This is a reprint of an earlier column
The Old Testament word usually translated as "worship" has a sense
of to depress, as in to prostrate, especially in homage to royalty or
God; to bow down; to stoop; to fall down flat.
The New Testament word is essentially the same, with the added sense of reverence and adoration.
In English, the word "worship" means to honor or adore as divine or
sacred, especially with rituals or ceremonies; to offer prayers to God;
to regard with extreme respect, devotion or love; to idolize; to regard
or treat a person with honor or respect, specifically, to bow down or
salute (Oxford English Dictionary).
There are two aspects of worship. First, there is the more formal
sense of worship, such as sacrament meetings, public prayers and temple
worship. The second aspect is our own personal attitude of worship. Of
course, the two are intimately linked.Simply sitting in a worship
service without a personal attitude of worship is not worship.
It is in this more personal sense that the elements of "to fall
down," "to prostrate oneself" or "bow down" become more instructive.
Paul, in speaking of spiritual gifts, notes that "so falling down on
his face he will worship God" (1 Corinthians 14:25).
Most of the scriptural uses of worship have this sense of personal
submission to the divine. In its deepest sense, worship means the
surrender of our will to God's will. We are taught "that the right way
is to believe in Christ ... wherefore ye must bow down before him, and
worship him with all your might, mind, and strength, and your whole
soul" (2 Nephi 25:29).
The scriptures also admonish us what not to worship. Isaiah teaches
that people have turned away from God when their "land is also full of
idols; they worship the work of their own hands, that which their own
fingers have made" (Isaiah 2:8).
President Gordon B. Hinckley captured the highest sense of worship when he taught about the Savior:
"He is the Savior and the Redeemer of the world. I believe in Him. I
love Him. I speak His name in reverence and wonder. I worship Him as I
worship His Father, in spirit and in truth. I thank Him and kneel
before His wounded feet and hands and side, amazed at the love He
offers me" (Liahona, March 1998).