Prayer and worship

November 3, 2021

It is not our will that matters; it is the Lord's. This is the difference between prayer and worship. Prayer is the expression of my will; worship is the acceptance of God's will. The two are quite distinct. Just run through the Old Testament and see how very often, for example, one of the great biblical characters, like Abraham, prays to God, expresses his own will, and then God says to him, “Offer your son, Isaac.” And he prostrates himself. That's his worship. Another beautiful instance is David's response to his son's death. As we read in 2 Samuel, after Nathan told him that he had killed Uriah: “The Lord struck the boy whom Uriah's wife had borne to David.” And he was very ill. David prayed to God for the child; he fasted and went in and spent the night fasting, lying on the ground. The older men of the household tried to get him to rise from the ground, but he refused and would eat no food with them. On the seventh day the boy died, and David's servants were afraid to tell him. “While the boy was alive,” they said, “we spoke to him and he did not listen to us; how can we now tell him that the boy is dead? He may do something desperate.” David saw his servants whispering among themselves and guessed that the boy was dead. He asked, “Is the boy dead?” And they answered, “He is dead.” Then David rose from the ground, washed and anointed himself, and put on fresh clothes; he entered the house of the Lord and prostrated himself there.  Then he went home, asked for food to be brought, and when it was ready, he ate. The servants asked him, “What is this? While the boy lived you fasted and wept for him, but now that he is dead you rise up and eat?” He answered, “While the boy was still alive I fasted and wept, thinking, “It may be that the Lord would be gracious to me, and the boy may live.” But now that he is dead, why should I fast? Can I bring him back? I shall go to him, and he will not come back to me.” David worshiped the Lord. The difference between praying and worshiping is the difference between my will and God's will.