While it is the Holy Spirit who works in the believer, it is the duty of Christians to actively engage any channel by which they may access that work. All of the means of grace are meant for the building up of Christians corporately and individually, that when engaged properly is building the church up in love (Eph. 4:16).
Christian worship may be discussed both as the lifestyle of a Christian (Rom. 12:1-2) and as something observed on public and private occasions (Heb. 10:19-25). The latter is the focus of this discussion of worship as a means of grace.
God calls us to worship him. In that call that we see how worship, an end in itself for the Christian, is also a means of grace. Just as God calls us to himself in salvation, he also calls believers to “come into his presence” (Ps. 100:2) to participate in central elements of worship: the Word, sacraments, and prayer. God initiates and we respond by the power of his work in us. Therefore, as we engage in worship, we are growing in the benefits of redemption communicated to us by the Holy Spirit through the mediation of Jesus Christ. As Marva Dawn states, by him making “it possible for us to enter into his presence; God is the one who gives us himself in the Word, the water, the supper.”
The observance of the Christian life is not one of independent spirituality, rather its end is worshiping God with God’s people alongside of you—glorifying God and enjoying him forever (WSC, Q1). The Lord has appointed one day in seven to be a holy resting from worldly engagements. It is a day set apart to rest in Him and engage in public and private exercises of worship (WCF, 21.8). God’s people must draw together in full assurance of faith and not neglect such opportunities to be God’s people together, worshiping the Lord and Savior (Heb. 10:19-25). In the Old Testament this drawing together as a people would result in being drawn into the presence of God (2 Chron. 5:13-14). In the New Testament, as well, James explains that as God’s people draw near to him, he will in turn “draw near to you” (James 4:8). It is truly a means of grace if true worship draws God’s people close to him and his presence while giving him the praise he deserves. As Martin Luther noted, “At home in my own house there is no warmth or vigor in me, but in the church when the multitude is gathered together, a fire is kindled in my heart and it breaks its way through.” Worship is not a cold exchange of truth and praise to a distant and disinterested deity by a people simply attempting to guess at the desires of a persnickety god. Worship warms us to God by giving him the praise he is due because he has revealed himself to us in Scripture and given us Grace without merit in the person and work of his Son by the power of the Holy Spirit.
The means of grace are to be observed and exercised in the corporate worship of God’s covenant people (WCF, 21; DPW, III & V). In public worship we use those things which God has given us in his Word that reveal his justifying and sanctifying grace by the power of the Holy Spirit. His Word is to be read, preached, and accompanied by the sacraments. Prayers of thanksgiving, adoration, supplication, and confession are to be offered to God alone. Worship is what disciples of Jesus do, enriching the fellowship of the saints.