What is the difference between praise and worship?

The words praise and worship are often used together; although they complement one another, they are two different things. Praise is an expression of approval or admiration. We can praise people and we can praise God. In reference to God, praise is an acknowledgement and appreciation of what He has done for us. It is our way of giving thanks to Him. God is worthy of our praise. The Bible is replete with instructions to praise God and examples of doing so. Biblical examples of praise include both angels and humans singing, dancing, shouting, and playing musical instruments. It is often a joyful and energetic action (Psalm 69:30; 148:1–14).

Worship is an expression of adoration and reverence. It is reserved only for God (Exodus 20:3; 34:14). When worshiping, a person submits himself completely before God. It is a stance of humility and surrender. In this position a person can align himself with God's will. The Bible tells us to worship in spirit and truth. Jesus told the woman at the well, "But the hour is coming, and is now here, when the true worshipers will worship the Father in spirit and truth, for the Father is seeking such people to worship him. God is spirit, and those who worship him must worship in spirit and truth" (John 4:23–24). Worship can come in many forms, but oftentimes is seen when people bow down before God.

Most modern-day church services begin with "worship." This time includes a combination of both praise and worship through music. Often the leader begins by engaging the congregation in songs of praise. The purpose is to give thanks to God and acknowledge the great things He has done. As the time progresses the music changes to create an atmosphere appropriate for worship in which the congregation can reflect on who God is and humble themselves before Him.

Praise and worship are not only for a church service. Rather they should be an integral part of our daily lives. In fact, God is worshipped in heaven without ceasing. In Revelation 4:6–11 John wrote, "and before the throne there was as it were a sea of glass, like crystal. And around the throne, on each side of the throne, are four living creatures. … and day and night they never cease to say, 'Holy, holy, holy, is the Lord God Almighty, who was and is and is to come!' And whenever the living creatures give glory and honor and thanks to him who is seated on the throne, who lives forever and ever, the twenty-four elders fall down before him who is seated on the throne and worship him who lives forever and ever. They cast their crowns before the throne, saying, 'Worthy are you, our Lord and God, to receive glory and honor and power, for you created all things, and by your will they existed and were created.'"

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