The 5 Acts of Worship: How to Make God Happy

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Do you know how to make God happy? What are the various acts of worship that please God?

In The Purpose Driven Life, Rick Warren identifies and explains five practical acts of worship that bring pleasure to God and connect you to him. They bring you joy, as well.

Read more to learn how to make God happy with these five acts of worship.

How to Make God Happy With Acts of Worship

There are five acts of worship that—when practiced with accuracy, authenticity, thoughtfulness, and practicality—make God happy. 

Act of Worship #1: Love Him Absolutely

God’s greatest desire is for you to love him in the same way that he loves you. Imagine your relationship with your closest and most loyal friend. You probably stay in regular contact with this friend, know everything about her, trust her completely, and allow her to know everything about you. 

God wants this type of close friendship with you, and nothing would bring him more happiness than your efforts to know and love everything about him—in this sense, your friendship is a form of worship. There are six ways you can establish and maintain your friendship with God. 

1) Have Ongoing Conversations

It’s essential to stay in regular contact with God—only speaking to him once a week at church isn’t enough to create a close friendship. 

Like many people, you’re probably in close contact with your best friend, texting her daily with updates on things happening in your life, thoughts you have, or questions about her day. Your communication with God should be a similar stream of consciousness.

  • Include God in everything you do, every thought that crosses your mind, and every conversation you have—think of your conversations with him less as prayers and more as ongoing texts.

You don’t need to be alone to spend time with God or talk to him—he’s with you everywhere, as long as you keep his presence in your mind and invite him to be part of whatever you’re doing, whether it be grocery shopping, driving to work, or meeting with a client. 

  • If you have trouble remembering to feel his presence and keep an ongoing conversation, you can try writing reminders on sticky notes and putting them in high-visibility places, or set an alarm on your phone to ping you every hour with a reminder. 

2) Meditate on His Word 

Part of truly knowing God is knowing what he thinks and feels—and there’s no better place to find this information than his Word. You can’t read the Bible all day in the same way you can talk to God all day. You can, however, think about Scripture. 

  • Every week or so, select a few verses that you’d like to meditate on over the week. At regular intervals when you have a moment to think, just repeat these verses in your mind. 

When you turn over verses in your mind repeatedly, you often find truths and lessons in them that you hadn’t noticed before—in this way, God is able to speak to you. He shares his secrets and his knowledge, allowing you to understand him fully as a friend would. 

3) Voice Your Displeasure and Doubt 

Honesty is one of the foundational elements of any solid friendship, so it’s not surprising that God desires your total honesty. This means that he’ll not only tolerate you voicing displeasure with him, but he’ll also encourage it and listen to it. 

  • Even in the Bible, those who were closest to God regularly spoke to him in anger—they argued with him, doubted him, accused him, and shouted at him. 

God doesn’t mind it when you express your anger, because it’s the first step to becoming closer to him. When you’re angry with God, it’s usually because you don’t understand that everything he does is in your best interest. Eventually, you’ll understand the reason for your suffering, but for now, it’s just important to get it off your chest. By doing so, you put your emotions out in the open where they can cool off, instead of bottling them up and letting resentment simmer. It’s impossible to become best friends with God if you resent him. 

  • If you need help articulating your displeasure, you can turn to the book of Psalms, which God gave us as “guidelines” for expressing emotion—while plenty of them are full of praise, many are full of complaints, fears, and doubts.

4) Act With Faith 

If your best friend tells you to do something you don’t understand or are afraid of, you’d probably question her. Here, your friendship with God differs—when God tells you to act, you’re expected to obey him in total trust and faith. This is a signal of intimacy because it proves that you love God, trust him, and want to do as he says as a demonstration of your gratitude. 

  • God’s requests can take many forms. He may ask you to share what you have, offer forgiveness to someone who’s hurt you, or reach out to someone who may reject you. 

5) Share His Values

You care about what’s important to your best friend, and vice versa. When you become friends with God, the same thing will happen—you’ll value the same things he does. 

  • What God cares about most is that all of his children accept him and love him. The closer you become to God, the more you’ll start to care about the faith and salvation of those around you as he does.  

6) Desire His Friendship Above All

You didn’t become close to your best friend by accident—both of you put in the effort to meet up regularly, return one another’s phone calls, listen to one another, and open up to one another. It’s crucial to make the same sort of effort with God if you want to become his friend. If you don’t actively choose to deepen your relationship with him, you’ll never be close. 

  • Check in regularly and ask yourself: Have I worked on becoming closer to God this week? Have I let other things get in the way of our friendship? How can I be a better friend to God next week?

Acts of Worship #2 and #3: Trust and Obey Him Completely

God wants you to trust and obey him, even when what he asks of you doesn’t make perfect sense. This can be difficult—you likely often think that you know what’s best for you. God has known you since before your birth and deserves your faith that he knows best. You make him happiest when you completely trust that he’ll keep his promises to you, watch over you, and help you. 

Two factors determine whether your trust and obedience are complete:

  1. You do exactly what’s asked of you. You don’t half listen to God, inserting your own, “better” way of doing things as you see fit. You don’t neglect any part of God’s instruction, and you do it precisely in the manner he wants. 
  2. You trust and obey without hesitation. You don’t hem and haw, question God, or deliberate about what to do—these actions are thinly veiled disobedience and mistrust. You act first and then reflect. Often, you’ll find that there was no way to understand God’s instructions until you did as he asked.

The story of Noah’s ark is an example of complete trust and obedience. Noah never questioned why God would have him build an ark, and was careful to follow God’s instructions for the construction and gathering of animals to the letter. It was only after the flood arrived that Noah was finally able to see the reasons for God’s demand.

Surrender: The Foundation of Trust and Obedience

The process of “letting go” and giving yourself over to God with complete trust is called surrender. In a state of surrender, you give your entire life—your fears, ambitions, guilt, dreams, and so on—to God and fully devote yourself to serving him. 

Many people worship God in a half-committed way because they haven’t surrendered themselves to him yet. There are three common reasons people avoid surrendering: 

1) Fear: You might find it hard to surrender to God completely if you don’t understand how much he loves you or that he wants the best for you. God won’t use your surrender against you in any way—it’s not a way for him to control you. He’ll only use it to push your life in the right direction. 

2) Pride: Like many people, you likely want to be in control of everything in your life. Surrender conflicts with your pride because it feels like the destruction of control. It’s essential to realize that you’re not a god. Accept your limitations and surrender to God, who truly knows the best direction for you. 

3) Confusion: If you’re confused about what surrendering means, you might develop a negative idea of what it is. 

  • It’s not giving up, or being resigned to the “way things are.” Rather, it often means breaking the status quo of your life in order to do the important work that needs to be done. 
  • It’s not a way to give up your rational thinking and become a mindless zombie. God gave you a rational mind on purpose—he doesn’t want to take that from you. 
  • It’s not a destruction of your individualism. God uses your unique thoughts and worldview to help others in meaningful ways.

Surrender, at its base, is just complete obedience and trust. You serve God completely and willingly without question because you trust that he knows best. 

Act of Worship #4: Thank Him Regularly

God has given you so much, and it’s only right to regularly express your gratitude. Remember that authenticity and accuracy are most pleasing—thank God for who he is and thank him for specific gifts or opportunities he’s granted you. 

  • For example, you might express gratitude for specific miracles described in the Bible, or start your morning by telling him a list of the small joys of your life you’re grateful for. 

This act of worship has the added benefit of making you feel good, too. It always feels wonderful to give someone genuine praise and know you’ve made them happy. Every time you express gratitude to God, you allow yourself to feel that joy. 

Act of Worship #5: Use Your Abilities Earnestly

Using your abilities is a practical, joyful, and constant way to worship. Every time God sees his creations doing what he designed them to do, he feels pleasure. 

This type of worship doesn’t have any constraints—everything you do can be an act of worship, as long as you’re doing it with an attitude of praise. 

For example, going for a jog can be an act of worship if you remind yourself, “I’m grateful that God gave me the ability to use my body in this way.” Your job becomes an act of worship when you think, “I thank God for giving me the opportunity to use my mind and my skills in this way.”

The 5 Acts of Worship: How to Make God Happy

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Elizabeth Whitworth

Elizabeth has a lifelong love of books. She devours nonfiction, especially in the areas of history, theology, and philosophy. A switch to audiobooks has kindled her enjoyment of well-narrated fiction, particularly Victorian and early 20th-century works. She appreciates idea-driven books—and a classic murder mystery now and then. Elizabeth has a blog and is writing a book about the beginning and the end of suffering.

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