Gordon MacDonald provides a definition of worship:
Worship is happening when a person or a people take time to reflect upon and honor the nature and the actions of God by offering him praise, thanksgiving, confession, offerings, and a submissive heart and mind. This can be done through the medium of song, silent meditation, speech, sacramental activity, and other forms of artistic expression. Preaching may be a part of these functions, but not necessarily the most important part.
MacDonald also lists a number of outcomes that should be evident where true worship has taken place:
- Worship should draw a sharp contrast between the kingdom of this world and the Kingdom of Heaven.
- Worship should focus on the living God and his revelation of himself as the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit.
- Worship should bring to our consciousness the acts and the character of God.
- Worship should call the worshiper to repentance – a confession of sinfulness in contrast to God’s righteousness and a resulting sense of forgiveness and restoration.
- Worship should cause the worshiper to inventory his or her blessings in life and give thanks.
- Worship should provide a chance for one to see his or her work in the perspective of the Kingdom and give from the profits of labor.
- Worship should make the worshiper feel prayed for in terms of personal needs.
- Worship should refine the perspective of people so they see and pray for world events in light of the Kingdom purposes of God.
- Worship should offer encouragement and insight from the preached Word.
- Worship should send people back into the "streets" of the world with a renewed sense of energy, confidence, and purpose.
From "What is Worship" by Gordon MacDonald. Read the entire article and commentary here.