Lesson #1 Memorize: John 4:23-24
Worship: The Door to Prayer
When I pray, my Father listens and responds to my deepest need. When He speaks to me, do I likewise listen and respond to Him?
I do, whenever worship is the attitude of my heart.
God longs for children who want to know Him, share His concerns and walk with Him in His ongoing ministry here on earth. For only as we know and follow Him can He freely share with us all the marvelous triumphs of His life: love, joy, peace, strength, wisdom, authority.... Worship opens the door to the intimate communion which is so basic to the deep friendship He offers us.
What then is worship?
As I look at God through the living Word made alive by His Spirit in me, my heart responds to His greatness. Whether by inner acknowledgment or outward motion I bow before the King, my Father, in faith, love, humility and surrender -- the attitudes of worship.
This worship joins my heart to His, brings me before His throne and allows me to see from His heavenly perspective. It frees Him to share His purpose, concerns, intentions and resources with me; so that I might pray with the heart and mind of God.
Worship affirms God's sovereignty, wonder, power and wisdom over and above the circumstances of this world. Job, who knew God but lost everything else, could say from His heart,
"The Lord gave and the Lord has taken away.
Blessed be the name of the Lord!"
Through suffering and loss, his King still reigned; therefore he "fell on his face and worshipped."
My King, teach me true worship. Make Truth alive in me by your Spirit, then "show me Your glory." that I might bow down and worship you -- body, soul and spirit. Thank you precious Lord!"
We begin worship by looking at our Father, speaking His name, praising His character -- but we can't end there. For true worship responds to God's greatness with trust, love, humility and surrender.
1. Worship is demonstrated throughout the Bible. What insights into worship is God giving you through each of the following?
Genesis 22:1-6Some time later God tested Abraham. He said to him, “Abraham!”“Here I am,” he replied.2 Then God said, “Take your son, your only son, Isaac, whom you love, and go to the region of Moriah. Sacrifice him there as a burnt offering on one of the mountains I will tell you about.”3 Early the next morning Abraham got up and saddled his donkey. He took with him two of his servants and his son Isaac. When he had cut enough wood for the burnt offering, he set out for the place God had told him about. 4 On the third day Abraham looked up and saw the place in the distance. 5 He said 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.”
Exodus 4:31Moses and Aaron brought together all the elders of the Israelites, 30 and Aaron told them everything the Lord had said to Moses. He also performed the signs before the people, 31 and they believed. And when they heard that the Lord was concerned about them and had seen their misery, they bowed down and worshiped."
Deuteronomy 26:10the Lord.... brought us to this place and gave us this land, a land flowing with milk and honey; and now I bring the firstfruits of the soil that you, O Lord, have given me.” Place the basket before the Lord your God and bow down before him."
1 Chronicles 16:27-29
Splendor and majesty are before him;
strength and joy in his dwelling place.
Ascribe to the Lord, O families of nations,
ascribe to the Lord glory and strength,
ascribe to the Lord the glory due his name.
Bring an offering and come before him;
worship the Lord in the splendor of his holiness.
John 4:23-24Yet a time is coming and has now come when the true worshipers will worship the Father in spirit and truth, for they are the kind of worshipers the Father seeks. 24 God is spirit, and his
2. Read Matthew 26:36-42. Look at Jesus -- see His agony and hear the words of His heart. Can you identify with His pain and prayer in any way? (Remember that the worship is our response to trustful surrender to God, no matter what circumstance confronts us.)
Then Jesus went with his disciples to a place called Gethsemane, and he said to them, “Sit here while I go over there and pray.” He took Peter and the two sons of Zebedee along with him, and he began to be sorrowful and troubled. 38 Then he said to them, “My soul is overwhelmed with sorrow to the point of death. Stay here and keep watch with me.”Going a little farther, he fell with his face to the ground and prayed, “My Father, if it is possible, may this cup be taken from me. Yet not as I will, but as you will.”Then he returned to his disciples and found them sleeping. “Could you men not keep watch with me for one hour?” he asked Peter. “Watch and pray so that you will not fall into temptation. The spirit is willing, but the body is weak.”He went away a second time and prayed, “My Father, if it is not possible for this cup to be taken away unless I drink it, may your will be done.”
a. Why is this an example of worship?
b. Explain the relationship between suffering and worship.
c. (Personal) What is your response to His example?
3. Read Matthew 26:43-56. Here we don't actually hear Jesus pray or worship, but we see the result of worship: a heart prepared to see every circumstance in the light of God's wise sovereignty and form His perspective.
43 When he came back, he again found them sleeping, because their eyes were heavy. 44 So he left them and went away once more and prayed the third time, saying the same thing.
45 Then he returned to the disciples and said to them, “Are you still sleeping and resting? Look, the hour is near, and the Son of Man is betrayed into the hands of sinners. Rise, let us go! Here comes my betrayer!”
47 While he was still speaking, Judas, one of the Twelve, arrived. With him was a large crowd armed with swords and clubs, sent from the chief priests and the elders of the people. Now the betrayer had arranged a signal with them: “The one I kiss is the man; arrest him.” Going at once to Jesus, Judas said, “Greetings, Rabbi!” and kissed him.
50 Jesus replied, “Friend, do what you came for.” Then the men stepped forward, seized Jesus and arrested him. With that, one of Jesus’ companions reached for his sword, drew it out and struck the servant of the high priest, cutting off his ear.
52 “Put your sword back in its place,” Jesus said to him, “for all who draw the sword will die by the sword. Do you think I cannot call on my Father, and he will at once put at my disposal more than twelve legions of angels? But how then would the Scriptures be fulfilled that say it must happen in this way?”
55 At that time Jesus said to the crowd, “Am I leading a rebellion, that you have come out with swords and clubs to capture me? Every day I sat in the temple courts teaching, and you did not arrest me. But this has all taken place that the writings of the prophets might be fulfilled.” Then all the disciples deserted him and fled.
a. During the earthly circumstance of His betrayal, Jesus manifested the heavenly perspective of a heart filled with worship. In the following verses, where do you see the result of His attitude of worship?
b. (Personal) Every week presents both ordinary and unexpected challenges to the peace we have in Christ. What difference does the attitude of worship make in your responses to these circumstances? (Consider how true worship would affect your prayer-life, your relationships and your joy in Christ.)
4. Read Genesis 24:10-67 - a beautiful story of love, faith and worship.
Abraham has sent his faithful servant on a long journey back to his won birthplace to seek a wife for his son, Isaac. The servant arrives at his destination and, by 'God's wonderful, miraculous grace, meets Rebecca, the granddaughter of Nahor, Abraham's brother. Isn't our God great!
a. In his prayer (v. 12-14), what attitude toward God does the servant manifest?12 "Then he prayed, “O LORd, God of my master Abraham, give me success today, and show kindness to my master Abraham. See, I am standing beside this spring, and the daughters of the townspeople are coming out to draw water.
"May it be that when I say to a girl, ‘Please let down your jar that I may have a drink,’ and she says, ‘Drink, and I’ll water your camels too’—let her be the one you have chosen for your servant Isaac. By this I will know that you have shown kindness to my master.”
b. How would you describe his prayer (general or specific, petition or praise, personal or impersonal...)? Explain.
c. What does v. 21 show you about the servant's heart?"Without saying a word, the man watched her closely to learn whether or not the Lord had made his journey successful."
d. Look at vs. 24-26. As the servant heart Rebeccah's words of confirmation, to who m does he first respond -- to the your woman or to God? What does this tell you about worship?"She answered him, 'I am the daughter of Bethuel, the son that Milcah bore to Nahor.' 25 And she added, “We have plenty of straw and fodder, as well as room for you to spend the night.'Then the man bowed down and worshiped the Lord..."
e. When your first response in a circumstance is to God rather than to man, what happens inside you? How does this sequence affect your response to man? (Can you give a personal example?)
f. (Personal) Paraphrase the servants words of praise (v. 27) making his words an expression of your own heart and life.26 "Then the man bowed down and worshiped the Lord, 27 saying, “Praise be to the Lord, the God of my master Abraham, who has not abandoned his kindness and faithfulness to my master. As for me, the Lord has led me on the journey to the house of my master’s relatives.”
g. As you complete the chapter, ask God to continue to teach your how to respond to His marvelous ways. What did He show you?
5. Look at this chart, then explain the difference between praise and worship:
Praise Worship He is the great King I bow down before Him He is my loving Father I run into His outstretched arms and let His love enfold me He is the Lord I give myself totally over to His reign in me. He is my Shepherd Looking to Him, I listen and follow. He is my Bridegroom I love and adore Him!