silas, and the magistrates ordered them to be stripped and beaten with rods. After they had been severely flogged, they were thrown into prison, and the jailer was commanded to guard them carefully. When he received these orders, he put them in the inner cell and fastened their feet in the stocks.
About midnight Paul and Silas were praying and singing hymns to God, and the other prisoners were listening to them.
It’s proper and appropriate to worship God when everything is going according to plan. It’s a little more challenging when everything is going wrong, but that might be the best time for worship.
Luke tells us that Paul and Silas were arrested and severely flogged, and then they were chained in jail cells. Their reaction? Prayer and worship. And then Luke adds the very critical detail that “the other prisoners were listening to them.”
It’s in our best interest to worship God when things are complicated, and the path is difficult to discern. Luke helps us see that the people around us are watching how we respond to tough times.
Churches in the Wilderness
Navigating COVID-19 and the New Normal
The questions you ask yourself today will determine whether your church merely survives in this period of transition—or thrives. This ebook will help you position your church for the new normal.
15. This is your true and proper worship (Romans 12:1–2)
Therefore, I urge you, brothers and sisters, in view of God’s mercy, to offer your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and pleasing to God—this is your true and proper worship. Do not conform to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is—his good, pleasing and perfect will.
Often when we think of worship, we think of singing or the liturgy found in church services. Paul reminds the church in Rome that their true act of worship is found in the believer’s sacrificial living. It’s our worshipful lifestyle that sets us apart from the culture around us.
16. Psalms, hymns, and spiritual songs (Ephesians 5:15–20)
Be very careful, then, how you live—not as unwise but as wise, making the most of every opportunity, because the days are evil. Therefore do not be foolish, but understand what the Lord’s will is. Do not get drunk on wine, which leads to debauchery. Instead, be filled with the Spirit, speaking to one another with psalms, hymns, and songs from the Spirit. Sing and make music from your heart to the Lord, always giving thanks to God the Father for everything, in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ.
In his instructions to the Ephesian church, Paul encourages a kind of living that would have stood apart in the ancient world. Instead of embracing the self-indulgent practices of those around them, Christians were encouraged to take advantage of every opportunity.
The apostle considered hedonism to be foolish and only leading to more corruption. However, being filled with the Spirit would result in a community of worship, exhortation, and encouragement.
17. Every knee shall bow (Philippians 2:9–11)
Therefore God exalted him to the highest place
and gave him the name that is above every name,
that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow,
in heaven and on earth and under the earth,
and every tongue acknowledge that Jesus Christ is Lord,
to the glory of God the Father.
Paul assures us that one way or another, every knee will bow before Jesus and every tongue will confess that he is Lord. But he tells us this after revealing that Jesus is truly worthy of our worship.
It’s not that every knee will eventually bow before a capricious or dispassionate god. On the contrary, humankind will bow before Christ . . .
Who, being in very nature God,
did not consider equality with God something to be used to his own advantage;
rather, he made himself nothing
by taking the very nature of a servant,
being made in human likeness.
And being found in appearance as a man,
he humbled himself
by becoming obedient to death—
even death on a cross (Philippians 2:6–8)!
18. Singing to God with gratitude (Colossians 3:15–17)
Let the peace of Christ rule in your hearts, since as members of one body you were called to peace. And be thankful. Let the message of Christ dwell among you richly as you teach and admonish one another with all wisdom through psalms, hymns, and songs from the Spirit, singing to God with gratitude in your hearts. And whatever you do, whether in word or deed, do it all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through him.
For early Christians, a lot of theology was communicated via song. This made truths easy to remember and meditate on throughout their day. In fact, many scholars believe that Colossians 1:15–20 comes from an early Christian hymn:
The Son is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn over all creation. For in him all things were created: things in heaven and on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or powers or rulers or authorities; all things have been created through him and for him. He is before all things, and in him all things hold together. And he is the head of the body, the church; he is the beginning and the firstborn from among the dead, so that in everything he might have the supremacy. For God was pleased to have all his fullness dwell in him, and through him to reconcile to himself all things, whether things on earth or things in heaven, by making peace through his blood, shed on the cross.
The songs we sing become embedded in our hearts. This is one reason that it’s so important that our songs of worship and praise be theologically sound.
19. A sacrifice of praise (Hebrews 13:15–16)
Through Jesus, therefore, let us continually offer to God a sacrifice of praise—the fruit of lips that openly profess his name. And do not forget to do good and to share with others, for with such sacrifices God is pleased.
The writer of Hebrews talks about offering a “sacrifice of praise.” And we may not think of it this way, but there is a sacrificial element to verbal praise—especially when we’re frustrated, hurt, or confused. The choice to give God what is His—no matter what we feel or what the cost—makes it a sacrificial offering.
20. He is worthy (Revelation 5:9–10)
And they sang a new song, saying:
“You are worthy to take the scroll
and to open its seals,
because you were slain,
and with your blood you purchased for God
persons from every tribe and language and people and nation.
You have made them to be a kingdom and priests to serve our God,
and they will reign on the earth.”
The Book of Revelation gives us a glimpse beyond the veil at the post-resurrection life in the heavenlies. Jesus was always worthy of worship, but it’s of particular significance that even among the angels, it’s what Jesus accomplished on earth that makes him particularly worthy. It’s through his sacrifice and resurrection that all of humanity has been reconciled to God.
Becoming intentional about our worship
Humanity is made for worship. And if we’re not intentional about it, we end up worshiping people, places, and things that are not worthy of the adoration. This is further illustrated in the Sermon on the Mount, when Jesus says, “You cannot serve God and Mammon.” We must be very careful to:
Let us set our minds on the things above so that our reverence can be pure and life-giving.
Don’t miss out on Sharefaith Media
If you found yourself here on your neverending hunt for digital worship content for church, you’re going to want to check out Sharefaith’s church media. You’ll get access to the most extensive collection of graphics, loops, and mini-movies for your worship service—and we update it with new material regularly.
You can sign up for our low-cost monthly media subscription or jump into Sharefaith Suite, which includes our full media membership, but also gives you Sharefaith’s other powerful content like:
- Kids curriculum
- Sunday school scheduler
- Church websites
- Mobile app
- Online giving
- And more
Check out the complete subscription plans available, and get all your digital needs met at one low monthly price.