By June 24, 2020June 18th, 20242 Comments


To some Christians, praise and worship are mainly about singing a few songs every Sunday morning in church, just before the pastor mounts the pulpit to preach the day’s sermon. To some others, praise and worship are those two to five or so songs you sing prior to getting started with the discussion in a home group or fellowship centre held couple of days in the week. Others still will go further and attempt to distinguish a ‘praise’ song from a ‘worship’ song by the tempo of the accompanying music. In their view, praise is a fast paced and vibrant piece of song that creates a feel good mood in them and a happy atmosphere in church; while worship is considered the calm and quiet, slow tempo music that ‘brings down’ the Spirit and the presence of God. What can be further from the truth?

Online dictionary defines praise as an expression of one’s respect and gratitude towards a deity, especially in song. also defines praise as an act of expressing approval or admiration of; commendation of; the offering of grateful homage to God or a deity as in words or song. Wikipedia defines Christian worship as the act of attributing reverent honour and homage to God, while other sources define worship as the feeling or expression of reverence and adoration for God. When one considers and compares the two different definitions given each of praise and of worship, it will appear that the words praise and worship are synonymous, and they are in fact often used interchangeably. However, they do not explicitly mean the same thing nor do they necessarily always denote the same kind of actions.



The first appearance of the word ‘worship’ in the Bible occurs in Gen 22:5. There, Abraham says to his servants, “Stay here with the donkey while I and the boy go over there. We will worship and then we will come back to you”. Contextually, it is clear that when Abraham said he and the boy, his son, Isaac were going to ‘worship’ he was not saying they were going to go and sing some calm, gentle, sweet songs to invoke the Spirit or the presence of God. In actual fact, Abraham was saying he was going to ‘worship’ by sacrificing his son, Isaac (and that was really nothing to sing about!). Abraham was acting in obedience to God’s instruction in Gen 22:2a, when God said, “Take your son, your only son, Isaac, whom you love, and go to the region of Moriah. Sacrifice him…”. Rom 12:1 admonishes Christians to “offer your bodies as living sacrifices, holy and pleasing to God for this is your spiritual act of worship”. The above scriptures directly connect the worship of God with sacrifices. Abraham in order to worship God was willing to sacrifice the son he loved; and we are admonished as Christians, to demonstrate our worship of God by offering our bodies as living sacrifices.

One may ask; “Are Christians now required to sacrifice their bodies on an alter like Isaac was going to be, to worship God?” No and yes. No, because God does not seek human or blood sacrifice to be worshiped. In fact, no human or blood sacrifice can please God except for the sacrifice of the Lamb of God, Christ Jesus our Lord. And yes, God does require that we sacrifice our bodies to him daily, but not on an alter made of stone and mortar. He desires that we die daily to our carnal, fleshy desires and live our lives in a way that honours and pleases Him; that is our spiritual act of worship. God is not only desirous of our bodies as a sacrifice unto Himself; just performing the required rituals with our bodies, while our hearts are far from Him (as indicated in Isa 29:13 and Matt 15:8). God wants us to love Him with all our heart (spirit), with all our soul (will, emotion, intellect) and with all strength (body) as it says in Duet 6:5 and Matt 22:37. Our worship of God therefore should not just be a physical, visible evidence of our body parts in action; it should be in truth, coming from within the deepest part of our being, our heart and it must be motivated by our love for Him and obedience to His word. Worshiping God must involve our entire being, all of who we are and all of what we do.

 As for singing ‘worship’ songs in a church on a Sunday morning or any other gathering during the week, Jesus said to the woman at the well, “Believe me, woman, a time is coming where you will worship the Father neither on this mountain nor in Jerusalem….Yet a time is coming and has now come when the true worshipers will worship the Father in spirit and in truth, for they are the kind of worshipers the Father seeks. God is Spirit and His worshipers must worship in spirit and in truth” (John 4:21, 23, 24). Jesus is clearly saying here that, we don’t have to be in a specific geographical location or a particularly designated ‘building of worship’ to worship God or bring down His presence. Indeed Jesus is saying that God is seeking, God is searching and scouting for people who will worship Him with their whole spirit, will, emotion, intellect and body regardless of where they are geographically and what they are doing.

Therefore, contrary to what some Christians assume, ‘worship’ is not those calm and gentle, slow tempo songs that we sing after ‘praise’ and before the word is preached on a Sunday morning to conjure the Spirit and the presence of God. Worship is how we live our lives daily to honour God and it is reflected in everything we do. It is how we yield daily to His will and die to ours. Our worship to God is expressed in how we treat, serve and interact with others; how we conduct ourselves at work and at play to honour God. Our worship is reflected in how we earn a living, in our giving and spending. Worship is everything we are and everything we do to express our love, adoration, reverence and honour to God, whether singing songs in church on Sunday morning or shining shoes on the street to make a living any other day.

“And whatever you do, whether in word or deed, do it all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through Him” (Col 3:17, 1 Cor 10:31).



Now, what is ‘praise’? As previously stated, praise is an expression of one’s respect and gratitude towards a deity, especially in song. Praise can also be defined as an act of expressing approval or admiration of; commendation of; the offering of grateful homage to God or a deity as in words or song. Throughout the Bible and especially in the Psalms, we see people demonstrate their gratitude, respect and admiration to God by singing songs, making a joyful noise/shout, playing musical instruments, dancing and bringing thanksgiving offerings unto the Lord. Yes, all these praise activities are worship, but all that is worship is not praise. As earlier stated, everything we are, everything we do, the lifestyle we choose to live in order to honour and glorify God is worship. Nonetheless, it is not all the time we sing a song, or make a joyful noise, or play musical instruments, or dance or bring a thanksgiving offering unto God; some of our time is used to worship God in many other ways. For instance, time spent sincerely loving and serving other people; time spent caring for the sick or visiting with those in prison; time spent sharing the word of God and generously giving to meet the needs of others; time spent diligently fulfilling our responsibilities in whatever field of work or life we find ourselves or simply just living a life that daily honours and glorifies God. So, like all these other activities we spend our time doing to honour and glorify God, praise also is an act of worship.

Yes, praise is an act of worship, however it is a most powerful act of worship. Every other act of worship is geared towards serving, edifying and attending to mankind and other creations of God, but praise as an act of worship, is exclusively and absolutely meant to be given to God, because God is glorified when we praise Him. In fact, God says in Isa 42:8, “I am the LORD; that is my name! I will not yield my glory to another or my praise to idols” and in Isa 48:11b, “…I will not yield my glory to another”. Rev 14:7 commands us to, “Fear God and give Him the glory” i.e. to revere God, to honour God, to worship God and give Him glory.

Since God is Love and the God of order, He wants us to come to Him and He gives us instructions on how to do this. Psl 100:4 says, “Enter His gates with thanksgiving and His courts with praise; give thanks to Him and praise His name”. This is not just a command or protocol to be obeyed in approaching God (although it is), it is really also an important key given to us as worshipers to unlock the presence of God, for God inhabits the praises of His people (Psl 22:3). When we approach God with true praise (and thanksgiving, which is also praise) we give Him glory and His presence comes to be amidst us and in our lives. And where the presence of the Lord is, His mercy, goodness and blessings are. No, we do not praise God just for His goodness, mercy and blessings toward us; far more importantly, we praise God for who He is. And, because God loves us and wants us to enter into His presence so He can bless us, He says, “The key to having all of Me is to give all of you to Me by praising Me. My glory I will share with no one” (That’s just the way I interpret it).

In conclusion, praise is not just the songs we sing before worship on a Sunday morning in church; praise is a heartfelt act of worship dedicated unto God and to Him alone; and worship is a lifestyle dedicated to the glory and honour of God.

Lots of love.



  • Arinola Ajetunmobi says:

    Thank you for enlightening us further on the acts of ‘Praise and ‘worship’. This is a very well written piece that further draws my attention to our reverence and service to God. May the Lord continue to inspire you as we are continually illuminated in Jesus name amen.

    • Ayobola Elegbede says:

      Thank you for your comment, I really appreciate it. May the good Lord continue to enlighten us in His word and grant us the grace not to be just hearers or readers of His word, but indeed doers of His word. Amen

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