Spiritual Practice

Worship in the Ordinary

A. C. Gheen

For many of us, the word worship conjures up images of choirs, cathedrals, pastors, praise bands, liturgies, long sermons, baptisms, and (perhaps) boredom. Could the word mean more? To worship means to show reverence for and devotion to God. Literally, it means to assign worth to God. Worship is more than singing a few songs on Sunday morning. It’s about the way we live our lives, even the ordinary parts of our lives.

Whatever You Do

devozine Volunteer Team TS 86544276At first, the idea that worship is about the way we live struck me as a bit strange. Most of my life is ordinary. I get up in the morning, make my bed, eat breakfast, get dressed, go to work. Perhaps I’ll study during the day. I hang out with my friends, care for my pets, enjoy my family.

Yet the Apostle Paul was clear in his instruction to the Corinthians: “So, whether you eat or drink, or whatever you do, do everything for the glory of God” (1 Corinthians 10:31, NRSV). In other words, worship should be a lifestyle, not just what we do on Sunday morning or during youth group meetings. Yet, how does worship become part of simple tasks like brushing our teeth?

Intentions, Not Just Actions

Our actions matter, but so do the thoughts that motivate them. In Matthew 5:21–45, Jesus says that sin is not only what we do, but also what we think. If this is true of sin, is it also true of worship? Do our intentions make the difference between what is and what is not true worship? If so, worship is much more than sacraments and songs. It is a way of relating to God through every thought of our hearts and every act of our hands, even the most ordinary ones. Worship is an expression of how we feel toward God as our Savior and our friend.

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First Corinthians 6:19–20 (NRSV) asks, “Do you not know that your body is a temple of the Holy Spirit within you, which you have from God, and that you are not your own? For you were bought with a price; therefore glorify God in your body.” Glorifying God and assigning true worth to God are what we do when we listen to and obey God’s commands. If glorifying God involves caring for my body, then everything I do to honor my body, from eating a healthy meal, to going for a run, to brushing my teeth, may become an act of worship.

Giving It a Try

I made a list of scriptures that applied to the way I live day-to-day. Then I tried to think about what I did and how each task reflected my relationship with God. I began to sense that even though I wasn’t in church or with other Christians all the time, God was with me and God’s presence was making my ordinary days holy.



Read Deuteronomy 6:4–9. How would obedience to this command influence your ability to worship God in the ordinary events of your day-to-day life? The ability to worship God at all times doesn’t come naturally; it takes practice. This week, pick one ordinary task during which you will try to worship God.

Scripture verses that help me worship in ordinary situations:

  • Deuteronomy 4:6–7
  • Deuteronomy 11:18–19
  • Romans 12:6–8
  • 1 Corinthians 10:31
  • 1 Thessalonians 5:13–23
  • 2 Timothy 2:15
  • 1 Peter 4:11
A. C. Gheen is a freelance writer and author of Retail Ready: 90 Devotions for Teens in the Workforce.

—from devozine (July/August 2013). Copyright © 2013 by The Upper Room®. All rights reserved.

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