In the book, “Failure: The Back Door to Success” Erwin Lutzer, pastor emeritus of the Moody Memorial Church of Chicago, wrote, “Are you ready for this? It is possible to attend church regularly, participate in the service, and not worship God at all! Worship isn’t listening to a sermon, appreciating the harmony of the choir, and joining in singing hymns! It isn’t even prayer; for prayer can be the selfish expression of an unbroken heart. Worship goes deeper. Since God is Spirit, we fellowship with Him with our spirit; that is, the immortal and invisible part of us meets with God, who is immortal and invisible. Prayer can be worship; singing may be worship; reading the Scriptures may be worship–but not necessarily.”
Whether you worship during your church service depends upon you. When you come to church, is it to meet God, do you do it out of tradition, or just to hang out with your friends? Sometimes we are distracted. Sometimes we are more interested in what is going to happen after the service than what we have an opportunity to do together during the service. So how do we make sure that we worship God when we are together?
Realize, first that it is all about Him, not about us. In other words, we worship God for who He is, not for what we can get out of it. Knowing we are harboring the guilt of willful sin hinders our ability to worship God. God is holy, and we can only approach Him in a way that is worthy of who He is. But the promise is that “if we confess our sins (and repent of them) He is faithful to forgive us of our sins and cleanse us from all unrighteousness.” 1 John 1:9. We worship both individually and as a church. Community requires unity, which is only possible if we love one another. Hebrews 10:25 says not to forsake the assembling together of ourselves. In other words, we are commanded to meet together for worship – in unity and love. And in that God is glorified.