What is the Difference Between Praise and Worship6 min read

Praise and Worship

What is the Difference Between Praise and Worship6 min read

Praise and worship are vital aspects of the Christian faith, but each serves a different purpose. Worship honours the very essence of God, while praise celebrates God’s actions towards man.

What is Praise

The outward celebration of another’s actions is praise. Our praise is giving thanks to God for what He has done. His actions, deeds and blessings towards us. It is a celebration of God’s greatness and acknowledges His works.

Through Him let us continually offer up a sacrifice of praise to God, that is the fruit of lips that gives thanks to His name, Hebrews 13:15,16.

David wrote, The Lord is my rock and my fortress and my deliverer. My God, my rock in whom I take refuge. My shield and the horn of my salvation, my stronghold. I call upon the Lord, who is worthy to be praised, Psalm 18:3.

Sacrifice of Praise

One of the Hebrew words for praise is Todah. This means a sacrifice of praise and originated from an unusual brand of beauty. To this day the Hebrew way of saying thank you is ‘Todah’.

Praise is an offering of willing sacrifice. Hands are extended in adoration and thanksgiving, wanting nothing in return but getting everything back. Your vows are binding upon me, O God. I will render thank offerings (Todoh) unto You, Psalm 56:12.

Hands Raised

There is a Hebrew word for praise, yadah, that has the meaning of raised hands. It is used in the same sense as when they held up the hands of Moses so that the Israelite army might win the battle, Exodus 17.

Let them give thanks (yadah) to the Lord for His lovingkindness and for His wonders to the sons of men, Psalm 107:15.

The Hebrew word hallel speaks of the soul rejoicing. It was used to describe David dancing unrestrainedly before the Ark. The people rejoiced with shouts and the sound of trumpets as the Ark was finally carried into Jerusalem, 2 Samuel 6:14-22.

Hallel is the root for hallelujah. This is two words, praise and Yahweh the personal name of God. Praise the Lord! Praise, O servants of the Lord, praise the name of the Lord, Psalm 113:1.

String Instruments

Zamar is the word for praising with the use of string instruments, Psalm 150:4. David offered a zamar of praise unto God with his harp when Saul was disturbed by an evil spirit. As David played the instrument the evil sprit would depart and Saul would be refreshed and well again, 1 Samuel 16:23.

The primitive root of this word was used to describe the act of pruning. Still the Jewish people celebrate the harvest with songs and dances. Sing praises (Zamru) to God, sing praises (Zamru). Sing praises (Zamru) unto our King, sing praises (Zamru), Psalm 47:6.

Holy Noise

The Hebrew word tehilah is to praise with songs, shouts and holy noise, as in Psalm 150. This word was first used after God delivered the Hebrews from Egypt and they stood staring at the waters pushed back to allow them to walk to safety.

The Book of Psalms is called Sefer Tehillim, meaning to praise. Yet You are holy. O You who are enthroned upon the praises (Tehilah) of Israel, Psalm 22:3.

Kneeling in Praise

The word barach is used to indicate a physical posture of kneeling. Moses before the burning bush, Exodus 3, or Jeremiah kneeling down with his face between his knees asking for rain, 1 Kings 18:42. It is also Daniel kneeling before the open window to pray, Daniel 6:10.

It is one of the most common terms spoken in Hebrew for blessing. Blessed (baruch) be the lord for ever! Amen and amen, Psalm 89:52.

Definition of Worship

Worship has a much deeper meaning for it is related to the giving of our deepest affections. Jesus quoted Deuteronomy 6:5, You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your might. This is the great and foremost commandment, Matthew 22:37.

Worship is putting God above all other things and giving Him the right to rule our heart. It is an extreme form of love shown in unquestioning devotion. A place where you never question God for My thoughts are not your thoughts. Nor are your ways My ways, declares the Lord, Isaiah 55:8.

First Mention of Worship

Worship is first mentioned in Genesis 22:5, where the Hebrew word shachah means to shout for joy.

God had asked Abraham to sacrifice his son of the promise. They arrived at the area of Mount Moriah after three days travel, which is the Temple Mount in Jerusalem.

Abraham told the men with him, Stay here with the donkey and I and the lad will go over there. We will worship (shachah) and return to you. What a statement of faith.


Abraham had been told to go up the mountain and offer Isaac up as a burnt offering. His faith statement was that they would go and worship God (shout for joy) and they would both return. Abraham trusted God with his entire being and to obey God was more important than life itself.

This test of Abraham was a foreshadow of the sacrifice and death of the Son of God for the sins of the world, 1 John 2:2.

An Awed Response

Our worship is the awed response to the flawless character of God. It is extravagant respect, honour and devotion to the Creator of the universe. True worship is the place where the worshipper acknowledges and celebrates God’s power and perfection.

Worship is not just singing some beautiful songs or bending the knee in prayer, it includes understanding and being in awe of God’s holiness.

A Living Sacrifice

Paul wrote, I urge you, brethren, by the mercies of God, to present your bodies a living and holy sacrifice, acceptable to God. Which is your spiritual service of worship, Romans 12:1,2. Human beings are the only creature God created that has the ability to worship.

An hour is coming and now is, when the true worshippers will worship the Father in spirit and in truth. For such people the Father seeks to be His worshippers. God is Spirit and those who worship him must worship in spirit and in truth, John 4:23,24.


God created man to be worshippers for deep within every person there is a need to worship.

Authentic worship of God is acknowledging that we were redeemed for an unbelievable price by the Lord Jesus Christ. This made the way for us to enter a covenantal relationship with God the Father, God the Son and God the Holy Spirit, who make their abode in us, John 4:23.

True worship erupts in the soul of the one who understands the depths of Jesus being the Lamb of God who takes away the sins of the world. Only the true worshipper surrenders everything to God as a reasonable service in what many class as the Divine Exchange.

Difference between Praise and Worship

Praise is thanking God for what He has done, while worship rejoices in who He is, the Great I Am who I Am, Exodus 3:3. May we all strive to move past praise and become authentic worshippers for we were created to be worshippers for His good pleasure, Philippians 2:13.

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