The different forms of worship used in this religion and how these forms may be helpful to different people
For Christians, worship is a way of expressing what they believe about Jesus Christ. It is important for them to meet regularly with other believers to worship together. At other times they may worship on their own or with their families. Sunday is the holy day for Christians. They usually gather for worship in a church building. In most Christian groups, members of the congregation take part in the worship.
Worship can involve all sorts of activities. Reading the bible, singing hymns, songs and psalms, praying and listening to sermons are all aspects of worship. Church services may vary widely in tone and mood but most contain several of these key elements. For committed Christians, however, worship does not begin and end in church because they dedicate their whole life to God.
The Christian faith has many styles of worship and people will prefer one particular style depending on their personality, their character and their approach to the Christian faith.
The different forms of Christian worship can be divided into three types;
* Formal Worship
* Informal Worship
* Personal Worship
Formal worship includes liturgy which is a Greek word meaning public worship. In this style of worship all the actions follow a set pattern. The Roman Catholic, Orthodox and some Anglican churches worship in this way. They express their beliefs using symbolic acts and special objects. It is common to make the sign of the cross, kneel and genuflect (or bow at the knee). It is also common to burn incense and candles. The Anglican Church uses the Alternative Service Book where the congregation read a set piece each week. The priests and clergy wear special clothes.
Certain people may prefer formal worship because they prefer a more structured and orderly life. For these people formal worship with its outward signs and symbols, helps them to express their deep spiritual feelings. They find comfort in the formal services because they don’t feel as exposed when they read together rather than worship independently. They may prefer the feeling of security and that they don’t stand out against the others. Nervous or shy people may like the fact that you know what you r doing because the services will be familiar and there will be no unexpected surprises. Older people or those that have been brought up in a formal family may prefer the traditional way of worshiping because it is how it always used to be done, and some people may not like change.
Informal worship is non-liturgical worship and is the style of worship that takes place in many Protestant churches. Informal worship does not have set rituals and symbolic actions. These Christians give more importance to Bible reading, prayers, hymns and sermons. There is much more freedom to speak, read from the bible and pray (extempore prayer). This type of worship is much more spontaneous. People might clap their hands or wave their arms in worship. The individual worships in the way he or she wants which might include kneeling quietly or dancing.
The worship is often lively with a band playing music including electric guitars and drums. It is often unplanned which allows for spontaneity. In this way people are free to express themselves. They are not embarrassed by their emotions and are not afraid to show their feelings. The people want to hear God speak.
Certain people may prefer informal worship because it is not restricted and there is the freedom to worship as they wish. Those who prefer informal worship place more importance on the word of God than on ritual actions. For example there is the opportunity to have a word for the moment. They may also prefer it because each service is different since it is not read out of a book but in an extemporaneous manner. People learn through bible reading and sermons what God wants them to do in their lives and it gives them a purpose and meaning to their lives.
Personal Worship is when Christians pray by themselves. Christians believe that they can communicate with God through prayer. Some of the types of prayer that Christians use are:
* Adoration – praising God for his greatness, power, wisdom, and love.
* Confession – realising their own weakness, the Christian may ask God for forgiveness.
* Intercession – praying on behalf of someone else. The person thinks about the needs of others and asks God to help people who are sick, poor or lonely.
* Petition – asking God for personal help.
* Thanksgiving – thanking God for His goodness and praising Him for His love.
Christians do not pray in the same way or at set times. Some use their own words. Others prefer to use set forms of prayer. Many Christians use the Bible, a rosary, a crucifix and icons to help them in their prayers. Many Roman Catholics use a rosary when they pray. A rosary is made up of five sets of ten beads. Each set of beads is called a decade. Each decade is separated by a bead which is more spaced out than the others. As they count the beads while they pray, Roman Catholics are able to think about some of the main events in the lives of Jesus and Mary. At each bead the person praying repeats the Hail Mary. Others might have a quiet time when they are alone to read the bible, pray and listen to God speak to them. They often use daily Bible notes as a guide.
Personal worship inspires and strengthens people in their daily lives. When people are alone praying and listening to God they grow close to him and it helps them to live their lives showing Gods love and peace. If they are feeling depressed or lonely, they can know God is there as a friend and he helps them through their lives. Daily worship helps people to be at peace with themselves and others, and to reach out and help and share with other people. Worship enables Christians to give praise and thanks to God and show their love, wonder, commitment and repentance.
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