In Ethiopia, where we lived, the people would use a tree or even a mountain to bring their sacrifices to appease the evil spirits. They would take their sacrifices to the base of the mountain to appease the evil spirits. These sacrifices were ritual acts of worship; they were showing their adoration, devotion and respect to the evil spirits seeking the spirits blessings. However, this kind of worship never brought them joy or peace. They always lived in fear of whether or not they had done enough to appease the spirits.
Worshiping the God of the universe is different. It is not a ritual act in which we try to appease God and gain His favor. It is an action which should involve our entire being (heart, mind, and soul). We are to give total control or our lives to God which is our “living sacrifice.” We do this by being “transformed by the renewal” our minds (Romans 12:1-2). We must replace our human way of thinking with God’s way of thinking. In order to change our way of thinking, we must learn the truth about who God is in His Word, talk to God in prayer, and be obedient to Him.
In Acts 16, Paul and Silas were thrown in jail. What did they do? Instead of feeling sorry for themselves, they prayed and sang hymns to God. And it visibly impacted the people around them. No matter what situation we find ourselves in, when we truly worship God we can have “joy unspeakable,” and “peace that surpasses all understanding” – all the while impacting the world around us.
About midnight Paul and Silas were praying and singing hymns to God, and the prisoners were listening to them, and suddenly there was a great earthquake, so that the foundations of the prison were shaken. And immediately all the doors were opened, and everyone’s bonds were unfastened. (Acts 16:25-26 ESV)
Today in Prayer
Private Worship: Romans 12:1-2
- Pray that your private worship would be made a priority on a daily basis, so that you would know Him more intimately.
- Pray that you find true joy in Him through your private worship.
- Pray that you see yourself as a living sacrifice, DAILY, so you can stay focused on Him and be in the world, but not of the world.
“Public worship will not excuse us from secret worship.” ~Donald S. Whitney