A ritual has been defined as a religious or solemn ceremony consisting of a series of actions performed according to a prescribed order. The dangerous trap that all of us can fall into is religious formalised worship. This is the kind of worship that is clearly outlined in scripture as religious observance. The apostle Paul in his defence when summoned to king Agrippa uses the Greek word ‘THRESKEIA’ to describe the religious observance in worship that he adhered to as a Pharisee. The Greek word means worship that is not from the heart, external in nature, and ceremonial.

My manner of life from my youth, which was spent from the beginning among my own nation at Jerusalem, all the Jews know. They knew me from the first, if they were willing to testify, that according to the strictest sect of our religion I lived a Pharisee (Acts 26:4-5).

Ritualistic worship prescribed by Jewish law was ordered and legalistic and opposite to the worship that King David experienced in Zion when there was freedom to express ones love for God with singing, shouting, and even dancing.
When we don’t allow the Holy Spirit to orchestrate our services and stick entirely to our agenda, we can easily slip into the kind of worship the Apostle Paul was talking about. This doesn’t mean that there is no structure in our services, but it does imply that there should be a degree of freedom allowing God to do what He wants to do. It’s a matter of being conscious of and open to the contribution the Holy Spirit in our meetings. The presence of the Holy Spirit in our meetings will ensure that the maximum glory will be given to the Father and also the saints will experience the maximum benefit.


Scripture makes reference to the worship of angels as ‘THRESKEIA’. This has a broad connotation of exercising worshiping to anything that God has created, including angels, venerated saints, pastors, bishops, the earth, or the wonders of science, art, literature sport and so on.

Let no one cheat you of your reward, taking delight in false humility and worship of angels, intruding into those things which he has not seen, vainly puffed up by his fleshly mind (Colossians 2:18).

While we should honor those who are used by God, worship is reserved only for God. There is no place for worship leaders to be exalted as rock stars or pastors being treated like superstars. Honoring and encouraging leadership and one another is vital in every church and is a consequence of prioritizing worship to the Lord.


There are times when we tend to be ritualistic; going through the motions of worship without a consciousness of its function and to whom it is directed. A wonderful prayer is found in Psalm 19:12 -13. Ask God to show you if there are any changes you need to make in your worship to Him.

About Tom Inglis

Tom is recognised by many as an apostle of worship who carries a prophetic word that is fresh and relevant for the church today. He has travelled into many nations teaching the message of ‘worship as a lifestyle’ and is considered by many as a pioneer in this area. [Read More...]