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:
- Surrender by Lincoln Brewster
- Agnus Dei by Judy Jacobs
- The Stand by Hillsong
- At Your Feet by Casting Crowns
- Lead Me to the Cross by Hillsong