Sermon quotes on worship

Brother Lawrence

The end we ought to propose to ourselves is to become, in this life, the most perfect worshippers of God we can possibly be, as we hope to be through all eternity.

The Practice of the Presence of God.

Stephen Charnock

When we believe that we should be satisfied rather than God glorified in our worship, then we put God below ourselves as though He had been made for us rather than that we had been made for Him.

Discourses Upon the Existence and Attributes of God, Volume 1



Fyodor Dostoyevsky

So long as man remains free he strives for nothing so incessantly and so painfully as to find someone to worship.

The Brothers Karamazov

Richard J. Foster

Adoration is the spontaneous yearning of the heart to worship, honor, magnify, and bless God. We ask nothing but to cherish him. We seek nothing but his exaltation. We focus on nothing but his goodness.

Prayer: Finding the Heart’s True Home. 

Timothy Keller

What is the main theme of Lord of the Rings? The world needs a king.

C.S. Lewis

A man can no more diminish God’s glory by refusing to worship Him than a lunatic can put out the sun by scribbling the word ‘darkness’ on the walls of his cell.”

The Problem of Pain

C.S. Lewis

It is a serious thing to live in a society of possible gods and goddesses, to remember that the dullest most uninteresting person you can talk to may one day be a creature which, if you saw it now, you would be strongly tempted to worship, or else a horror and a corruption such as you now meet, if at all, only in a nightmare. All day long we are, in some degree helping each other to one or the other of these destinations. It is in the light of these overwhelming possibilities, it is with the awe and the circumspection proper to them, that we should conduct all of our dealings with one another, all friendships, all loves, all play, all politics. There are no ordinary people. You have never talked to a mere mortal. Nations, cultures, arts, civilizations – these are mortal, and their life is to ours as the life of a gnat. But it is immortals whom we joke with, work with, marry, snub, and exploit – immortal horrors or everlasting splendors.”

The Weight of Glory

J.I. Packer

We need to discover all over again that worship is natural to the Christian, as it was to the godly Israelites who wrote the psalms, and that the habit of celebrating the greatness and graciousness of God yields an endless flow of thankfulness, joy, and zeal.

Revelations of the Cross

John Stott

God must speak to us before we have any liberty to speak to him. He must disclose to us who he is before we can offer him what we are in acceptable worship. The worship of God is always a response to the Word of God. Scripture wonderfully directs and enriches our worship.

The Contemporary Christian, InterVarsity Press, 1992, p. 174.

A.W. Tozer

God is trying to call us back to that for which He created us, to worship Him and to enjoy Him forever.

Whatever Happened to Worship?: A Call to True Worship


C.S. Lewis

As long as you notice, and have to count, the steps, you are not yet dancing but only learning to dance. A good shoe is a shoe you don’t notice. Good reading becomes possible when you need not consciously think about eyes, or light, or print, or spelling. The perfect church service would be one we were almost unaware of; our attention would have been on God.

Letters to Malcom

Ralph Waldo Emerson (attributed)

A person will worship something, have no doubt about that. We may think our tribute    is paid in secret in the dark recesses of our hearts, but it will out. That which dominates our imaginations and our thoughts will determine our lives, and our character. Therefore, it behooves us to be careful what we worship, for what we are worshipping we are becoming.

Eugene Peterson

Worship is a meeting at the centre so that our lives are centered in God and not lived eccentrically. We worship so that we live in response to and from this centre, the living God. Failure to worship consigns us to a life of spasms and jerks, at the mercy of every advertisement, every seduction, every siren. Without worship we live manipulated and manipulating lives. We move in either frightened panic or deluded lethargy as we are, in turn, alarmed by specters and soothed by placebos. If there is no centre, there is no circumference.

Reversed Thunder

Frank Laubach

If your devotional life is sleepy and tired—God is probably as tired of it as you are. 

Letters By a Modern Mystic

 John Koessler

 Worship is not a feast we lay out for God. It is the table on which God spreads his feast for us. 

 Taken from The Radical Pursuit of Rest by John Koessler. ©2015 by John Koessler.  Used by permission of InterVarsity Press, P.O. Box 1400, Downers Grove  IL  60515-1426.

John Witvliet

[Worship is] the celebrative response to what God has done, is doing, and promises to do.

Worship Seeking Understanding, p.31.

Eugene H. Peterson

Christian worship is the sanctification of time and space.

Every Step an Arrival, The Crown Publishing Group.

Jacques Maritain

Man is a metaphysical being, an animal that nourishes its life on transcendence.

The Person and the Common Good

Harold Best

We must conclude that the Christian needs to hear but one call to worship and offer only one response. These come exactly coincident with new birth and, despite our wanderings and returns to the contrary, they suffice for all our living, dying, and eternal outpouring. We do not go to church to worship. But as continuing worshipers, we gather ourselves together to continue our worship, but now in the company of brothers and sisters.

Unceasing Worship, p.47.

Harold Best

At this very moment, and for as long as this world endures, everybody inhabiting it is bowing down and serving something or someone—an artifact, a person, an institution, an idea, a spirit, or God through Christ.

Unceasing Worship, p.17.

Debra and Ron Rienstra

In a fundamental sense, worship language, like all of worship, is formative. The words we hear, sing, and speak in worship help form our images of God; our understanding of what the church is and does; our understanding of human brokenness and healing; our sense of purpose as individuals and as a church; our religious affections: awe, humility, delight, contrition, hope; our vision of wholeness for ourselves and all creation; our practices of engaging with God, with each other, and with the world.

Worship Words, p.28.

Andrew M Davis

But what seems to happen in our lived practice of worship is that we don’t simply enjoy the stimulation; we expect it from God. We don’t just value “positive” emotions, but in our lived experience and practice, we demand them from God every time we step foot in a church or “meet” with him. God gets demoted, and what we can get from God is promoted.

The Power of Christian Contentment, Baker Publishing Group, 2019, p.46-47.

James K. A. Smith 

Christian worship, we should recognize, is essentially a counterformation to those rival liturgies we are often immersed in, cultural practices that covertly capture our loves and longings, miscalibrating them, orienting us to rival version of the good life. 

You Are What You Love

Dallas Willard

Human beings are at their core defined by what they worship rather than primarily by what they think, know, or believe. That is bound up with the central Augustinian claim that we are what we love.

Daniel Block

The words that are usually translated as ‘worship’ in English [Bible] translations have little to do with either praise or music, as today’s popular Christian culture suggests.

For the Glory of God, Baker Academic, 2016, p.8.


Andy Crouch

Our worship bands are more technically proficient than ever, and louder than ever. The people holding microphones are singing, often expertly and almost always passionately. It’s just the rest of us who, like the crowd at a ballgame, are mostly swaying along, maybe echoing a few of the phrases or words.

The Tech-Wise Family, Baker Publishing Group, 2017, pp.184-185.


N.T. Wright

Worship means, literally, acknowledging the worth of something or someone.  It means recognizing and saying that someone or something is worthy of praise.  It means celebrating the worth of someone or something far superior to oneself.

Simply Christian: Why Christianity Makes Sense (New York: HarperSanFrancisco, 2006).

Mark Labberton

What’s at Stake in Worship? Everything. that’s what’s at stake in worship. The urgent, indeed troubling, message of Scripture is that everything that matters is at stake in worship. Worship names what matters most: the way human beings are created to reflect God’s glory by embodying God’s character in lives that seek blistering warning righteousness and do justice. Such comprehensive worship redefines all we call ordinary.

Taken from The Dangerous Act of Worship by Mark Labberton Copyright (c) 2007 by Mark Labberton. Published by InterVarsity Press, Downers Grove, IL.

Carl Trueman

The psalms as the staple of Christian worship, with their elements of lament, confusion, and the intrusion of death into life, have been too often replaced not by songs that capture the same sensibilities—as the many great hymns of the past did so well—but by those that assert triumph over death while never really giving death its due. The tomb is certainly empty; but we are not sure why it would ever have been occupied in the first place.

“Tragic Worship,” First Things , June/July 2013, 20.

Jared C. Wilson

Joy is the music that plays when our hearts are tuned to the frequency of God’s glory and our connection to it. Joy is the heart’s settled and worshipful contentment in our justification with God. Joy is the conviction that, no matter the sadness of our circumstances or the weakness of our bodies, we are secure in the sovereign God who loves us. Do you see how joy runs deeper than mere happiness? Happiness is dependent upon our circumstances. Joy is dependent upon our Savior.

The Gospel According to Satan: Eight Lies about God that Sound Like the Truth, Nelson Books, 2020.

Andrew Peterson

Since we were made to glorify God, worship happens when someone is doing exactly what he or she was made to do.

Adorning the Dark: Thoughts on Community, Calling, and the Mystery of Making, B&H Books, 2019.

Dietrich Bonhoeffer

Worship is where people are conformed to Christ, join in his work, are accepted back into fellowship, and dance to the beat of his drum. Worship anticipates heaven, where all these things are gloriously fulfilled. But worship is also a training for discipleship on earth. . . . That is why worship is the key to Christian ethics. Through worship God trains his people to take the right things for granted.

Sanctorum Communio: A Theological Study of the Sociology of the Church, ed. Clifford J. Green; trans. Reinhard Krauss and Nancy Lukens; Dietrich Bonhoeffer Works in English (Minneapolis: Fortress Press, 1998).

G.K. Beale

What people revere, they resemble, either for ruin or restoration.

We Become What We Worship: A Biblical Theology of Idolatry, InterVarsity Press, 2009.

G.K. Chesterton

The crux and crisis is that man found it natural to worship; even natural to worship unnatural things. . . . If man cannot pray, he is gagged; if he cannot kneel, he is in irons.

The Everlasting Man

Warren Wiersbe

If worship does nothing else for us, it helps us discover the things that are important. Real worship will transform your life.

Still Looking for inspiration?

Consider checking out our illustrations page on Worship. 

Follow us on social media: