Can we worship God without music? Of course. But for me, music is the best vehicle for worship. But before talking about worship songs, we need to look at the concept of worship. Worship is that deliberate moment in time when we connect with God spiritually, and sincerely and humbly express our reverence, adoration, praise, and awe to Him. So for music to be called 'worship' music, it must contain avenues for those types of expressions.
True worship is always a one way street. In other words, it's all directed to God. Although worship can be expressed in a prayer, it is never a prayer asking God to do something for us. It's fine to ask God for something, but that's not worship, that's prayer. And we should be doing that. However, when our prayer to God is strictly an expression of praise, or adoration, or reverence, or awe, then that is worship.
Music is a major part of life. So why did God invent music? Like everything he invented, if used in its rightful way, it is to ultimately bring Him glory. Music and singing is an emotional expression. It is a great way to communicate with emotion, our worship to God.
Why is music and singing so closely associated with Worship? Music and singing is a very effective tool that can be used to promote an avenue for worship to happen. The use of songs can make the path easier to approach and worship God. One reason is because music is emotional and touches the soul. Music and singing is expressive. It can be intimate and personal in nature, and it can create excitement and celebration. It can set a mood or tone and help soften the heart and open the mind.
Another reason that music and singing is closely associated with worship, in a corporate sense, is because it provides a means of participation. Through use of tempo, meter, rhythm, rhyming, and melody, all can join together to sing in unison, or harmony. It’s a way to effectively unite our efforts and our expressions of worship.
So, back to worship songs. It's important to define a 'worship' song. A worship song is a song that is strictly addressed to God. A worship song usually contains a phrase like "God, You are.....". A worship song is different than a praise song. A praise song is a great one to sing, but it's different from a worship song in the sense that it is not addressed directly to God, but addressed to each other. A praise song usually contains a phrase like "God is.....".
When worship songs are sung from the heart with understanding and conviction, in spirit and in truth, they are essentially melodic prayers, and are a very powerful and personal form of worship, even in a corporate setting. Jesus said that we must worship in spirit and truth. Not only does this mean that our worship is spiritual in nature, but also, our worship must be done sincerely, and in line with the truth of scripture regarding who God is.
"But the hour is coming, and now is, when the true worshipers will worship the Father in spirit and truth; for the Father is seeking such to worship Him." (John 4:24)
1. Are addressed directly to God.
2. Are not asking God to do something for us
3. Are expressions of reverence, awe, adoration, and praise to Him
4. Are sung with a sincere and humble spirit
5. Are filled with truth
Here is an example of a great contemporary worship song, "You Are My King (Amazing Love)" by Billy Foote.
"I'm forgiven, because You were forsaken.
I'm accepted, You were condemned.
I'm alive and well, Your Spirit is within me, because You died and rose again.
Amazing love, how can it be, that You, my King, would die for me?
Amazing love, I know it's true.
And it's my joy to honor You.
In all I do, to honor You.
You are my King.
You are my King.
Jesus, You are my King.
You are my King."
Notice how that song has all the attributes of a worship song. There are many great praise songs and worship songs today. Practice on distinguishing the difference. And when you hear a true worship song, one that is directly addressed to God, let it prompt you to engage in personal worship.