What is the difference between a praise song and a worship song?
I love it! Great simple question that would otherwise go unanswered thinking that the answer is obvious. However, to those that may be new to faith, or did not grow up in a culture that exercised music liberties, the distinction may not be so clear. Here is my answer along with some sample songs that I hope will help you understand the difference.
Praise means to express gratitude and admiration. So in a praise song, the lyrics tend to be more about thankfulness and the melody is rather upbeat and cheerful. Many times, the lyrics mention God’s sovereignty, His majestic holiness, His good nature, grace, etc. and we sing as cheerful followers. Congregations clap-along, jump, sway and are all together making a joyful noise. At church you may notice that services often start with “praise” songs to get the congregation moving and alive.
Here are a few of my current favorite praise songs:
Worship means to express reverence and adoration. Worship songs in Christian settings have lyrics that tend to go deeper into the heart. They are piercing to the point of tears. They stir the heart to reflection and change. Here, congregations tend to stand still and lift their hands in surrender. Sometimes people are on their knees, on the floor, or simply bowing their heads as they sing.
Here are a few of my current favorite worship songs:
The song, My Jesus by Leeland, was resonating in my spirit all morning today. Funny, I don’t recall hearing the song lately, but nevertheless, there it was… on my heart, where the Holy Spirit brought it. I am so thankful that I know this song and can recall some of its beautiful lyrics. And with that thought, it also made me thankful that I know so many other amazing songs about our Loving Lord. I’m in pure joy and thankfulness today for the love of Christ that surrounds me and awakes me each morning. Through friends, revelations, teachings, meditation, prayer, missions, ministry, fellowship, but most importantly, the Word of God and God Himself. I kept repeating this verse over and over in my mind…
And I’m lost in Your love and Your mercy.
Lord, Your beauty is so overwhelming.
I’m thankful for Your truth.
I’m so in love with You.
My Jesus, My Jesus.
When I got to work, I turned on my computer, started working and listened to the song on repeat for maybe an hour or so. Each time the song played, I gradually found myself cranking up the volume a notch, and sometimes I was holding back my tears of thanks and joy of God in my life. Good thing my computer screen faces windows. : )
I remember the first time I heard Leeland sing. It was at Lakewood Church, maybe about two years ago. Pastor Marcos Witt introduced him to sing Carried to the Table during the tithes and offerings. I have to tell you, Leeland’s voice completely blew me away! It was amazing to see the young man with his bright red hair pouring his voice and heart on stage. Such a beautiful song with a beautiful truth. Tears filled my eyes at the emotion that filled me. Marcos Witt had him play to introduce his sermon for that day about being carried to the table. The whole service was an experience I have not forgotten.