When We Get Worship Wrong



Our church is in the third week of studying through the book of Malachi.   While the over-arching theme of the book of Malachi is God’s “no-strings-attached” love for the people of Israel, a good portion of this book is directed towards Israel’s unacceptable worship to God.  In Malachi chapter 1 God comes down pretty hard on the Israelites through his prophet.  God is upset with the Israelites for “defaming His name” by worshiping Him unacceptably.  The Israelites aren’t taking their worship to God seriously.  They’ve lost sight of God’s holiness and their sinfulness.  They’ve forgotten the depth of forgiveness that God has given them, and they are worshiping half-heartedly and apathetically.

Now it’s pretty easy to read through this passage and think, “How could they do such a thing?”   “How could they apathetically worship God after all that He had done for them?!”  However, when I take a closer look at this passage and myself, I see that in reality, I am actually quite a bit like the Israelites.  I don’t always bring my best to worship God.  I don’t always give him the “first-fruits” of my life.  At times I loose sight of the radical grace that God has shown me.

So, in an effort to lead ourselves and our church back to the Gospel in worship, some of our worship pastors and teaching pastors crafted a prayer of confession around some of the sins specific to Malachi 1.  Our goal was to blend the traditional “Prayer of Penitence” with Malachi 1, in an effort to write a prayer of confession that is true to the Scriptures and our context.  I wanted to share this prayer in case it could be useful for you personally, for your small group, or even your church.


Most holy and merciful Father:

We confess to you and to one another

That we have sinned by our own fault

In thought, word, and deed;

By what we have done, and by what we have left undone. 


We have not loved you with our whole heart, and mind, and strength.


Have mercy on us, Lord.


We confess that we have been unfaithful to you in our worship.   We allow our pride, hypocrisy, and busy schedules to control our lives.


We confess to you, Lord.


We confess our self-indulgent appetites and ways.  We are quick to seek our own preferences before the good of others, the Church, and Your glory.


We confess to you, Lord.


We confess that we take the good news of the Gospel for granted.  We are apathetic toward the grace that You have given us.


We confess to you, Lord.


We confess that we have defamed Your name by worshiping You half-heartedly and out of obligation.


Have mercy on us, Lord.


In Your great mercy, Lord, restore us. 

We ask You to the forgive our sins, and we receive Your assurance of pardon. 

Accomplish in us the work of Your salvation,

That we may show Your glory in the world. 

By the cross and passion of Your son, Jesus Christ,

Bring us to the joy of his ressurection. 

That we may worship You with our whole heart, mind, and strength. 


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  1. Aaron! This is beautiful! Thank you for reminding us in such a strong way that God’s mercy is the only thing that sustains us as his wayward and disobedient children. Yes, Lord RESTORE, RENEW & breathe new life into us!

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