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WORSHIP: beyond Praise & Thanksgiving

Praise, thanksgiving and worship are all important to true Christians and desired by God.   We have been “created for the Lord’s pleasure and His will (Revelation 4:11).” And it is part of God’s will that every person offers “to Him who sits on the throne, and to the Lamb – praise and thanksgiving and worship and honor and glory forever (Rev. 5:13).”  Moreover, the way in which we do or not do these things is significant; for “God will judge everyone according to their works (deeds/actions; Romans 2:6).” 

The genuine Christian worships the Lord Almighty ‘in spirit and in truth (John 4:24)’ with their ‘heart, soul, strength and mind (Luke 10:27) not because they simply ‘fear the Lord (Eccl. 12:13),’ rather because they ‘know the only true God and Jesus Christ… (John 17:3)’ and ‘love the LORD (Deut. 6:5; 10:12) GOD’ and the ‘KING of kings and LORD of lords (Rev. 19:16; Deut. 10:17).’  

A century ago before Google and Bing, intelligent searchers of biblical truth and knowledge would use as aids Webster’s Dictionary and Strong’s Concordance. And today they should not be overlooked for their value and insight. This extensive article includes definitions; examining words & deeds, praise, thanksgiving and worship; and some detailed modern worship history.

Definitions by Webster’s Dictionary (1828 Version)

Adoration: “The act of paying honors to a divine being; the worship paid to God… consists in external homage, accompanied with the highest reverence.   It is used for the act of praying, or preferring requests or thanksgiving, to the Supreme Being.  Homage paid… Adoration, among the Jews, as performed by bowing, kneeling and prostration… The Persians fell on the face, striking the forehead against the earth, and kissing the ground.  The adoration paid to the Grecian and Roman emperors, consisted in bowing and kneeling at the feet of the prince…”

Approbation: “The act of approving; a liking; that state or disposition of the mind, in which we assent to the propriety of a thing, with some degree of pleasure or satisfaction… Attestation; support… action in favor of what is approved…”

Character: “A mark made by cutting or engraving; as on stone… The peculiar qualities, impressed by nature or habit on a person, which distinguish him from others; these constitute real character… reputation… an account, description or representation… the assembly consisted of various characters…

Commendation: “act of commending; praise; favorable representation in words; declaration of esteem… Service; respects; message of love…”

Honor: “(noun) The esteem due or paid to worth; high estimation… Reverence; veneration; or any act by which reverence and submission are expressed, as worship paid to the Supreme Being…  Privileges of rank… (verb intransitive) to revere; to respect; to treat with deference and submission, and perform relative duties to… To reverence; to manifest the highest veneration for, in words and actions; to entertain the most exalted thoughts of; to worship; to adore.  That all men should honor the Son (Jesus Christ), even as they honor the Father (John 5:1). To dignify; to raise to distinction or notice; to elevate in rank or station; to exalt… To glorify…”

Love: “(verb) …free, willing… advancing, or drawing forward… to be pleased with; to regard with affection, on account of some qualities which excite pleasing sensations or desire of gratification.  We love a friend; on account of some qualities which give us pleasure in their society… The Christian loves his Bible… we love whatever gives us pleasure and delight… and if our hearts are right, we love God above all things, as the sum of all excellence and all the attributes which can communicate happiness to intelligent beings.  In other words, the Christian loves God with the love of complacency in His attributes, the love of benevolence towards the interest of His kingdom, and the love of gratitude for favors received.  Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind… (Matt. 22:37).”

Praise (noun): “Commendation bestowed on a person for his personal virtues or worthy actions… approbation expressed in words or song… The expression of gratitude for personal favors conferred; a glorifying or extolling.  He hath put a new song into my mouth, even praise to our God (Psalms 40:3).  The object… or reason of praise: He is thy praise and He is thy God (Deut. 10:21)… (verb transitive) To commend; to applaud; to express approbation of personal worth or actions… To extol in words or song; to magnify; to glorify on account of perfections or excellent works – Praise Him, all His angels, praise ye Him, all His hosts (Psa. 148:1).”

Respect: “To regard… to view or consider with some degree of reverence; to esteem as possessed of real worth… to look towards… attention… consideration… relation…”

Reverence: “(noun) Fear mingled with respect and esteem; veneration… The fear acceptable to God… proceeding from a just esteem of his perfections, which produces in us an inclination to His service and an unwillingness to offend Him.  Reverence is nearly equivalent to veneration, but expresses something less of the same emotion.  It differs from awe, which is an emotion compounded of fear, dread or terror, with admiration of something great, but not necessarily implying love or affection.  We feel reverence for a parent, and for an upright magistrate, but we stand in awe of a tyrant… An act of respect or obeisance; a bow or courtesy (2 Samuel 9:6)…   (verb transitive) To regard with reverence; to regard with fear mingled with respect and affection…”

Thanksgiving: (noun) act of rendering thanks or expressing gratitude for favors or mercies… a public celebration… a day set apart for religious services, specially to acknowledge the goodness of God… (adjective) thank and worthy; deserving thanks; meritorious.

Worship: (noun) “Excellence of character; dignity; worth; worthiness… A title of honor, used in addresses to certain magistrates…  (verb transitive) to adore; to pay divine honors to; to reverence with supreme respect and veneration.  Thou shalt worship no other God (Exodus 34:14).  To respect; to honor; to treat with civil reverence… To honor with extravagant love and extreme submission; as a lover…  (verb intransitive) To perform acts of adoration.  To perform religious service…”

Veneration: “The highest degree of respect and reverence; respect mingled with some degree of awe; a feeling or sentiment excited by the dignity and superiority… or by the sacredness…”

Definitions by Strong’s Exhaustive Concordance of the Bible (1890)

HONOR: (Hebrew 3366) yeqar = make rare; precious; wealth, costliness, dignity – honour, price.  (Hebrew 1921-27) hadar = to favor or honour; be high or proud… glorify… splendor… glorious, glory, majesty… (Greek 5091) τιμάω (timaó) = to prize, to reverence, honor, precious, value.

LOVE: (Hebrew 157) aheb = to love, to have affection, love, like, friend.  (Greek 26) agapé = love, affection, benevolence, good will, esteem… charity, dear, love. (Greek 5360) philadelphia = brotherly love, love of the brethren (fellow-believers).

PRAISE: (Hebrew 3034) yadah = to use the (open) hand… to revere or worship (with extended hands); …to bemoan… to cast out , make confession, praise, shoot, thank(ful,sgiving).  (Hebrew 1984) halal = …sound, …to shine; hence, to make a show, to boast… to rave; to celebrate, commend, foolishly, glory, give (light) …give in marriage, sing, praise, renowned, shine.    (Hebrew 8416)  Greek (1868; 134; 136; 1391)

THANKSGIVING: (Hebrew 8426) todah = an extension of the hand, adoration, choir of worshippers, confession, sacrifice of praises, thanksgiving, thanks offering.  (Greek 2169) eucharistia = grateful language, act of worship, thankfulness, giving of thanks.   

WORSHIP: (Hebrew 7812) shachah = prostrate (in homage to royalty or God); bow down; crouch, fall down (flat), humbly beseech… do reverence, make to stoop, worship.  (Hebrew 5456) sagad = to prostrate oneself; fall down.  (Hebrew 5457) segid = worship; to do homage (Brown-Driver-Briggs Lexicon adds – ‘by prostration.’  (Greek 4352): proskuneó = towards + kiss; like a dog licking his master’s hand; …to crouch, to prostrate oneself in homage (do reverence and adore) – worship.  


Jewish/Hebrew Worship: Ha-Siddur (Prayer Book)

Message from – The Prayer Book (Ben Zion Bokser; 1957, 1983)

“Prayer is the human side of an unending dialogue between God and man… Most Hebrew prayers are expressions of adoration and gratitude.  They are prayers of thanksgiving and praise for God’s boundless mercy and goodness, for His providential love and beneficence to all His creatures… Prayers of praise have their origin in the emotion of awe and love.  But our prayers also help to create these emotions and to deepen them…  We do not pray by words alone.  Words are reinforced by more dramatic expressions, such as singing, dancing, bowing and kneeling, which make up the pageantry of our rituals…

The destruction of the Temple was looked upon as a great calamity in Judaism.  But the Rabbis did not regard the offering of sacrifices as an indispensable act of worship… the prophet Hosea declared in the name of God: ‘I desire mercy and not sacrifice, and the knowledge of God rather than burnt offerings.’  Rabbi Elazar declared explicitly in Berakot 32b: ‘Prayer is more vital than the offering of sacrifices…’ Biblical verses (are often) embodied in (our prayers)… (for example) Morning Service… Praised be Thou, O Lord our God, King of the universe, who hast sanctified us by Thy commandments… O exalted God, mayest Thou inspire me with Thy wisdom and Thy understanding.  In Thy graciousness… perform great things for me…”

Ethics of the Fathers… Every creature is obligated to glorify God as a consequence of the doctrine that it was fashioned for His glory.  It does so by fulfilling the law of its being, which is God’s intention as to its life.  The creatures below man behave in automatic fulfillment of their nature.  Man who is endowed with freewill must consciously choose what is right and avoid what is evil.  Man in addition glorifies his Creator in the deeds and words of conscious adoration, which are represented in the act of worship…”

Word and Deed

It was from Understanding Judaism: The Basics of Deed and Creed (Blech 1991) that I first discovered that though all used the same Holy Scriptures given by Moses in Exodus, the Catholic Ten Commandments, Protestant Ten Commandments and the Jewish set differed.  For example, the Jewish set begins with ‘I am the Lord your God.’   The work states, “Christianity is a creed that asks for commitment of faith, but Judaism demands more… Being a ‘Jew at heart’ is not enough.  The words of David in the Book of Psalms ring out clearly: ‘all my bones, all my limbs proclaim the greatness of God (Psalm 35:10).  The stress is on actions, not thoughts; on body, not simply minds…  A Jew must believe… belief is simply a prerequisite…”   

Though many Christians (or nominal Christians as Wilberforce wrote) feel a simple belief in the heart is satisfactory; the true worshipper of God – the genuine Christian – worshipper of the Lord God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ the Messiah serves in both word and deed.   The Scriptures say, “let us not love by words alone, but with actions and in truth (1 John 3:18).”  James said, “I will show you my faith by my works… as the body apart from the spirit is dead, so also faith apart from works is dead (James 2:18, 26).”

Paul on Christian Character and Maturity

Paul the Apostle: “Brethren, (when you were new in Christ) I could not address you as spiritual (with depth), but as worldly – as infants in Christ.  I gave you milk (elementary doctrines/teachings), not solid food (deeper truths and more accountability)… (1 Cor. 3:2).”  And after months and years of hearing the word of God and the gospel of Jesus Christ, “you ought to be teachers; but you still need someone to teach you the elementary truths of God’s word all over again.  You need milk, not solid food! 

Everyone who lives on milk is unskilled in (understanding and knowledge of) the word (the Bible; Holy Scriptures as spoken by the prophets and apostles and Jesus Christ)… But strong meat belongs to the mature… who have their senses exercised to discern both good and evil” {and to Know God, and to love; for those that do not love do not know God, because God is love (1 John 4:8)}.  

“Therefore let us move beyond the elementary teachings about Christ and press on to maturity, not laying again the foundation of repentance from dead works, faith in God… the resurrection of the dead and eternal judgment (Hebrews 5:12-6:2).” For these things are the basic creeds of the Christian and worshiper of the Lord God and Jesus Christ. 

“I urge and exhort you, first, that petitions, prayers, intercession and thanksgiving be made on behalf of all people… (And) God our Savior… desires all men to be saved and to come to the knowledge of the truth.  There is one God, and one mediator between God and mankind, the man Christ Jesus; who gave Himself a ransom for all…  Thus I desire that in every place people would pray, lifting up holy hands… (1 Tim. 2:1-8).”

“Now about the gifts of the Spirit, brothers and sisters, I do not want you to be uniformed…  There are diversities of gifts, but the same Spirit; there are varieties of ministries; but the same Lord… To each one is given the manifestation of the Spirit… by one Spirit we were all baptized into the body of Christ… What am I to do?  I will pray with my spirit and with my mind also; I will sing praise with my spirit, but I will sing with my understanding also (I Cor. 12:1-15).”

“As many are led by the Spirit of God, these are children of God… for it is by the Spirit of the Lord that “we cry out, ‘Abba, Father’ (Rom. 8:14-15).”  And as mature Christians “I beseech you brethren, by the mercies of God, that you present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable to God, which is your reasonable service (NIV says true worship).  Do not conform to the pattern of the world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind (Rom. 12:1-2).”

The point for this section is to see the many facets or characteristics of the mature believer.  The faithful in God move from believing to confession; from a matter of the mind only to a matter of the heart (soul/spirit) and Spirit of the Lord within us.  And thus we mature from confession and simply offering praise and prayers to giving sincere thanks to the Lord – and from these positions to humility and reverent worship to our God and King.  Without fear of man, we lift up holy hands to the Lord in the heavens.   We fall to our knees and on our face with awe and thanks and prayers and praise and deep worship to the “God of gods and Lord of lords, the great God, mighty and awesome, who shows no partially and accepts no bribes (Deut. 10:17).”





Thanksgiving is a foundational level of conversation with God.  At its base, entry level or lowest division; it is like entering into an interview you truly were looking forward to and saying, ‘thank you for your time and consideration.’  And knowing the great reputation of the company you are addressing, saying: ‘thank you for all that you are and all that you do.’ 

Thanksgiving can also be a personal, corporate (group/assembly/congregation) or national proclamation, such as several offered by President Abraham Lincoln during the Civil War, which led to the official Thanksgiving Day holiday beginning 1863. In part: “The year that is drawing towards its close, has been filled with the blessings of fruitful fields and healthful skies… In the midst of a civil war of unequalled magnitude… population has steadily increased… and the country… is permitted to expect …increase of freedom… They are the gracious gifts of the Most High God, who while dealing with us in anger for our sins, hath remembered mercy.  It seemed …proper (to) …reverently and gratefully acknowledged as with one heart and one voice by the whole American People… of the United States…. The last Thursday of November as a day of Thanksgiving and Praise to our beneficent Father who dwelleth in the Heavens…”

During deep worship, thanksgiving is often giving, but this time it is much deeper, as from an Altar of Incense, with the most wholehearted sincerity.  By this point of worship, the worshipper has already passed the courteous introduction (entered the Gate), made themselves clean/holy/set apart from the filthy world (washed basin; baptism of the Holy Spirit) and offered any needed repentance – with the experienced/mature Christian understanding the sacrifice of Jesus Christ – the worthy Lamb of God (on the cross/altar of offering).  

“Give thanks to the God of heaven, for His lovingkindness endures forever (Psalm 136:26).”  “In everything give thanks, for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus… (1 Thes. 5:18).”  “We give thanks to You, Lord God Almighty… Who is and Who was… (Rev. 11:17).”  “Let us come before Him with thanksgiving and sing joyful songs of praise (Psa. 95:2).” 



“It is good to praise Yahweh, to sing praise to Your name, Most High (Psa. 92:1).”  Praise also, can be done individually or in a group – even a group so large such as ten thousands of Jews who came together in the camp and seeing the Ark of the Covenant of the LORD (carried part of the Word of God and representing His presence – so much that some died who touched it without being acceptable) “enter the camp, the Israelites raised such a great shout that it shook the ground (1 Samuel 4:5).”  

At its lowest level praise is offered to the Lord God by those who don’t know Him or barely understand the Almighty.   Moreover, to the Jews and Muslims and nominal Christians who give God/Allah/Yehovah/Jehovah praise or even bow down to the Almighty God of Abraham; without knowing Jesus Christ – the Son of God, the Holy anointed One, the Lord our Salvation – they will remain in the outside courts. 

Many of these will wonder why God does not listen or answer them; for “God does not listen to sinners (except for repentance through Christ).  He listens to those who worship Him and do His will (John 9:31).” And it is the will of God “that all would come to repentance (2 Peter 3:9),” “and all people would be saved and come to the knowledge of the truth (1 Tim. 2:4)…” and “that whoever would believe in Jesus Christ should not perish but have eternal life (John 3:16);” and not return to “sinning deliberately or willfully after receiving the knowledge of the truth (lest they fall from grace and) there no longer remain a sacrifice for their sins, but a fearful and fiery judgment  (Hebrews 10:26-27).” 

Those who know God and Christ will Praise the Father and Son.  It is imperative to grow in knowledge and experience deeper communion with the Lord; and essential to know the Holy Scriptures, the heart of the Torah (Deuteronomy 10:12-13); the conclusion of the matter (Eccl. 12:13-14); and even the longest name of God recorded (Exo. 34:6-7).

NAMES of GOD & Why they are Important

Now, those that know the Lord and are unashamed – who “do not fear man (who can kill the body but cannot kill the soul), and rather fear the One (Matthew 10:28)” true God – these willfully desire to praise Him and “acknowledge Jesus Christ before others (even knowing that He ‘will also acknowledges these before the Father in Heaven’ (Matt. 10:32).”  The unashamed who are able Praise in various manners – standing, kneeling, silently, loud with shouts and even in dance. 


Dance (Planetshakers) 

Moreover, the genuine Christian worshipper will offer ‘Him who sits on the throne – the Lord God Almighty – our Father in Heaven,’ and the Lord Jesus Christ – the King of the Universe, the Highest Praise.   They will “sing to God!  Sing praises to His Name!  Extoling Him who rides on the clouds: to Yah/Jah… (Psalm 68:4).”  They will say, Hallelujah – God be praised.  They will react with actions – in word and deed.



(above Passion Conference)

Examples of Great praise are as follows:

God’s Great Dance Floor (Passion 2013; Christ Tomlin)
You Deserve It (J.J. Hairston & Youthful Praise) Praise and Worship that leads congregation

If you are not moved by such praise and worship and thanksgiving, then you are either dead, disabled or hardened in your body and spirit in some manner.


Praise – declares the name of Jesus; it is the shooting out of verbal and physical actions and expressions to God – ‘to love the Lord with all your strength, mind, spirit and soul.’

(What a Beautiful Name; Hillsong Worship, 2016)

(Victory Belongs to Jesus; Todd Dulaney; A Worshipper’s Heart)

The deepest Praise moves into worship and true worship gives praise to God. Various Hebrew words for ‘praise’ and actions often used in praise:

Barak to kneel and bless God as an act of adoration, implies a continual conscious giving place to God, to be attuned His presence (Psalm 95:6)

Halal – as hallelujah, to rave about, boast, to celebrate, to be clamorously foolish = to spin (Psalm 113:1).

Karar to dance (2 Samuel 6:16)

Shabach a shout or command; to address in a loud tone (Psalm 145:4)

Taqa (Taqua) to clap hands (Psalm 47:1)

Tehillah – to sing a spontaneous or extemporaneous song.

Todah (Towdah) same root as yadah, – the extension of the hands in adoration (Psalm 50:14)

Yadah to throw out, to worship with an extended hand (Psalm 63:4).

Zamar to touch strings, play an instrument in worship (Psalm 1:13)

The Holy Scriptures say ‘we are tested by our praise (Prov. 27:21).  The Bible says “let everything with breath (Psa. 150:6),’ ‘continually (Psa. 34:1) ‘praise Him (Exo. 15:2) and ‘declare His praise (Psa. 51:15).’  It says praise God ‘with your soul (Psa. 119:175)’ ‘for His deeds/works (Psa. 150:2); ‘praise the Name of the Lord (Joel 2:26).’ He is worthy and greatly to be praised.

Image result for lifting up holy hands

“Let my prayer be counted as incense before You, and the lifting up

of my hands as the evening sacrifice (Psalm 141:2).”



Many worshippers have taught us from Abel and Abraham, Daniel and David, to Paul and Peter and many modern examples.  Now, on addressing worship, I am not speaking of just any reasonable service to the Lord or even loving our neighbor or forgiving enemies – though after the deepest worship, the true Christian will do these things.

And I am not speaking of remaining in a service of offering hymns to the Lord, though there is worship in many hymns.  And the apostle Paul instructed us to use “psalms and hymns and spiritual songs… (Eph. 5:19).”  But David also instructed us to ‘sing to the Lord a new song (Psalm 96:1).’  Still with psalms and hymns, but also praying and singing ‘in the spirit and with words we understand (1 Cor. 14:15).’

If you are stuck in just hymns or the same songs, though maybe content, you will not likely search after a new song or find the highest praise or upmost worship experience.  The apostle Paul was not constrained, nor Peter and John or any of the apostles of Christ Jesus; or the Prophets of God or the worshippers of the Most High God – ALL of these examples stood, kneeled, praised, worshiped, danced, shouted and fell on their faces before God.


Worship leads into the HOLY PLACE – the place of incense (prayer and Spirit: Wisdom, Understanding, Knowledge, Counsel, Might, Fear of the Lord – Isaiah 11:2) and the Showbread – [Word of God (the words of eternal life; John 6:68)] – to the offerings of ‘have your way Lord’ and ‘I surrender’ all (at least at this moment in my life) to the great offerings of song and prayer and service to the Lord then His people and a life of desiring the Word, Way and Spirit.  Some compare the deepest or highest place in the Spirit of worship to the Holy of Holiest – reminding us that when Jesus rose from the dead to Heaven, the veil (curtain) was torn in two making a way for all righteous worshippers to the Throne Room and MOST HOLY PLACE.

(Throne Room; Jesus Culture – Kim Walker Smith)

It is in this PLACE of worship and SPIRIT of worship that the genuine Christian does not consider the opinions of those around them; though they are typically consensus and available to response and though they often like great waves in an ocean can come and go and enjoy worshipping with others.  However, there is that secret place in the Spirit that a worshipper can get lost from the world – and can find treasuries (of healing, wisdom, words of knowledge, etc.) and discover attributes and mysteries of God. 

Great worship songs most often use some doctrines/teachings of the Holy Scriptures (Bible).  Their direction and focus is always towards God in Heaven (some say Vertical or Elevation Worship), while the flesh is decreasing in importance; the body is led by the spirit in a glorious offering of one’s own or a group’s talents.  


An Analogy of What is at Work

It has been said that humans have a relationship with electricity, in that they do not wish to be separated from its powers.   Electricity (E) is a flow of electrons around a circuit.  We discovered static electricity and lightning are the same; and that E possesses magnetic properties.  It has ‘a mode of motion’ and ‘a system of vibrations’ or waves.  It is influenced by conductors.  It can be generated for use by various methods [Coal, Natural Gas, Hydro (water), Nuclear, Oil].  It has different amounts of power or current (amperage – number of electrons in motion).  It can involve ‘pressure’ – pushing the electrons (voltage).   Moreover, solar energy from the Sun can be converted into electricity through solar panels which charge batteries which store power – electricity.  

E = V x I x t

E – Electrical Work; V – Voltage; I – Current; t – Time

P = V x I

Electrical Power = Voltage x Current

Now, ALL HUMANS have a relationship with the Holy Spirit (it is not an option).  Some try to run or hide from it like from lightning – but it cannot be done.  “You know …all my doings and all my ways… where can I go from Your Spirit?  …If I go up to the heavens, You are there…  even to the far side of the ocean… or into the darkness… (Psalm 139).” 

Unlike Electricity, the Spirit of God has only ONE SOURCE and is eternal and everywhere.  Now, like Electricity, the Holy Spirit of God flows and possesses magnetic properties, and is influenced by conductors.   Moreover, its energy comes through the SON (Jesus Christ) from the FATHER (God Almighty) as an invisible force (John 15:26; Romans 1:20).

HS = T, W, K, U, C, M, F… etc.

Holy Spirit of God = the Spirit of Truth, Wisdom, Knowledge, Understanding, Counsel, Might, Fear of the Lord, etc…

〖HS〗^w ≈ « [F + S(R) + Ƥr + W + P + T + D] (+/- ƒ + †…)

How and that we WORSHIP moves the Spirit of the LORD GOD.  Additionally, in worship we can flow and move in the Spirit or Circuit of God. 

For 350+ examples of modern worship see: Best New Christian Worship Songs

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