Ministry Resources

Prayer and Worship

Worship is praise to God. Worship is service to God. We want to introduce you to a new life of prayer and worship. Therefore, we will introduce you to a new kind of living. At first, it may appear that we are talking about everything else except praying and worshiping. But as you study topics such as the existence of God, the reality of heaven, and the kingdom of God, you will begin to see the relationship between prayer and worship and life in general. Series written by Morris Williams.

A King To Be Worshiped

“May your holy name be honored”

Matthew 6:9

In Unit 1 we talked about the believer’s position in prayer. We talked about the position of the mind—not the position of the body. In other words, when you know who you are and where you belong, you are better able to worship and pray.

In this unit we will talk about that which is most important in worship and prayer. We will talk about priorities. “Whoever comes to God must have faith that God exists and rewards those who seek Him” (Hebrews 11:6).

“Faith that God exists” means the worship of God. “Rewards those who seek Him” means prayers asking God for something. First we must worship. Then we may ask. But remember, He rewards those who seek Him—not those who seek rewards!

So, the priority in prayer is worship. We are to be concerned about Him and His kingdom above everything else! That is why, in this unit, we talk about YOUR name, YOUR kingdom, and YOUR will.


God is not only our Father. God is our King. He has a kingdom. We will learn more about this kingdom later.

As sons, we call Him Father. As citizens, we call Him King. As sons, we thank Him for His love and care. As citizens, we obey and worship Him.

So, God is both Father and King, and we are both sons and citizens. The greatest evil that a citizen can do is to fail to respect and obey his king. The greatest good that he can do is to serve and honor him. Love and honor can be shown by obedience and service, but that is not enough.

We are not mere servants. We are sons and citizens. Our Father and King wants more from us than obedience and service. He wants to speak with us and have fellowship. That is why times of worship are so important. We can work for a man and have to obey him without loving him. But we cannot worship God unless we honor and love Him.

The Object of Worship

God wants worship that is personal and filled with praise. God wants us to tell Him that we love Him. God wants worship that honors Him as King.

Some people worship lifeless images. Some worship dead ancestors. Some worship nature. But none of these things are warm and personal. None of these can show us love. None of these things can answer prayers.

What about the believers? The object of our worship is alive. The object of our worship is loving. The object of our worship will make Himself known to us as we come into His presence with singing and praise. The object of our worship is the true God! He is not just a god. He is the only God! Beside Him there is no other!

The Duty of Worship

Someone may say, “I worship God, but I don’t believe that Jesus is the Son of God.” Impossible! You cannot worship God and at the same time refuse His Son.

In 1 John 3:22-23, John speaks about God and says, “We receive from him whatever we ask, because we obey his commands and do what pleases him. What he commands is that we believe in his Son Jesus Christ and love one another, just as Christ commanded us.” How can people say they worship God and at the same time disobey Him? He has commanded them to believe that Jesus Christ is His Son. Are they going to obey Him? Or are they going to continue to deceive themselves and think that God accepts their worship while they are, at the same time, rejecting His Son?

If we are to worship God, we must also worship His Son. In Philippians 2:7-11 it says of Jesus:

Of his own free will he gave up all he had, and took the nature of a servant. He became like man and appeared in human likeness. He was humble and walked the path of obedience all the way to death—his death on the cross. For this reason God raised him to the highest place above and gave him the name that is greater than any other name. And so, in honor of the name of Jesus all beings in heaven, on earth, and in the world below will fall on their knees, and all will openly proclaim that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.

In honor of the name of Jesus, every knee shall bow! It is our privilege now. It will be every unbeliever’s duty later! God has given the authority to His Son Jesus who shall rule until He has defeated every enemy. Then, even his enemies shall bow in honor of His name. Why not do it willingly now?


The Faces of the Usurper

If we are to know how to pray, it is necessary for us to know who is ruling our hearts. If we are puffed up with pride, if we think more of ourselves than we ought to think, if we are seeking our own glory, then Satan has succeeded in putting “self” back on the throne of our heart.

You can tell who is on the throne of a man’s heart by watching what annoys and angers him. Is he troubled when the name of God is insulted? Does he get upset when people defile his Father’s house? Does he save his anger for those who insult him? Is he annoyed when people fail to honor him for what he thinks he is? Blessed is the man who lets God rule in his heart, and who honors his King’s name!

But, there are other usurpers besides “self” whom Satan puts on the throne of man’s heart. Another very troublesome one is called “service.” It is hard to recognize him because it is easy to think that God has put him there. We can get so busy doing things for God that we make a god out of work and even begin to worship it. We neglect prayer. We don’t honor God’s name. We are too busy! We say our work is our worship to God.

We are like a husband who thinks that, because he has a good job and provides for his family, he is a good husband to his wife. When his wife complains, and says he is not paying any attention to her, he points to his work and says she ought to be grateful and satisfied. But she wants more than bread on the table. She wants his love. She wants him to talk with her. She wants him to share his thoughts and his feelings with her. She wants to be close to him and tell him the things that have happened in the family. She wants to tell him the thoughts of her own heart.

God is like that. He appreciates all the work we do for Him, but He also wants us to spend time with Him. He wants us to share our thoughts with Him and to enjoy His presence. He wants us to worship Him and give glory to His name.

The priests in the time of the prophet Malachi were a good example of what we are saying. Listen to Malachi’s words: “And now, O ye priests, this commandment is for you. If ye will not lay it to heart, to give glory unto my name, saith the Lord of hosts, I will even send a curse upon you, and I will curse your blessings . . .” (Malachi 2:1-2, KJV).

The priests were serving at the altars. They were doing their duties. But they did not do it to glorify the name of God. They did it because it was a job—a way of earning their living. This, of course, affected the way in which they did their work. They didn’t really care about the people. They only cared for themselves. When you do not worship for the right reasons, you do not do your work right! When work, instead of God, becomes king, it causes you not to care about God, your family, or others.

But when God is on the throne, you work for His glory, and everything you do glorifies Him.

Let us speak of one other thing that takes honor from God’s name. When we become followers of men, Satan uses our worship of these men to push God off the throne of our heart. The Corinthian church had this problem. Some were followers of Paul. Some were followers of Apollos. Some were followers of Peter. So they allowed division to come among them. They were putting men on the throne of their hearts rather than God. They were more concerned about the names of Paul, Apollos, and Peter than they were about the glory of God! What a shame! What a terrible thing when believers care more about honoring men than about honoring God! Now, there was nothing wrong with Paul, Apollos, and Peter. They were all God-honoring men. The evil was in the people who put them on the throne of their hearts and honored them more than God. Let us put God on the throne of our hearts and worship Him!

The Fallacy of the Empty Throne

The devil is a deceiver and a rebel. He was one of God’s highest angels, but his heart became lifted up and filled with pride. He decided to try to take the throne of God, so he led a rebellion in heaven. Many angels were deceived by him and followed him. Read in Ezekiel 28:1-17 about the King of Tyre. It is a picture of Satan’s rebellion. God cast Satan out of heaven as well as the rebellious angels who had followed him. Satan was cast down to the earth, and has ruled here ever since that time. God’s plan is to overthrow Satan and take back control over the world. He first sent Jesus who defeated sin and death and broke the power of Satan. In the end, He will destroy Satan and rule the world.

Hebrews 2:14-15 is a clear account of what Jesus did to make the plan of God possible:

Jesus Himself became like them and shared their human nature. He did this so that through his death he might destroy the Devil, who has the power over death, and in this way set free those who were slaves all their lives because of their fear of death.

Satan still rules this world, but his rule will soon be finished. He still sits on the throne of the hearts of unbelievers and controls them. Soon Jesus will come again, and when He does, He will rule the world and all who are in it. Satan’s power and control will be completely finished. His power has already been broken for all those who believe in Jesus. He can no longer control them. Satan today no longer sits on the throne of their hearts. The usurper has already been overthrown in the believer’s heart! Hallelujah!

Satan has been overthrown in the heart of the believer. Is the throne empty? Does no one rule the believer? There is a great lesson here! There is no such thing as an empty throne. Either God is on the throne, or a usurper is occupying it. When one ruler is overthrown, another takes his place. In fact, rulers do not usually leave their thrones unless someone throws them off!

Some believe they have no ruler. These people say that they are masters of their own lives, and that no one else rules them. How wrong they are! How they deceive themselves!

Surely you know that when you surrender yourselves as slaves to obey someone, you are in fact the slaves of the master you obey—either of sin, which results in death, or of obedience, which results in being put right with God (Romans 6:16).

We are the slaves of the master we obey. Can you say that you are living without sin? Can you say that you are not obeying the selfish desires of your heart? Can you say that your emotions do not control you?

If things control you or have power in your life, then you cannot say that you are free. You are not your own master. You do have a king! You may not call him Satan. You may call him “self,” but Satan is the one who put “self”’ there. Satan is ruing you through your “self”!


The Power of the Name

Matthew 6:9 says, “May your holy name be honored.” Why does it speak of His name rather than of God Himself? Why doesn’t it say, “May you be honored”? Isn’t a man more important than his name? How can a name be important?

When a man signs his name to a paper, he is saying that he agrees to do whatever is written on the paper. Now, if he is a poor man and agrees to pay a lot of money, we say that he is using his name improperly. It is not honest to put your name on something you cannot fulfill or do.

But, think of what God’s name means! God is all-powerful. God is all-knowing. God is everywhere. He is the owner of unlimited riches and lacks nothing. So, if God puts His name to any writing, you can be sure that He is able to do what He says He will do.

If we are to learn how to pray, we must believe that God will do what He has promised to do when we ask in His name. God has written many promises in His Word. To doubt His Word is to insult His name! It is as though He gives us a check signed with His name and we refuse to take it to the bank because we do not believe He has enough money there to honor it!

Paul said, “Everyone who calls out to the Lord for help will be saved” (Romans 10:13).

Jesus said, “If you believe, you will receive whatever you ask for in prayer” (Matthew 21:22).

God says, “I am the Lord, the one who heals you” (Exodus 15:26).

Believer, child of God, take these promises, signed by His name, to God in prayer. He will answer!

There are many other promises written in His Word. He has of His Word? Can you put away your doubts, right now, and trust His name? Go to Him in prayer. Go—in faith! Go—in His name!

We are quick to believe men. We trust the word of doctors, ministers, friends, and even politicians, but we seem to have a hard time believing God. How can we expect God to answer prayer when we give men’s names more honor than God’s name? When we believe the word of men more than we believe the promises of God, we do not know how to pray. We are not trusting, above everything else, the promises of God given in His name!

The Reputation of the King

A name carries with it a man’s reputation. A name doesn’t make you what you are. What you are makes your name! So, if you are a dishonest man, you soon get a name for yourself. “You can’t trust that man,” people will say. You have earned a name for being dishonest. Now, you may say, “That’s not my name. My name is ‘Mr. Truth’.” But, that won’t make any difference to those who know you. To them, your name is “Mr. Dishonest!” because of how you live. As Christians we must always work toward glorifying God by our good reputations.

The Bible says, “Do not use my name for evil purposes” (Exodus 20:7). We use God’s name for evil purposes when we say it carelessly, or use it when not speaking for His glory. This is called “swearing” or “cursing.” We take God’s name in vain when we have so little respect for Him that we call His name in times of disgust or surprise. If we only use His name to emphasize our feelings, and not as an act of worship, we are insulting the name of God. We are failing to honor His name.

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