When we believe in the Lord Jesus we enter the kingdom of God and begin our relationship with God. To keep and develop this relationship with God we need prayer and worship. What is prayer? What is worship? What is the difference between them? Prayer is the expression of our dependence on God and worship is the acknowledgement of our origin from God. We pray because we need God and we worship because we come from God.
“I will lift up my eyes to the hills — From whence comes my help? My help comes from the Lord, Who made heaven and earth.” (Psalms 121:1-2)
The psalmist said that his help did not come from himself or from others but from the Lord. If we think we can help ourselves or we can ask for help from others, then we do not need to pray. But if we think we can only get help from God, then we need to pray. Why? Because when we pray we change our dependence from ourselves or others to God.
“Oh come, let us worship and bow down; let us kneel before the Lord our Maker.” (Psalms 95:6)
Our relationship with God should not only be about depending on Him so that we can get help from Him. We must not forget that we come from God. God is our Creator, our Maker, and we should always remember that. How do we acknowledge God as our Maker? By worship. When we come to God we should kneel and bow down before Him.
Prayer and worship can be seen as our two hands. We need both of our hands to do many things. If we only have one hand there are many things that we will not be able to do. In the same way, we need both prayer and worship to maintain as well as to grow our relationship with God. If we pray only or worship only, we will lack many things in our relationship with God. But if we do both, we will not lack anything in our relationship with God. Our relationship with God will be rich.
The connection between prayer and worship can be like a balloon and the air. The size of a balloon when it is inflated is proportional to the amount of air in it. More air inside the balloon causes the balloon’s size increases. Likewise more worship increases the capacity of prayer. The more we acknowledge that we come from God, the more we will realize that we need God. We will depend on God more.
We expect God to answer our prayer every time we pray. However, if our prayer is not answered although we have prayed for a long time, then we should pause from praying and change to worship. Why? Because worship will increase our capacity in praying. As we worship we will see that our prayer is answered or we will realize that our prayer is wrong. If our prayer is wrong, then we should change our prayer.
When we pray to God and our prayer is not answered, it is either we pray wrongly or we pray rightly but there is something lacking in our prayer. We pray wrongly if the motives of our hearts are selfish, in order to spend the answer of our prayer for our own pleasures (James 4:3). We pray rightly if we ask God to bless us but something is lacking in our prayer if we do not think of giving ourselves to be a blessing to others when God blesses us (1 Pet 3:9).
Prayer becomes wrong when it is done with selfish motives. We ask God for something that we may spend on our pleasures. Prayer becomes right when it is done with unselfish or good motives. We ask God for something that we may use to meet our needs. Prayer becomes perfect when it is done with sacrificial motives. We ask God for something that we may use to help others who are in need.
When we pray, we can pray wrongly, rightly or perfectly. If we pray wrongly, our prayer will not be answered. If we pray rightly, it may still take some time for our prayer to be answered because something is still lacking in it. So, if we are not patient, our prayer may seem to be unanswered. If we pray perfectly, our prayer will be answered immediately because there is nothing lacking in it.
When we pray wrongly we often do not realize it. So we wait and wait but our prayer is not answered. When we pray rightly we often think there is nothing more we can do except wait for the answer from God. Actually what we should do besides praying is worship. Worship will change the way we pray. Our wrong prayer will be made right and our right prayer will be made perfect.
We pray wrongly because we have selfish motives. Worship will purify the motives of our hearts. We pray rightly but not perfectly because we only think about our own needs and the needs of the people in our inner circles. Worship will transform the motives of our hearts to be sacrificial and broaden the sphere of our prayer that it includes the needs of the people outside our inner circles.