The New Testament tells us what early Christians did in their worship and also the manner in which it was done. It is not up to man to invent ways to improve worship apart from the Word of God (cp. John 4:24). If I practice something in worship for which there is no scriptural authority or if I have an attitude of bitterness in my heart when I worship, it is unacceptable before God (Matthew 5:23-24). Therefore, worshiping God acceptably involves doing what God says and doing it from a sincere heart.
God deserves my best. Obviously, as a disciple of the Lord, I can worship God at any time and in any place. However, as a Christian, I have the responsibility and privilege to assemble with fellow disciples. Even though there are times when we worship with others in an assembly, worship is still an individual matter. What can I do to improve my worship?
How can I improve my worship in song? Passages such as 1 Corinthians 14:15, Ephesians 5:19, and Colossians 3:16 teach us to sing with spirit, with understanding, with a melody in your heart and with a heart filled with grace. The command to sing involves my learning something about singing. If I am a song leader in song worship, I need to learn to lead singing to the best of my ability.
How can I improve my worship in partaking of the Lord’s Supper? It is obvious that the early disciples partook of the Lord’s Supper on the first day of every week (Acts 2:42, 20:7). However, according to 1 Corinthians 11:23-29, I must partake of the bread and the fruit of the vine in memory of Christ. I must discern the Lord’s death till He comes again. Sometimes it helps me in my discernment to read scriptures or lyrics to songs that take my mind back to the cross.
How can I improve my worship in teaching and hearing God’s Word? As a preacher, I can improve my worship in proclaiming the Word when I speak (Acts 4:29). My worship in preaching will be more effective when I preach in the spirit of meekness and humility (Galatians 6:1-2). I must also speak with love in my heart; not only for my Lord, but also for the people He loves (1 Corinthians 13:1). Those who hear the gospel are also worshiping while listening. As a hearer, I should receive the message with readiness of mind like the Berean Christians (Acts 17:11). The worshipful hearer not only receives the Word but also embraces it and obeys.
How can I improve my worship in praying to God? As one leading the prayer, I need to prepare myself. The lack of preparation in prayer often leads to wordy repetition. I need to pray loud enough that the congregation can hear the words and be able to say “Amen.” The scripture teaches me to pray with spirit, understanding, and faith (1 Corinthians 14:15; James 5:15). I need to be enthusiastic when I pray and mean every word that I say. On the other hand, as a listener to a public prayer, I need to concentrate on what is being said while having an attitude of prayer in my heart.
R. J. Stevens