What is informal worship?
Before we think about what informal worship is, let’s rewind and remind ourselves of the meaning of “worship”. In the Bible, the Greek word ‘proskuneo’ is used 61 times for “worship”. It derives from two root words which together mean, “come towards to kiss”. This is the essence of our worship; to come towards our God to worship him in intimacy.
As Christians we tend to do this most often in churches, but as we have seen over the last two years, sometimes we can’t meet with our church family. This may be due to sickness or incapacity, or as we never would have thought we’d see in our lifetime, a global pandemic. It is wonderful to sing and praise God with others but we are missing out if that is the only time in our week that we are coming to God to worship Him.
The reality is that we don’t know what’s coming, and it is so important to connect with God ourselves, through informal worship, to keep that indwelling life of His flowing into us. Remember, worship isn’t just singing, it is bringing ourselves to Him, and coming as we are. Paul prays:
“I pray that out of his glorious riches he may strengthen you with power through his Spirit in your inner being, so that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith.” (Ephesians 3: 16).
So, what is the definition of informal worship? It is coming to meet with God in our daily lives, outside of the formal church setting, making space to hear from Him, and giving Him praise and glory, wherever we are, and whatever we are doing. Here are five simple and practical examples of informal worship that you can include in your everyday routine.
1. Start the day with a 5 minute pause
Sometimes, meeting with God is about pausing at the start of the day, before we dive into its demands. Can you take five minutes, perhaps in an armchair with a coffee, just to be with God? Martin Luther famously said:
“I have so much to do that I shall spend the first three hours in prayer.”
Sometimes the act of coming to God first, before we do anything else, is like stilling the waters of our striving. Even five minutes with Him will let things fall into place. Maybe you are caring for an elderly relative, or a very young child, and you literally don’t have a second to yourself? Why not put the Glorify app on in the background, while your child plays or you are doing other chores, to open yourself up to the presence of God?
2. Bring God into your daily exercise
Psalm 24: 1 reminds us that “The Earth is the Lord’s and everything in it”. We can turn everything we do into an act of worship. I love to stretch on my Pilates mat. Loosening areas of tension reminds me to bring my worries to God.
Walking reminds me of persistence, and the other day, whilst climbing a hill with my husband and children, I thought of a prayer that I have been praying for years. Climbing hills also changes the perspective, helping us to gain a different viewpoint on the situations in our lives. Nature speaks all the time and it reminds us of the miracle of life day by day. However, if you can’t get out easily, you can still watch nature from the window, or bring plants into your house. Regeneration, renewal, blossom and fruit can all speak to us of the ways of God.
3. Whatever you do, do it for God!
Brother Lawrence, a 12th century French monk, was a cook in his monastery’s kitchen. He said; “I possess God as peacefully in the bustle of my kitchen […] as I do upon my knees before the Holy sacrament.”
And went on to say; “Our sanctification does not depend on some alteration in what we do, but in doing for God what we commonly do for ourselves.”
Whether we are cooking dinner for the family, or doing the laundry, we can do it for God. He is not far from us. One summer, I worked at a yoghurt factory, packing yoghurts into cardboard sleeves, for eight hours straight. My mind wandered and I started to pray and sing worship songs in my head. Those were amazing times of hanging out with God! Sometimes, it takes a little nudge to remind us that we can invite God in to everything!
4. Make a change
Sometimes we talk to God through the day, but other times we need our informal worship to be set apart. At these times, the simple act of sitting in front of a fire, or listening to music can still our souls. The rush of the world can wait. Just stop. Be still and do something a little different.
5. Close the day with God
Finally, at the end of the day, come to God. Say thank you for the blessings, and bring to Him the worries. Rest in the knowledge that He sees you and everything that you have to juggle;
“You know when I sit and when I rise; you perceive my thoughts from afar.” (Psalm 139: 2).
Additionally, journaling is really useful at this time as it reminds me of God’s faithfulness. I write down my prayers and any worries that I am carrying that day. At the end of the year, I read back and see God’s faithfulness in my life day by day.
Check out this blog post for more ways to worship God throughout the week.
 Brother Lawrence, The Practice of the Presence of God (London: Hodder and Stoughton, 1981)