The word “worship” came into prominence in the 1300s. It was a contraction of two words: worth and ship. It meant to ascribe or declare the worth of something, or to place value in the thing being honored. To worship, then, is to lift up the Lord, to declare his value, and to place life under his Lordship. (etymonline.com)
It seems that very few Christians know much about true worship. Charles Stanely once said that he believed that most Christians in most churches have never worshiped God. We go to church, but we don’t worship. We sing songs, but we don’t worship. We listen to sermons, but we don’t worship. All of these things are elements of worship, but they are not worship in and of themselves which means that you can do all of them and yet have failed to truly worship God. We Christians often mistake the means of worship for worship itself.
The word “worship” is best used in Psalm 29:1-2:
Ascribe to the Lord, you heavenly beings, ascribe to the Lord glory and strength. Ascribe to the Lord the glory due his name; worship the Lord in the splendor of his holiness. — Psalm 29:1-2 (NIV)
The word “ascribe” in this text can be used synonymously with the word “worship.”
When we use the word worship, we must make a broad stroke with our definition. It must include corporate settings as well as personal one-on-one time with Jesus. It includes singing praises and being quiet. It includes prayer, reading, serving, preaching, and evangelism. Worship takes place on Sunday, but it also takes place every other day of the week. In fact, corporate worship should be a reflection of the worship we experienced the previous six and a half days, as well as the springboard for our worship in the week to come. — Fred Bittner, The Art of Worship