Phases Of Worship

Generally there is a pattern or flow to worship. Psalm 95 is a guide to this pattern:1

1. Invitation. Psalm 95:1 1Come, let us sing for joy to the Lord; let us shout aloud to the Rock of our salvation.2 The invitation is a call to worship; it draws people in, wherever they are, whatever their state. This is a joyous, upbeat phase of the worship. Now is the time to celebrate!

2. Engagement. 95:2 2Let us come before him with thanksgiving and extol him with music and song.3 In engagement people turn their attention to God and focus on him.

3. Exaltation. Psalm 95:3-5 3For the Lord is the great God, the great King above all gods. 4In his hand are the depths of the earth, and the mountain peaks belong to him. 5The sea is his, for he made it, and his hands formed the dry land.4 This a powerful time of worship, a time to acknowledge the attributes of God and that he is creator, redeemer, and all powerful.

4. Adoration. Psalm 95:6 6Come, let us bow down in worship, let us kneel before the Lord our maker;5 Here tone is more subdued and humble, the focus remains on God but now we are responding to who he is and what that means to us.

5. Intimacy. Psalm 95:7 7for he is our God and we are the people of his pasture, the flock under his care.6 This phase is a time of great reverence as we bask in the awesomeness of who God is and bow in his presence and majesty. The lyrics of the songs we sing shift from the opening "we" statements to the more personal "I" statements like, "Father, I love you."

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1 Barry Liesch, A Structure Runs Through It, Leadership Magazine, Summer 1993, 101-105.
2 Psalm 95:1, NIV.
3 Psalm 95:2, NIV.
4 Psalm 95:3-5, NIV.
5 Psalm 95:6, NIV.
6 Psalm 96:7, NIV.