What's the difference between a 'praise' song and a 'worship' song. I have heard people talk about faster songs being praise songs and slower ones being worship songs. Does this mean ALL slow songs are worship ones and ALL fast songs are praise ones?

Can a slow song be a praise song and can a fast song be a worship song?

I guess another way to put it is: what is a 'worship' song and what is a 'praise' song? Are there definitions of these found in scripture or is this something we've invented to describe different types of songs?

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And all that said, I just heard some new terminology the other day that I've never heard prior. Evidentially the pastor asked for some 'High Praise' music. When I asked someone what that meant, they responded simply that it meant faster and more energetic. Are there 'Medium' and 'Low' Praise songs too? All this 'worship leader-speak' is a bit much if you ask me.
I must say, that is a new term to me. I bet your pastor is reading too many worship articles and is trying to be "hip" with the new terms. LOL, pastors have a way of complicating things sometimes. (I hope my pastor isn't on this forum!)

I know this is an old posting but after reading through the discussion I wanted to add a few ideas of my own

 

First off as many said I dont believe that Tempo matters one bit.

 

Secondly Worship is the act of reverence and submission to God. In the bible the word worship is used constantly, however it is used to explain many different Hebrew and Greek words. One english word to explain many more detailed words in Greek and Hebrew much like Love/Agape/Philia/Eros.

in John 9:38 The blind man Worships Jesus for what he did and the word used is prosekunēsen meaning to revere

or be in reverence of.

The same word is used in reference when the Magi first saw Jesus. scripture said they bowed down and Worshiped or gave reverence to.

In the old testament many times the word for worship in Hebrew means to Bow down Shachah Gen 24:48 uses this word for worship. Basically to Kowtow before God

 

In romans 1 the word esebasthēsan is used to mean to fear in reverence

 

So as we can see worship is an action of bowing fearing in reverence has nothing to do with singing. The worship part of praise and worship is the lifting of hands kneeling before God and being in awe and reverence of him

 The praise part is the actual singing of Songs to God explaining why you are in Fear and reverence of him

  • Psalm 150:5 praise him with the clash of cymbals, praise him with resounding cymbals
  • Psalm 59:16 But I will sing of your strength, in the morning I will sing of your love; for you are my fortress, my refuge in times of trouble.
  • Psalm 101:1 Of David. A psalm. I will sing of your love and justice; to you, O LORD, I will sing praise.
  • Ezra 3:10 When the builders laid the foundation of the temple of the LORD, the priests in their vestments and with trumpets, and the Levites (the sons of Asaph) with cymbals, took their places to praise the LORD, as prescribed by David king of Israel

 

so Praise is singing and playing Songs about who and what God is

 

Worship is the Action of bowing in reverence and being in Fear or awe of God

 

so there really is no such thing as a Worship song lol :)

 

 

What about the songs that are ambiguously between the two speeds?  The free-spirited musician in me rebels against the notion of pigeon-holing a song into one or the other.  Of course I wouldn't want to do a fast rendition of "The Heart of Worship", but I wouldn't say that all praise songs have to be fast and all worship songs slow.  To tie the speed of a song to whether it's worship or praise may seem like a good idea on paper, but I feel like it facilitates looking at worship through black and white lenses.

 

Just because I feel impish, let me throw this out there - If praise = fast and worship = slow, does that mean that a slow song about God's attributes is not worshipful?

I may be totally out of the box on this.  But here's a thought about these words:

 

Praise is words (I love you because you are amazing).

Worship is action (I'm cleaning the house because I know in makes you happy and I love you).

 

We can praise God as we carry out our worship!

This is an interesting question, and got me interested in joining the conversation. Here's my take on praise vs. worship. I think of praise to God as being much the same as when we praise each other. We mostly talk about accomplishments, especially those that benefit us personally. I can praise my Christian brothers and sisters for their great contributions of time, talent, and resources. I can praise God for all that God has done for me. Worship is different. No matter how much I love or honor someone, I can't worship him or her. Worship belongs to God alone. Anyone can praise God. Everyone SHOULD praise God for everything we have and are. Our praise songs should reflect that. Worship songs are an expression of our awe and reverence for God, not just because of what God has done for us, but because of who God is. 

You've really asked us, "what do these words mean", or "how are they ordinarily defined within the worshiping community?", as well as "how are these words defined in my church?"  The third question defines how you are allowed to use these words within your local fellowship (for instance, "I Am Free" is a Hymn of Testimony, but am I going to call it that?)

One cannot use a definitions of "praise" and "worship" and expect the definition to be welcomed in all quarters.  I recall a visitor (a young lion) asking me, "do you have praise and worship in your church?"  For the building had stained glass windows and hymnals in every pew; if we we standing in a converted warehouse, and sat on folding chairs, of course we would have praise and worship!  But the pews were suspicious.  I plucked a hymnal from a pew, an old hymnal, dating from 1938, entitled, in big gold letters, "Praise and Worship."  It indeed was as fine hymnal, packed with the classics as well as enough joyful evangelistic favorites to make any Baptist dance.  "But that's not praise and worship like we do it my church."  "What is?" "Well, it's in a spiral-bound book, called "Praise and Worship" (of course, I knew he was talking about Ron Kenoly or perhaps the Maranatha Series, but I was engaging in a little friendly baiting-with-a-purpose).  This is not a rabbit-trail; I wrote this paragraph to illustrate how we can even disqualify a song as praise OR worship if we are simply unfamiliar with, or tired of, its style -- and thus we can miss the worship within the praise, and the praise within the worship, if we get preoccupied with whether something is slow or fast.

That said, I'll venture that "worship" describes (properly) ALL attitudes of the heart, and related activities that focus our attention on God and His goodness.  Some will delete "activities" from this definition, having read their Galatians well and understanding that the lure of activities was the very first issue that got Paul ticked off about the earliest New Testament churches.  This is a hot-button issue, because some people like to "measure" worship by the observed activity of a congregation or of individuals, a nice path back to the "dead works" of the old life.  But Worship is the whole thing, including the meet-and-greet, the missions spiel and the offering (don't forget, the offering WAS worship for two thousand years, and if you read your Romans 12, you'll see it still is, but in a different and better way). 

You've doubtless heard the word-derivation of Worship ("worth-ship" from old Anglo-Saxon roots), by which we maintain Christ to be our only true Value in life.  But don't forget that to "praise" is to "prize", to value someone or something highly.  So both words really say, "God, you are #1."  The flavor of Praise seems to be of giving, of expression, of an offering, whereas "Worship" involves submission and waiting and listening (all things which would naturally call for a slower pace).

But are these words interchangeable?  In the Bible, many times, yes; but there are many places where the "standing in awe", the "falling to one's face" , "being overwhelmed" are described as "worship", while dancing with joy because of God is usually associated with "praise."  If a political dignitary comes to town, we praise the person - we don't worship a human.  The term is simply strongly associated with the invigoration of the body in response to experiencing God's goodness - and this translates easily into elevated blood pressure and vigorous activity, clapping, shouting, dancing, smiling. 

Thumb through your Strong's (you can "thumb through" these days both with a physical book or an iPad) - in fact, you don't have to thumb.  "Worship" and "worshipped" take up only two columns, and "praise" just one page, a few hundred examples each, in their context.  In thirty minutes you can look up enough of these Scriptures to satisfy yourself on how they are used in God's Word (which should strongly influence how believers use words).

So is "praise" of a lower order than "worship"?  Do we praise just to get the wiggles out so we can get to the more serious business of worship?  A healthy worship/praise service (we're not allowed to call it a song service anymore, for unfathomable reasons) includes both the fast and the slow - typically, but not always, starting with fast and energetic praise.  Yet I recall the first song that became incredibly popular, so popular no one sings it any more, called "We Have Come into His House."  (...and gathered in His name to worship Him."  It was often reworded, "Him" to "You" to make it even more intensely personal).  This song was intended to be the opening statement ("gathered in his name...") for a worship service, though many times it was shifted over to the start of the second half of the service (assuming you all do two "sets" with an offering in-between), as a good way to shift into worship gear, as "Here I Am to Worship" accomplishes today.  Then you have a song like "Better Is One Day."  What species is it?  Is it the platypus of worship?  It is filled with worship metaphor, and yet there is praise in every pore;  its tempo is neither fast nor slow (if you try slow, it will die on the vine, if too fast, the words sound clicked off and robotic).  No, it's just right.  It is a song which is comfortably both praise and worship, and uncomfortable because of the challenges it gives the soul.

Wooooooooow... I've really learned somethings from this conversation but sorry to say, I have not seen scriptural refrence from most comments. If we can understand revelation in John 4:22-23, then we'll have better answers. But thing I know is that Praise and Worship is beyond songs.

It does seem that we are grasping to categorize worship music although I'm not sure praise and worship are descriptive enough terms for me. I'm not sure why one would be fast and the other slow - that seems arbitrary.

But for sure, the bible isn't prescriptive on worship songs and music. It is however descriptive and we could certainly take a few lessons from what we read there.

The New Testament is pretty simple - psalms, hymns and spiritual songs. Many think they know what these mean in practicality, but I'm afraid the real difference between the three has been lost. And it doesn't matter. It's a colloquial thing - very situational. 

The Psalms are full of descriptive categories that apparently made sense to someone.

  • A  "shiggaion" appears to be a "wild passionate song".  
  • No one is sure what a "mikhtam" sounded like, but it apparently meant something to the Hebrews.
  • Apparently, "upon aijeleth hashshahar" (upon the hind of the morning) signaled something to the musicians and worshipers but we have no idea quite what.
  • A "maskil" was apparently a "contemplative song".  
  • Psalm 33 is "praise to the creator and preserver" - apparently the content is most important here, but the content and therefore feeling of this psalm is decidedly upbeat.
  • Psalm 38 is "for a memorial" which I have to think was slow and reflective. 
  • In some cases, psalms tell us what instruments to use and one has to imagine that this meant something more than just what instrument to use.

Perhaps these terms imply a speed and an emotional/modal setting as well as content? It's hard to know. 

So if you want a praise song to be fast and a worship song to be slow, so be it. But those two simple categories seem rather unhelpful and perhaps confining for those who use them in that way. 

So maybe we could benefit from a bit more description - perhaps we need some more terms? Any suggestions?

As this discussion unfolded, I began to make a "categorization", or I should say =am trying to distill a less complex one that I have.  I've kept hymns and worship songs on a spreadsheet, sortable by subject, name, key and tempo, for a number of years.  "Subject" is no simple thing; but I'm going to toss out for your thoughts some opening thoughts on categories.  Remember, when some of us were growing up, there were two types of life:  animal and vegetable; and everything else was just a mixture.  Now I open up a textbook and find there are NINE, and, further, most of the species are not animal or vegetable!  So.... Worship Taxonomy 101, folks!

I started with PRAISE and WORSHIP as just two categories, with "Jesus Loves Me" as an archetype of Praise, and "Father, I Adore You" as an archetype of Worship.  A song such as "Alleluia" I would classify as a STRADDLER, right on the line, some verses pure worship, others praise.  I am identifying PRAISE with "Testmony" - songs that inform or remind us of God's goodness.  WORSHIP songs, I identify with adoration, submission and confession.

No sooner have I made these nice neat categories than I think of songs that won't go, any more than your cat will let itself be put into the tub.  Some I will call REFORM, or IMPROVEMENT songs -- those that your hymnal will classify under "Aspiration."- archetye: "Have Thine Own Way."   But Aspiration sounds like a disease, so I will use more familiar language.   Another big group is INFORMATIONAL, or GOSPEL.  These songs tell the story.  Think "Amen", which goes from baby to ministry to cross to salvation, the whole thing.

So here's a small collection of Taxonomies for worship songs:

PRAISE (God's goodness described and proclaimed)

1700's - O Worship the King; Amazing Grace // 1900's - Jesus Loves me // 1950 - How Great Thou Art; He's Got the Whole World In His Hands // 1970 - God Is So Good // 1990 - For These Reasons // 2010  10,000 Reasons; Our God;  Indescribable

(Exhortation) - Psalm 150, which praises God without requiring an explanation)

_______

WORSHIP (God's goodness spoken back to Him)

1000 BC - Psalm 84 //  1970 AD - Father, I Adore You // As the Deer (quoted from a Psalm) // 1990 - Draw me Close to You // I Stand in Awe

(Confession) 1000 BC - Psalm 51

______________________

STRADDLERS

"Alleluia" worship song // Silent Night

________________

REFORM / IMPROVEMENT / CHRISTIAN LIFE / ASIRATION

1000 BC - Parts of Psalm 51 // 1700's - Joy to the World, O Come, All Ye Faithful // 1900's - O To Be Like Thee (hymn) // 1970 - Spirit of the Living God //  1990 - The Heart of Worship // 2010 - Soul on Fire; Like a Lion (Roaring)

____________________

GOSPEL / INFORMATIONAL / TELL THE STORY

(note: most of what are commonly called "Gospel Songs" are not.  They are Testimony songs).

1700's - When I Survey the Wondrous Cross (and its recent revived version) // 1800's - O LIttle Town of Bethlehem // 1950 - "Amen" (see the little baby...) // 1970 - Lord of the Dance.

And there a a huge number of ballad-like songs, mostly in the Southern tradition, which contain 3 verses of how bad everything is and a final verse about either conversion or eternity, and how good it is or will be.  These are very hard to classify; they are like Testimony, but not quite.

So that's what I've come up with so far.  Any notions about this?



Greg Moore said:

As this discussion unfolded, I began to make a "categorization", or I should say =am trying to distill a less complex one that I have.  I've kept hymns and worship songs on a spreadsheet, sortable by subject, name, key and tempo, for a number of years.  "Subject" is no simple thing; but I'm going to toss out for your thoughts some opening thoughts on categories.  Remember, when some of us were growing up, there were two types of life:  animal and vegetable; and everything else was just a mixture.  Now I open up a textbook and find there are NINE, and, further, most of the species are not animal or vegetable!  So.... Worship Taxonomy 101, folks!

I started with PRAISE and WORSHIP as just two categories, with "Jesus Loves Me" as an archetype of Praise, and "Father, I Adore You" as an archetype of Worship.  A song such as "Alleluia" I would classify as a STRADDLER, right on the line, some verses pure worship, others praise.  I am identifying PRAISE with "Testmony" - songs that inform or remind us of God's goodness.  WORSHIP songs, I identify with adoration, submission and confession.

No sooner have I made these nice neat categories than I think of songs that won't go, any more than your cat will let itself be put into the tub.  Some I will call REFORM, or IMPROVEMENT songs -- those that your hymnal will classify under "Aspiration."- archetye: "Have Thine Own Way."   But Aspiration sounds like a disease, so I will use more familiar language.   Another big group is INFORMATIONAL, or GOSPEL.  These songs tell the story.  Think "Amen", which goes from baby to ministry to cross to salvation, the whole thing.

So here's a small collection of Taxonomies for worship songs:

PRAISE (God's goodness described and proclaimed)

1700's - O Worship the King; Amazing Grace // 1900's - Jesus Loves me // 1950 - How Great Thou Art; He's Got the Whole World In His Hands // 1970 - God Is So Good // 1990 - For These Reasons // 2010  10,000 Reasons; Our God;  Indescribable

(Exhortation) - Psalm 150, which praises God without requiring an explanation)

_______

WORSHIP (God's goodness spoken back to Him)

1000 BC - Psalm 84 //  1970 AD - Father, I Adore You // As the Deer (quoted from a Psalm) // 1990 - Draw me Close to You // I Stand in Awe

(Confession) 1000 BC - Psalm 51

______________________

STRADDLERS

"Alleluia" worship song // Silent Night

________________

REFORM / IMPROVEMENT / CHRISTIAN LIFE / ASIRATION

1000 BC - Parts of Psalm 51 // 1700's - Joy to the World, O Come, All Ye Faithful // 1900's - O To Be Like Thee (hymn) // 1970 - Spirit of the Living God //  1990 - The Heart of Worship // 2010 - Soul on Fire; Like a Lion (Roaring)

____________________

GOSPEL / INFORMATIONAL / TELL THE STORY

(note: most of what are commonly called "Gospel Songs" are not.  They are Testimony songs).

1700's - When I Survey the Wondrous Cross (and its recent revived version) // 1800's - O LIttle Town of Bethlehem // 1950 - "Amen" (see the little baby...) // 1970 - Lord of the Dance.

And there a a huge number of ballad-like songs, mostly in the Southern tradition, which contain 3 verses of how bad everything is and a final verse about either conversion or eternity, and how good it is or will be.  These are very hard to classify; they are like Testimony, but not quite.

So that's what I've come up with so far.  Any notions about this?

An old thread, but my 2p worth.

Let's start with the fundamental of why we sing together.

Personally I believe that it is a way of many people coming together with a single thought. We clearly see in the Bible where people came together to sing to God. Worship leaders wrote songs and people sang them together. A way of people coming together with a single heart, it brings unity. Think of a national anthem. When people sing it together it brings common purpose. Think of songs that soldiers might sing when marching. It helps them keep in time together.

If we take this concept on, we see that many things we do on our own, can be done as a group. We pray "God heal our land" on our own. Put it to music and we can sing it as one. We praise God "Your glory extends to the heavens" put it to music and we can sing it. Even further, we can read the bible out loud. put it in a song and we learn the words easier than just reciting it.

To sum up. The speed of the song has no bearing of the content, rather the words it contains determine what it is, a prayer, a song of praise or even teaching of scripture etc. Often all of the above.

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