Throughout the Bible it is assumed that the initiative in true worship is God’s.
Christian worship is also human action. The human action is altogether secondary, being made possible by, and responding to, the action of God.
—C. E. B. Cranfield, “Divine and Human Action: The Biblical Concept of Worship,” Interpretation, vol. xii number 4 (October, 1958)
It should always happen in this house of God that the Lord speaks to us through His holy Word, and that we then speak to Him with our prayers and songs of praise.
—Martin Luther (inscribed on door into the sanctuary of Castle Church in Wittenberg, on opposite side of the building from the famous Wittenberg Door)
We receive God’s Grace through the Word and we return to God in thanksgiving the Grace that we have received through the Word. Grace (eucharis) is what we receive. Thanksgiving (eucharistia) is the Grace that we give back to the Father.
—David W. Torrance, “The Word of God in Worship,” Scottish Bulletin of Evangelical Theology 1 (1983):11-16
What should happen in this house of God is that our Lord Himself will speak to us through His holy Word, and we in turn will speak to Him with our prayers and songs of praise.
—Martin Luther (on the door into the Castle Church in Wittenberg, on the other side of which Luther posted his 95 Theses)
Martin Luther gave the German people in their own language the Bible and the hymnbook, so that God might speak directly to them in His Word, and that they might directly answer Him in their songs.
—Hustad, Jubilate! Church Music in Worship and Renewal, 243
The worship of sinful and fallen people necessitates divine mediation if the sacrifice is to be good, perfect and acceptable to God. The pagan worship that surrounded the patriarchs was often a work of appeasement, a work initiated by people seeking to win divine favor. Biblical worship emerges in the Hebrew and Christian Scripture as that which is initiated by God, mediated by God, and is a response of the people of God to the grace and favor of God they have already experienced.
—Robbie F. Castleman, Story Shaped Worship, Following Patterns from the Bible and History, 38
Before there was a command to love God, there was the revelation, “Hear, O Israel, the Lord our God, the Lord is one.” There is no truth, no validity in our worship if the one we worship is not the true and living Creator and Redeemer.
—Garry D. Nation, “The Essentials of Worship: Toward a Biblical Theology of Worship,” Journal of the American Academy of Ministry 5.3 & 4 (Winter-Spring 1997): 6-7