Worship (as defined by Webster’s Dictionary)
- reverence offered a divine being or supernatural power; also : an act of expressing such reverence
- a form of religious practice with its creed and ritual
- extravagant respect or admiration for or devotion to an object of esteem
So let's take a closer look at this definition.
Worship is reverence. Are we approaching God with the reverence He deserves? Does our worship reflect that reverence? Now I understand that different cultures and even generations differ on what exactly is reverent behavior, but we can all agree that God is worthy of our reverence, our respect and our admiration (definition c). What we don't want is just definition b. We don't want a form or ritual. Those things aren't bad in and of themselves, but if they distract from loving God or create barriers to God's grace then they are hollow.
We have to get out of the mindset that if we say certain prayers or sing certain songs God will move, and He will move the way we want Him to. To quote from C.S. Lewis "He's not a tame lion." God responds to a genuine heart regardless of the form it takes. And God responds in His own way and timing not in ours. And perhaps responds is really not the correct term to use. For when we explore scripture we can see that though we worship God, it is God who initiates that worship.
The LORD appeared to us in the past, saying: "I have loved you with an everlasting love; I have drawn you with loving-kindness." Jeremiah 31:3
For he chose us in him before the creation of the world to be holy and blameless in his sight. Ephesians 1:4
and of course:
"For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life." John 3:16
We love, because He first loved us.