The Missing Elements of Modern Worship

Popular blogger, author and pastor Tim Challies wonders: “If a worship service includes no prayer and no Bible reading, can we even recognize it as Christian worship?”

The question you need to ask yourself is, does the church you attend follow the Bible’s instruction on the way church is to be conducted?  Is the service you attend man-centered, or does it truly glorify God? After visiting many churches over the years, Challies says that the answer to these questions is No!  So, what exactly is missing in modern worship? Well, for one thing some church services lack, of all things, prayer.  There are other important elements that are missing as well.  Find out what they are….


I once paid a visit to one of the most mega of America’s megachurches. It’s a church whose pastor is well-known, a church known for its innovation, a church held up as a model for modern evangelicalism. I went in with as open a mind as I could muster. I left perplexed. I was perplexed not by what was said or done in the service as much as what was left unsaid and undone.

Since that visit I’ve had the opportunity to attend many more churches and, as often as not, they have been similar, missing a lot of the elements that used to be hallmarks of Christian worship. Here are some of the missing elements of modern worship.


That church I visited all those years ago was the first I had ever attended that was almost completely devoid of prayer. The only prayer in the entire service was a prayer of response following the sermon. “With every head bowed and every eye closed, pray these words with me…” There were no prayers of confession, of intercession, of thanksgiving. There was no pastoral prayer to bring the cares of the congregation before the Lord. This is a pattern I have seen again and again in modern worship services, with prayer becoming rare and minimal instead of common and prominent. Conspicuous by their absence are any prayers longer than 30 seconds or a minute in length.


Another element that has gone missing in modern worship is the scripture reading. There was a time when most services included a couple of lengthy readings, often one from the Old Testament and one from the New. But then it was trimmed to one and then the reading disappeared altogether in favor of mentioning individual verses as they came up in the sermon. But what of Paul’s command to Timothy that he devote himself to the public reading of Scripture (1 Timothy 4:13)? In too many churches this element has gone missing. In too many churches the Word of God is almost an afterthought.

Already we do well to pause and ask the question: If a worship service includes no prayer and no Bible reading, can we even recognize it as Christian worship?   Continue reading

, , , , , , , ,

3 Responses to The Missing Elements of Modern Worship

  1. REJI PAUL October 22, 2016 at 11:32 pm #

    No wonder that only 2% of people attend churches in U.K.

    We can’t blame the flock as far as church services don’t make the spiritually happy and enriched.

    Even born again churches are slipping to Catholic custom now a days.

  2. Manny1962 October 23, 2016 at 12:53 pm #

    It’s not about the basic tenets of worship any longer:

    Honoring The Father
    Honoring The Son
    Honoring The Holy Spirit.
    Honoring The Worf Of God.
    The importance of evangelizing the lost.

    It’s about:

    A friendly “god” that bears no justice loves the sinner and the sin. We all worship the same “god.”
    A “jesus” that fits the modern, dead, apostate narrative, not needed for salvation.

    Worshipping all spirits, unknowingly they worship the spirit of antichrist and Satan.

    The word is ambiguous so it must be seen through the filter of “love” and ecumenism.

    There are no “lost,” we are all on a journey, we are all on a road less traveled, but all roads and religions lead to “god.”

    We all are children of “god,” we all come together in music, plays, skits, comedy acts, gay affirmations, gay weddings, we are all worshipping the same “god.”

    Sadly the “god” they worship is the “god” of this age, the devil.

  3. John October 23, 2016 at 7:26 pm #

    I pulled myself out of the ‘contemporary’ church and am in a PCA church though I don’t agree with all points of Calvinism. I have a wrestling match with myself in the liturgy because very often it seems so stuffy and orchestrated whereas the contemporary church seems ‘freer’. I often remind myself that the reason I attend is the preaching is very Gospel centered, they sing from hymns so I should pay attention to the wording and make it my own because I am singing a confession of faith as well as my confession of being a sinner.

Leave a Reply