A Christian’s Acts of Worship

Pagan TempleHistorically, men have worshiped gods of all shapes, colors, and sizes. With a wide variety of activities, they have attempted to prove their reverence, devotion, and fear. From burning incense to hurling a human victim into the fire, from bowing the knee to cutting the body, from performing holy washings to performing holy sexual acts, people have worshiped their gods.

Disciples of Jesus Christ stand upon the shoulders of the Jews when it comes to religious acts of worship. However, we do not perform all the acts of worship the Jews did because we recognize God has changed some requirements. In fact, we might say He has relaxed the requirements. The Jews had many specific forms of worship which were commanded of them–such things as the Levitical priesthood system with all their duties of washings, keeping the tabernacle, playing specific musical instruments, burning incense on specially-crafted lavers, sacrificing animals each morning and evening, etc. Thank God He does not require these of us today! (Although, if He had, we would be compelled to obey Him in all these things, just as were the Jews.)

Praying KenyaToday, God has commanded an astonishingly few acts of worship, and He has not so much commanded them as He has granted them to us for our own good and growth. What ritual does the Christian have except to meet together in a regular assembly to eat the Supper of the Lord? Should we meet in the evening, in the morning, or at lunchtime? God has not specified. Should we meet all day or only for a few hours? God has not specified.

God has told us of what the Lord’s Supper consists (bread and fruit of the vine–see Matt. 26.26-29 and 1 Cor. 11.23-26). How much of it should we eat; how much should we drink; how should we distribute it among the disciples? Again, God has left much of these things for us to decide.

CommunionAs we read through the New Testament, we find the disciples regularly met together (Acts 2.42-47; Heb. 10.25-26); sang together (Matt. 26.30; Acts 16.25; Eph. 5.19); prayed together (Acts 1.24; 2.42; 4.24-31; 12.5); taught one another from Scripture (1 Tim. 3.16-4.4); read publicly from Scripture (1 Tim. 4.13); devoted themselves to one another (Acts 2.42, 46-47); and ate the Lord’s Supper together (1 Cor. 11.17ff; 10.14-22; Acts 20.7). Although the word “worship” is not directly associated with any of those activities, other words such as “praise” and “thankfulness” and “joy” and “gladness” and “glorify” are used–words which give us the sense of a worshipful attitude behind the activities.

When we come together as a church, our main goal is to encourage one another and provoke one another to love and good works (Heb. 10.25-26; Eph. 4.11-16; 1 Cor. 14.3, 12, 15-19, 24-25, 31). In a word, we are to edify (build up) one another. This building up of one another serves to glorify God, and is, therefore, a beautiful form of worship and includes many acts of specific worship. When we act properly as the church of God, as we continue in holiness, as we provoke one another to love and good works, we build up the temple of the Lord, and God is magnified.

But there is much more to an individual’s worship which he does apart from his brethren. We will consider more in the near future.

Prayer Lists

Praying HandsYesterday, our church enjoyed a helpful and inspiring sermon on prayers of request, using Philippians 4.6 as the launching text:

Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication, with thanksgiving, let your requests be made known to God.

Several times in his lesson, Craig Roberts encouraged the use of prayer lists as a way to organize and remind ourselves during our times of request to God.

The simplest way to create a prayer list is by writing it down in a notebook or memo book of some kind. If you’ve seen the movie War Room (or even the trailer), you’ll see another possible way is to post your list on the wall of someplace you’ll frequent. I like the idea of doing the work of writing your list down by hand because there’s something about the act of handwriting which embeds what you write in memory.

But if you’re like me and tend to use about ten different notebooks at the same time and don’t keep good track of where you wrote what (probably a bad habit…), then you might consider a digital solution. Here are a couple:

  1. If you use Google Drive or some other cloud-based folder system that you can access from your mobile device, you can simply create a document online with your list. You might even consider using a Spreadsheet to more easily create lists, perhaps with separate pages for current prayers, answered prayers, and notes.
  2. There are a few prayer list apps available. I am checking out Echo right now, which delivers a super-simple interface and the ability to create multiple lists, remind yourself when to pray for time-sensitive items, and easily check specific prayers as “answered.” Check out the info on Echo’s About page.

Do you make a list? How do you do it, and how does it work for you?