Worship is the supreme and only indispensable activity of the Christian Church. It alone will endure, like the love for God which it expresses, into heaven, when all other activities of the Church will have passed away. It must therefore, even more strictly than any of the less essential doings of the Church, come under the criticism and control of the revelation on which the Church is founded.
With these words, W. Nicholls (Jacob’s Ladder: The Meaning of Worship, Ecumenical Studies in Worship No. 4 [Lutterworth: London, 1958], 9) draws attention to the importance of worship and the need to bring our thinking and practice under the scrutiny of Scripture. So I chose to begin my major work on the topic, Engaging with God, by citing Nicholls and arguing for a comprehensive biblical study of the theme.
I have always been interested in the practice of worship, as it relates to the individual Christian life and to the corporate experience of Christ’s people. So I contributed an article on ‘Prayer in Paul’s Writings’ and another on ‘Prayer in the General Epistles’ to a volume entitled Teach us to Pray: Prayer in the Bible and the World, edited by D. A. Carson (Exeter: Paternoster; Grand Rapids: Baker, for the World Evangelical Fellowship, 1990, 84-118). I have been involved in the process of liturgical revision both nationally in Australia, as part of the team that produced A Prayer Book for Australia (1995), and locally in Sydney, with the production of Experimental Sunday Services (1993) and most recently with the publication of online teaching and resources at Better Gatherings.
But my greatest passion has been to explore biblical teaching on worship as a life orientation or relationship with God expressed through everyday faith and obedience. Hence, Engaging with God, and my article ‘Worship in the New Testament’, contributed to Worship: Adoration and Action, edited by D. A. Carson (Carlisle: Paternoster; Grand Rapids: Baker, for the World Evangelical Fellowship, 1993, 51-91).