l think many of us have a very distorted and ill-conceived idea of prayer and worship. We seem to think the purpose of prayer is for supplication to God (and it definitely is, as God wants us to ask Him for things we need, want or desire.) Prayer though, is so much more than just asking God for things. God is so much more than a giant ATM machine in the sky, yet so many of us treat Him just like that. What is even more problematic is our approach to worship. We do not offer God worship for His sake, we worship God for our own sake.
There is nothing that we can do or say that will change God. God is, by his very nature, unchanging. And God really needs nothing from us either, He is just fine as He is. He gains nothing from our worship or prayers. So, why then is all this prayer and worship so important and vital to us and our relationship with God? If God gets nothing out of it, then why do we do it?
Well, because we get everything out of prayer and worship. It is for us. God commands us to pray and to worship Him because He knows if we do not, then we will not grow in virtue, or relationship with Him. We will not grow in holiness or righteousness, and we won't make it back to Him and Heaven. God knows that if we do not worship Him, we will find something else to worship, and that is more often than not ourselves. Worship is so important to our quest for Heaven, that God has made it central to our lives, and commands us to pray without ceasing.
Right worship, though, is what is important, and right worship is sorely lacking in our world today. When we come to worship, we offer God all that we have, it is an act of self-giving and surrender. We offer ourselves to God, and we surrender ourselves to His will, abandoning our own, with the trust and knowledge that God's will for us is infinitely better than anything we can will for ourselves. That is why God has constructed and detailed the ways and the order of our worship. He dictates how we must worship Him in Genesis, and all throughout the Old Testament, and he then fulfills in Christ and the celebration of the Eucharist all practices of worship established through the story of salvation.
The Catholic Church and the Divine Liturgy or Holy Sacrifice of the Mass and the Representation of Christ's sacrifice on Calvary is the culmination of the entirety of the Old Testament. He fulfills every word, ritual, sacrifice and prophecy with those Old Testament Scriptures, and He does all this within the confines of the Mass.
That so many Catholics have abandoned this in preference of other services is evidence that if we don't worship the way God dictates, the worship becomes more about us than about God. Those that leave the Church because they get more out of Protestant services demonstrates a lack of knowledge and zeal so many of us really have for Truth and God.
Never in the history of the world had worship been absent of physical sacrifice until the Protestant Revolt and the emergence and reemergence. Yet, today, there is a surge of gatherings focused on music and motivational speaking that are labeled 'worship services' but that have no trace of the sacrificial offerings outlined in the Old Testament and fulfilled in the New Testament within the Gospels and the books, letters and writings of apostles and disciples.
The ignorance shown by this rejection of Christ ultimately demonstrates our desire and enthusiasm for what we want, and not what God wants. This brings us back full circle to the self-worship embedded in pride that causes us to break into these denominations and leads to a very real separation from the Body of Christ.
This is not how the Kingdom of God works. The Kingdom of God is here and at hand right now in the Catholic Church. Yes, as tarnished and broken as the Church is, it is the Kingdom of God here on Earth. It is where Christ is found, truly present in all the tabernacles of the world in the Eucharist from now and until the end of time, as prefigured in multiple stories of the Old Testament. We don't find this in Protestant denominations. Christ built His Church, His Bride on the rock of Peter, not the rock of John Smyth or Martin Luther.
The Catholic Church and Christ is not the privileged way to Heaven, it is the only way. To reject the Church, the Catholic Church, is to reject Christ. Thank goodness for the Mercy of God, for the whole world. Our world is in more need of mercy now than ever before. If you are a lapsing Catholic, please come home, come home to the Church and to Christ, and to true worship; worship defined in detail by God. Because God cares about the details, and we need only read the stories about the construction of the ark and the temple, the Ark of the Covenant. If you don't believe God cares about the details of worship, then please reconcile those verses with the necessary prescription of right worship to God in today's world and Kingdom.
The devil is in the details they say, or more precisely in the lack thereof. You find the devil in the lack of detail concerning right worship, the occurrence of which caused fall after fall of the Chosen People, and continues to cause fall after fall in today's world of those who self proclaim to be those chosen ones. Right worship certainly does change us, but so too does wrong worship.