Spiritual Disciplines: How to Worship God

In John 4:23-24 Jesus gives us two fundamental aspects of true worship, telling us true worshipers worship in spirit and truth. To worship according to truth means to rightly know and therefore elevate the God of the Bible through word and action. Throughout Scripture, God’s mercy and justice are tied together; God is both merciful and just. When God is seen as such, we reverence him. In addition to worshiping in truth, we worship in Spirit. This means we have an inner attitude of submitting to God. God does not merely desire that we know information about him but that we know him relationally and that this connection with him would then generate an inner desire to honor him.

To do this, we must purposefully pursue times of focused worship. Setting aside times of purposeful worship of our great God indicates a pursuit both internally in our heart and externally in our schedule. While worship also can and should happen throughout our day-to-day activities, purposeful worship should not be neglected. We can neglect worship through not engaging acts of worship or by engaging the action of worship with an inner attitude that is far from God. (Matthew 15:8-9) Allow this principle to serve as a reminder that true worship is a pursuit of both an internal and external submission to God.

Worship can be done alone or in a group, and both are to be part of the believer’s life. They will likely look different during different seasons of life, but both are important. Through times of worship, we are reminding our hearts and minds we are under the rule of God. We are reminding ourselves of who God is and the wonder of being his child. Worship is a response to encountering or considering the wonder of God’s character, what he has given us, and what he calls us to. When we seek to pursue God, we will worship him.

Examples of Personal Worship Time:

    • Getting to know him more intimately through studying the Bible.
    • Lifting God’s name through kneeling and praying or as move through your day.
    • Music: singing, listening, or playing instruments.
    • Meditation focused on knowing and honoring God.

Examples of Corporate Worship Time:

    • Small group Bible study.
    • Singing in a group.
    • Corporate prayer.
    • Corporate reading and teaching from the Bible.
    • Edifying conversation.
    • Service projects.

These are only a few examples of personal and corporate ways of worshiping. For many of us, we prefer either personal or corporate worship; however, both are essential to our spiritual health. Without corporate worship, we can be more easily deceived and therefore not worship God according to truth. Without personal worship, our corporate worship can easily turn into external behavior not accompanied by an internal attitude of submission to God.

At times worship is an act of the will. It is a decision to honor and revere God. Other times worship is a response to experiencing the wonder of God. As we seek to rightly know God, and as he reveals Himself to us, our inner attitude toward him will be transformed. This transformation is something we experience throughout the course of our lifetime rather than a destination to arrive at. At times worship may be full of knowledge and emotion. At other times worship may feel more like an act of the will that takes significant effort. As you experience these shifts, trust that through pursuing the Lord you are honoring him.

Discussion Questions

  1. How would you describe what John 4:23-24 means when it talks about worshiping in spirit and truth?
  2. How is rightly knowing God connected to worship?
  3. List some barriers for you both to engage worship and to have internal attitudes of worship.
  4. Worship is a purposeful action such as “I am going to church to worship” or “I am going to take time each day to pause and worship”. Worship is also something we do as we walk through life in a way that is seeking to represent Him well such as “As I do my job today, I will do so with integrity because I love and am submitted to God” or “As I parent, I will seek to do so with mercy and justice in an effort to give what has been given to me from God”. How do you see individual, purposeful times of worship throughout your day-to-day events?
  5. What do you enjoy regarding personal worship and what do you have a difficult time within personal worship? How about corporate worship?
  6. How do you see personal and corporate worship impacting each other?
  7. Do you go through times when worshiping God comes more naturally than others? Describe 3 or 4 things to remember during those times when worshiping God takes more purposeful effort.
  8. What is one way you can purposefully worship the Lord this week?
  9. Scriptures to Consider: Hosea 6:6, Psalm 95, Psalm 100, Daniel 3:1-18, Amos, Matthew 4:10, Hebrews 12:28-29

To view the complete PDF, click here.

For Further Information:

Worship vs. Temptation by ACCFS

Spiritual Disciplines for the Christian Life amazon.com
Author: Donald Whitney
This 352-page book drawn from a rich heritage will guide you through a carefully selected array of disciplines. By illustrating why the disciplines are important, showing how each one will help you grow in godliness, and offering practical suggestions for cultivating them.


Spiritual Disciplines for the Christian Life: Workbook amazon.com
Author: Donald Whitney
This companion guide to Spiritual Disciplines for the Christian Life takes you through a carefully selected array of disciplines that will help you grow in godliness. Ideal for personal or small-group use.