Praise vs Worship 

This Sunday we celebrate Palm Sunday, when we remember Jesus’ triumphal entry into Jerusalem. In this week’s passage, we read about the crowd’s response and how they joyfully praised God. But then we read that Jesus wept over the city. Why? Because he knew that their praise would not lead to worship. He knew that Jerusalem would reject him only a few days later. Have you ever stopped to think about what praise and worship are? Praise often goes hand in hand with worship, and they can easily become confused, so what’s the difference?

God has created us to praise. Isaiah 43:21 says, “The people I formed for myself that they may proclaim my praise.” Praise is a joyful response to God’s character, actions, and promises. It is the joyful recounting of his goodness, mercy, and faithfulness. The Psalms are packed with examples of praise-filled poetry. In them, King David often encourages people to “praise the Lord” for God’s mighty deeds and steadfast love amidst life’s triumphs and trials. Praise comes in many forms throughout the Bible; we see examples of people lifting their voices in song, playing musical instruments, making a joyful noise, praying with thanksgiving, and even dancing before the Lord. Praise often serves as a gateway to worship, stirring our hearts to deeper reverence and adoration for God. That’s why we always begin our church services with musical praise.

Praise is about God, while worship is directed to God

Praise can be a part of worship, but worship goes beyond praise. Worship gets to the heart of who we are. It leads us into deeper intimacy with God as we offer our lives as living sacrifices, holy and pleasing to him (Rom 12:1). It’s the posture of our hearts as we bow before him, acknowledging his sovereignty and worthiness. Remember that God is worthy of our worship. Rev 4:11 says, “You are worthy, our Lord and God, to receive glory and honour and power, for you created all things…” 

Jesus describes true worshipers as those who worship the Father in spirit and truth (John 4:23-24). It means that God’s spirit does not limit our worship to one location. Our worship is not confined to church gatherings. While gathering together as God’s people on Sundays is an important aspect of the Christian life, true worship extends from there beyond our church buildings. As we scatter during the week, our worship must continue to be motivated by our love for God and informed by the truth he has revealed to us in his Word.

Worship requires a genuine surrender of the heart, a willingness to be transformed by the Holy Spirit, and a commitment to live out God’s will in the world. Our entire lives can be an offering of worship unto the Lord, as long as God is glorified. The Apostle Paul tells the Colossians, “whatever you do, whether in word or deed, do it all in the name of the Lord Jesus…” (Col 3:17).

Praise is about God, while worship is directed to God. Praise applauds God, while worship honours his very being and draws us into his presence. Praise is an outward expression of gratitude, while worship is an inward attitude of the heart. Both are essential components of our spiritual journey, but they serve distinct purposes in our relationship with God. As we praise the Lord with our lips, may our hearts and lives be drawn into true worship of him as well.

Media & Communications Manager