THE SEVEN STAGES OF WORSHIP
Worship is giving the things of our lives to the Lord. It includes giving our adoration, our minds, our obedience, our songs, our activities, our money, our possessions, and our future to the Lord. Sunday church meetings are called Worship Services. It is not the singing or the playing of instruments that makes them worship services. It is the giving of dedicated lives that qualify worship. Jesus said, “The true worshippers will worship the Father in Spirit and truth” Jn. 4:23. Worship involves two realities. It includes the leading of the Holy Spirit (in Spirit) and it is given with absolute sincerity, (in truth). Being led by God’s Spirit and worshipping in truth means that awful singers can be great worshippers and some so-called, great worship leaders, may only be performing and not worshipping at all. When worship is given, by poor singers or great ones, the results are always amazing.
All worship leaders should understand the biblical teaching of worship, or else their activities may be reduced to leading a sing-song or just performing Christian entertainment. Their music may be powerful and even result in emotional goose bumps, but if they are not giving adoration to God in Spirit and truth then it is not worship. Sing-songs and Christian entertainment are not wrong, but they will not release the effects that come through real worship.
This is not just for leaders. Understanding worship is important for all disciples. Whether a person is in a church congregation with a band of great musicians, or a small house meeting with a single guitar or if a person is absolutely alone with no music at all, an act of worship is always personal. Even in a crowd of thousands, worship is the intimate adoration from one soul to the throne room of God. It is the giving of our hearts and lives to God. Scripture says, “Offer your bodies as living sacrifices… this is your spiritual act of worship.” Rom. 12:1.
Worship is the continuous giving of our lives unto God. It is a journey of offerings and adoration. The way we live is our worship to the Lord. True worship leads to a partnership with heaven. Worshippers learn to line up with God. They move to a heavenly agenda, participate with angels, don heaven’s armor and wield the sword of authority for spiritual warfare.
Here are 7 stages of worship that will help us line up with God. They are: the sacrifice of worship, the thanksgiving of worship, the proclamations of worship, the music of worship, the praise of worship, the prophecy of worship and the prayers of worship. Worshippers need not experience all of these at the same time, but these spiritual mountain tops can be climbed. All of them are about giving to the Lord.
1. The Sacrifice of Worship
Give a sacrifice of praise. Life is full of struggles and disappointments. Here is our first lesson; when people suffer they should sacrifice a praise offering to the Lord. Leah was one of the wives of Jacob ( see Gen. 29,30). She felt rejected and unloved by him. She thought that her first 3 children would win Jacob’s love. Finally, she had a 4th child and learned to praise the Lord, even in her suffering. She named her 4th son Judah, which means praise. Leah learned to give the sacrifice of praise. Jesus chose this tribe. He is the Lion of the Tribe of Judah. A sacrifice of praise is the first stage of worship; we give worship to God even if our situation is dire, then God makes things better.
2. The Thanksgiving of Worship
Give thanksgiving unto the Lord. Psalms 100 teaches us to come before the Lord with joyful singing and to enter the gates of his presence with thanksgiving. We should thank him for all he is and all he has done. This is an important platform for worship. Many do not thank the Lord enough. We should worship with lots of thanks. It will open the gates and lead us along the pathway of intimate fellowship with God.
3. Proclamations of Worship
Give proclamations about the Lord. A good tradition in some church congregations is responsive readings. Scriptures are read out loud, in unison. The church makes a proclamation of God’s word. Our personal worship includes making powerful declarations of God’s greatness, love, power, wisdom, and acts. Let proclamations rise in 3 places: 1. Speak the greatness of God into the air. 2. Tell of his deeds among the congregation. 3. Let the world hear the greatness of God. With a loud voice, proclaim things like, “The earth is the Lord’s and everything in it, for he founded it upon the seas.” Ps. 24:1
Proclamations are part of our worship. Angels and elders, described in the book of Revelation, demonstrate the power of worship proclamations. They continually announce the greatness of God and of the Lamb. Their worship proclamations are explosive.
4. The Music of Worship
Give music to the Lord. The main reason why humans can speak with sophisticated language is to communicate with God. The primary reason for music is to worship him. Voices, songs and instruments should make a joyful noise unto the Lord among the nations. Music is powerful and should be used to glorify God. ‘Worship leaders, please take us to passionate worship.’ Music will help us worship with passion. It will stir the hunger in our hearts and help us cry out for God’s glory. Music will help us adore the Lord with all of our emotions. God responds to passion, and music is a tool designed for this very purpose.
5. The Praise of Worship
Give praise to the Lord. Praise is different from proclamation; proclamations are announcements about God, praise is giving accolades directly to him. Instead of proclaiming into the air, we personally tell God how great he is. We say, “Lord, you are amazing, you rule the earth, you are worthy to receive glory, honor, and praise. I give you all my worship.”
Praise him for his mighty acts. Praise him for his excellent ways. Praise opens the way for victory in battle. Like when Paul and Silas praised the Lord in prison (Acts 16:25) and the children of Israel praised the Lord on the battle field in 2 Chronicles 20:21, God shows up and wins great battles for his people. Praise him and see the glory of God.
6. The Prophecy of Worship
Give back to God the prophetic word. Scripture says, “The Lord does nothing without revealing his plans to his servants the prophets. The Lion has roared … The Lord has spoken—who can but prophesy?” Amos 3:7-8.
In church meetings, body ministry is needed for the last 2 stages of worship. Prophecy is an agreement with heaven. Wherever the Holy Spirit is allowed to minister through members of a congregation, prophecy will rise in response to worship. Prophecy is part of the worship. The Lion (Jesus) roars and prophecy follows. God waits for the worship prophecies.
7. The Prayers of Worship
Give the Lord our worship prayers. There are no prayers more perfectly focused or more powerful than those that come out of worship. Worship takes us to God’s throne room and prayers are spoken there release anointing and faith to ask for nations, to ask for the inheritance, to ask for God’s glory.
The Father seeks those who will worship in Spirit and truth. Will you join the vast multitudes of warriors around the world who walk alongside angels on the powerful pathway of worship?