No Place for Private Worship?

Am I trying to minimize the importance of private worship? By no means…

In October’s post I wrote that the duty of public worship should receive greater emphasis from us than that of private worship. My purpose in writing that, however, was not to minimize the important place that private worship should occupy in the life of the saint of God. The practice of private worship is clearly taught in Scripture (Psalm 5:3; Daniel 6:10; Acts 10:9) and we are assured that God hears and rewards those who meet with him in secret (Matthew 6:6). Thus, we should daily, like the psalmist, “declare God’s loving-kindness in the morning and God’s faithfulness every night” (Psalm 92:2).

Yet, while private worship is accepted and rewarded by God, and it is a vital part of our personal devotion to Him, public worship is God’s greater delight. In fact, Charles Spurgeon, commenting on Psalm 87:2, wrote: “God delights in the prayers and praises of Christian families and individuals, but he has a special eye to the assemblies of the faithful, and he has special delight in their devotions in their church capacity. The great festivals, when the crowds surrounded the temple gates, were very fair in the Lord’s eyes, and even such is the general assembly and church of the first born, whose names are written in heaven. This should lead each separate believer to identify himself with the church of God; where the Lord reveals his love the most, there should each believer most delight to be found. Our own dwellings are very dear to us, but we must not prefer them to the assemblies of the saints; we must say of the church – Here my best friends, my kindred dwells: Here God, my Savior reigns.”

Let us be diligent, then, to worship God privately, knowing that the daily prayers and praises that we offer to Him in Christ’s name are accepted. But let us give public worship – where we corporately worship God with His people – the pride of place.