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I will praise you, O Lord my God, with all my heart; I will glorify your name forever. For great is your love toward me; you have delivered me from the depths of the grave.

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The arrogant are attacking me, O God; a band of ruthless men seeks my life— men without regard for you. But you, O Lord, are a compassionate and gracious God, slow to anger, abounding in love and faithfulness. Turn to me and have mercy on me; grant your strength to your servant and save the son of your maidservant.

Responsorial prayers are a series of petitions read or sung by a leader with responses made by the congregation.

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Set times for prayer during the day were established based substantially on Jewish models , and a festal cycle throughout the Church year governed the celebration of feasts and holy days pertaining to the events in the life of Jesus , the lives of the saints , and aspects of the Godhead. A great deal of emphasis was placed on the forms of worship, as they were seen in terms of the Latin phrase lex orandi, lex credendi "the rule of prayer is the rule of belief" —that is, the specifics of one's worship express, teach, and govern the doctrinal beliefs of the community.

According to this view, alterations in the patterns and content of worship would necessarily reflect a change in the faith itself. Each time a heresy arose in the Church, it was typically accompanied by a shift in worship for the heretical group. Orthodoxy in faith also meant orthodoxy in worship, and vice versa. Thus, unity in Christian worship was understood to be a fulfillment of Jesus' words that the time was at hand when true worshipers would worship "in spirit and in truth" John The Holy Eucharist was the central act of worship in early Christianity.

The liturgy of the synagogues and the ritual of the Jewish temple, both of which were participated in by early Christians, helped shape the form of the early Christian liturgy, which was a dual liturgy of the word and of the Eucharist; this early structure of the liturgy still exists in the Catholic Mass and Eastern Divine Liturgy.

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The early Christian use of incense in worship seemed first to originate in Christian funeral rites, and was later used during regular worship services. Incense was also used in the Bible to worship God and symbolize prayer, in both the Old Testament and New Testament ; one of the three Magi offered Christ frankincense , and in the Book of Revelation , angels and saints appear in Heaven offering incense to God , thus setting a precedent for Christian use of incense in worship.

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The first miracle of the Apostles , the healing of the crippled man on the temple steps, occurred because Peter and John went to the Temple to pray Acts Since the Apostles were originally Jews, see Jewish Christians , the concept of fixed hours for services, and services therefore which differed from weekday to Sabbath to holy day, were familiar to them.

Pliny the Younger 63 - ca. The real evolution of the Christian service in the first century is shrouded in mystery.

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By the second and third centuries , such Church Fathers as Clement of Alexandria , Origen , and Tertullian wrote of formalised, regular services: the practice of Morning and Evening Prayer, and prayers at the third hour of the day terce , the sixth hour of the day sext , and the ninth hour of the day none. With reference to the Jewish practices, it is surely no coincidence that these major hours of prayer correspond to the first and last hour of the conventional day, and that on Sundays corresponding to the Sabbath in Christianity , the services are more complex and longer involving twice as many services if one counts the Eucharist and the afternoon service.

Similarly, the liturgical year from Christmas via Easter to Pentecost covers roughly five months, the other seven having no major services linked to the work of Christ. However, this is not to say that the Jewish services were copied or deliberately substituted, see Supersessionism. Worship as singing underwent great changes for some Christians within the Protestant Reformation.

Martin Luther , a music lover, composed hymns that are still sung today, and expected congregations to be active participants in the service, singing along. John Calvin , in Geneva, argued that while instrumental music had its time with the Levites of the Old Testament , it was no longer a proper expression for the church.


Furthermore, in the Genevan and Scottish Reformed tradition, man-made hymns are not sung, being seen inferior to the God-inspired psalms of the Bible. The Calvinist Regulative Principle of Worship distinguishes traditional Presbyterian and Reformed churches from the Lutheran or other Protestant churches. Current Christian worship practices are diverse in modern Christianity, with a range of customs and theological views. Three broad groupings can be identified, and whilst some elements are universal, style and content varies greatly due to the history and differing emphases of the various branches of Christianity.


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In many Christian traditions, regular public worship is complemented by worship in private and small groups, such as meditation, prayer and study. Unitarian Universalist worship styles vary by congregation, and even within congregations. Some features exuberant music, some includes long periods of silent reflection. From time to time, worships incorporate holiday celebrations, multigenerational plays and pageants, longer musical performances, child dedications, and coming-of-age ceremonies.