God has revealed the type of worship He desires, worship carried out in how we live our life. Worship is not only the words we pray, it is also the actions we take throughout each day.
In 1 Samuel (15:22) we learn: “Has the Lord as great delight in burnt offerings and sacrifices, as in obeying the voice of the Lord? Behold, to obey is better than sacrifice, and to hearken than the fat of rams.” This is not to say that the God condemns sacrifices, but that the God finds obedience better.
The Prophets further echo the Lord’s desire of a life lived in obedience:
“For I desire steadfast love and not sacrifice, the knowledge of God, rather than burnt offerings.” (Hosea 6:6); and
“With what shall I come before the Lord, and bow myself before God on high? Shall I come before him with burnt offerings, with calves a year old? Will the Lord be pleased with thousands of rams, with ten thousands of rivers of oil? Shall I give my first-born for my transgression, the fruit of my body for the sin of my soul?” He has showed you, O man, what is good; and what does the LORD require of you but to do justice, and to love kindness, and to walk humbly with your God?” (Micah 6:6-68)
And, Jesus taught:
I desire mercy, and not sacrifice. (Matthew 9:13, 12:7); and
And the scribe said to him, “You are right, Teacher; you have truly said that he is one, and there is no other but he; and to love him with all the heart, and with all the understanding, and with all the strength, and to love one’s neighbor as oneself, is much more than all whole burnt offerings and sacrifices.” And when Jesus saw that he answered wisely, he said to him, “You are not far from the kingdom of God.” (Mark 12:32-34)
For this reason we are called to live our lives in worship of God in the public square. We cannot separate how we live our life from the actions we take (public or private) from our faith. God calls us to remove evil, seek justice, and show mercy with profound love in all we do. We are to pray not only with words but also with our actions. Actions become prayer when carried out in union with God for His greater glory. Life is to be lived in continual glorification of God.
But also Mt 6:6 . . .
Thank you Saintly Sage. “But when you pray, go into your room and shut the door and pray to your Father who is in secret; and your Father who sees in secret will reward you.” (Matthew 6:6)
I desire mercy, and not sacrifice. I love this!