THE POSTURE OF WORSHIP

Praying RecievingOver the years much attention has been given to postures in worship.  I am old enough to remember well the 70’s and 80’s when Baptists were fearful of “those charismatics,” who were easy to spot because they raised their hands during worship.  In more recent days in many churches there is actually a strong expectation that worshipers will raise hands in worship.  Worship leaders may unconsciously see this as a kind of evaluative test for worship.  I also know of many churches that have installed kneeling rails to encourage altar prayers at appointed times in worship.

Surely every worship music leader has dealt at some point with the issue of standing verses sitting during worship singing in a service.  I know of churches who have done away with the pews in worship to give more flexibility to seating and to allow sufficient room for worshipers to move about facilitating interaction among worshipers, and providing opportunity to attain different postures in the course of worship participation.

These issues certainly are appropriate considerations for church leaders, but easily present a misplaced focus if we are not careful in our rubrics for measurement.  The larger question is what is the posture of worship most pleasing to God?  This, in fact, I believe, poses the fundamental question of worship itself, “What is our position in relation to God?”  The real question is much less about physical posture than about spiritual condition.  I believe it helps us toward the descriptor given by Jesus Himself when He told the woman at Jacob’s well in Sychar,

Yet a time is coming and has now come when the true worshipers will worship the Father in spirit and truth, for they are the kind of worshipers the Father seeks.   God is spirit, and his worshipers must worship in spirit and in truth.  – John 4:23-24

 Through worship in spirit and truth we are reminded of our position or posture in relation to God.  Meriam Webster’s definitions for “posture” are rich with indication for us in relation to worship.

 1pos·ture (noun)

1          a : the position or bearing of the body whether characteristic or assumed for a special purpose <erect posture>

b : the pose of a model or artistic figure

2: state or condition at a given time especially with respect to capability in particular circumstances <maintain a competitive posture in the market>

3: a conscious mental or outward behavioral attitude

 In definition 1a, there is the implication of the physical body posture.  We adjust our physical position in worship to indicate response.  The New Testament word most often translated for worship is prokuneo` which is a verb that implies an act of homage or reverence.  When we think about physical positions that reflect a spirit of worship we likely think about kneeling, bowing down, or placing hands in a raised position or perhaps a position of reception.  This thinking is no doubt the reason that if you google the word “worship” you will likely see pictures of people striking such poses.  In definition 2 we perhaps get closer to an understanding of worship I am trying to communicate.  Worship “in spirit and truth” implies “state or condition” to me, most especially the state or condition of our heart.  Of course, definition 3 “conscious mental or behavioral attitude” implies the status of our free will in response to God and His actions toward us.

Old Testament words for worship indicate posture and action as well: Barak meaning to bow down or kneel in reverence, Shachah indicating prostrate position to demonstrate loyalty or humility toward God, Todah an extension of the hand to express adoration, and chuwl which is a spinning dance.  None of these single words translates “worship,” by itself, but together with the other numerous Hebrew words for prayer, posture, and actions in the Old Testament we get a strong sense of the spirit and position called for in the worship of Almighty God.

As worship music leaders we have responsibility and opportunity to call for participation in worship through singing and other acts and expressions.  We must never forget that the miracle of Christian worship is that our God is with us!  While we cannot determine a person’s spiritual condition based upon their outward posture, we can help our people learn from biblical models and attitudes and guide our community of worshipers toward a heart-driven response in spirit and truth to the living God of the Gospel.  Let us strike a posture in relation to Him that will be pleasing to Him.

Explore posts in the same categories: Choir Ministry, Church Music, Congregational Singing, Leading Worship, Private Worship, Singing Worship, Worship Leaders, Worship Pastors, Worship Reminders, Worship theology, Worship thoughts

One Comment on “THE POSTURE OF WORSHIP”


  1. Link exchange is nothing else except it is
    just placing the other person’s blog link on your page at proper
    place and other person will also do similar for
    you.


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s


%d bloggers like this: