The words Praise and Worship are commonly used in a church. Praise and Worship time is a special time during a church service when everyone stands up and is being led by a choir to sing songs to glorify God. Do these two words mean the same or are they different notions? Are these two words just about songs? Learn here the true meanings of these two words and the difference between praise and worship.
Meaning of worship
According to the dictionary, worship is defined as the feeling or expression of reverence and adoration for a deity. Christian worship can then be defined as the feeling of reverence and adoration for God.
The Greek word that is most often translated as worship in the New Testament is known as “proskuneo”, which mean to “fall down before or bow down before” or “to kiss the hand to (towards) one, in token of reverence”. It was used as homage shown to men and beings of superior rank. The Hebrew word for worship in the Bible is "Shaha" which means “to bow low or to prostrate oneself”.
Meaning of praise
According to the dictionary, praise is defined as the expression of one’s gratitude and respect towards a deity, especially in a song. So, Christian praise can be defined as the expression of gratitude and respect towards God, especially in a song. There are three Hebrew words in the Bible that are translated as praise. One is “yadah” which means “praise or give thanks or confess”. Another one is “zamar” which means “sing praise.” And the third one is “halal” (which is the root word for hallelujah), which means to praise, honour, or commend.
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Difference between praise and worship
Most people see worship as the slow and melodious songs that often requires the closing of eyes, lifting of hands in reverence to God. While praise is considered as the singing of songs usually fast ones and dancing to God. But these two words mean more than just songs or singing and they are two different things. Worship is completely different from praise but praise can be a part of worship. As a Christian, if you understand the difference between praise and worship, you will have a better understanding of honouring God.
As we have said earlier, praise is appreciating of God, especially in songs. It is joyfully recounting everything that God has done and showing him gratitude for it. Praise usually goes along with thanksgiving, appreciating God for all the might and good works He has done in our lives. Praise is a universal thing and can be applied to anybody. It doesn’t require much from us just that the acknowledgement of the righteous acts of God. In the Bible, praise is usually presented as highly-spirited, joyful and uninhibited. God asks all creation to praise him
Worship, on the other hand, goes deeper than praise. Worship is something that comes from the spirit. It is often said that worship is an attitude or state of the heart. In the Bible, Jesus spoke about worship in John 4 verse 23.
“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 4:23.
Worship for Christians goes beyond singing. Songs are just tools for worshipping. Praise stems from recognising the good acts of God but worship is not a function of the acts of God. Worship comes from the core of who the worshipper is and what God means to the worshipper. In true worship, a Christian is required to surrender himself/herself totally to God and adore Him not just for what He has done but for who He is.
As we have stated above when talking about the meaning of worship, it involves bowing low before the Lord, not only physically, but in the heart. Real and true worship is insightful and reflective. Worship is a lifestyle, and it is not just limited to when people raise their hands to sing to God in church. And praise comes from a heart of worship.
Praise and worship are not limited to just Christians. People sing praises of other people also and even praises to other deities. People also worship other fellow human beings especially when that person means everything to them. Also, people worship other deities because they put their trust in those deities. So, worship can also be seen as an act of reverence and honour for someone or something that a person places his/her faith in. But praise and worship are commonly used among Christians.
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