Religious and Spiritual Experience

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  • Important to Christians to recognise God's worth through worship

- Various forms of prayer

 - Music

 - Preaching

 God is given the praise and adoration Christians believe He is worthy of as Christian worship is an act of love in response to God.

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Private Worship


Types of private worship:

  • Prayer - spending time talking to God
  • Meditation - emptying their minds of ordinary thoughts
  • Reading the Bible
  • Small worship groups - provides friendship as well as worship to God

There is nothing which states where Christians can and can't worship God, only that they must do so 'pray continually; give thanks in all circumstances' - 1 Thessalonians 5

Catholics may have a small Shrine with candles and a statue on it, where they may coose to pray when at home

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Communal Worship

Most Christians attend religious services to worship God with others - usually on a Sunday

Liturgical Worship

Common order of service

  • Prayers - expression of worshippers dependence on God
  • Bible Reading - readers stand infront of congregation, worshippers can reflect and think about its meaning
  • Sermons - a talk given that may refer to a certain Bible passage, current issues or a specific area of Christian doctrine e.g. forgiveness. Christians may try and apply it to their lives
  • Holy Communion - Bread and wine shared out as was done at the Last Supper. Bread = body and Wine = blood shed on the Cross 
  • Hymns - words of worship set to music. Commonly a traditional accompaniment provided by an organ in liturgical worship. Words of hymn allow worshippers to communicate with God together
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In prayer, believers may often praise, make a request of God, or simply express their thoughts and emotions. Prayers should also be a time for listening to God.

Prayer is a two-way spiritual relationship in which the Christian should not only talk to God but also listen to what God might be saying to them.

Prayer can help: Christians communicate with God

Develop a relationship with God

Services may include silent prayer which allows a period of reflection

In some church services, any member of the congregation is free to stand and pray aloud.

Four main types of Prayer - A. C. T. S

  • Adoration - worshipping God for who He is and what He has
  • Confession - apologising for mistakes they have made and things they have done wrong
  • Thanksgiving - a prayer of act which gives thanks to God
  • Supplication - prayers in which people ask God for thier own needs and those of others

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Christians may mediatatewhich allows them time to feel at peace. They may also feel that it allows them to develop a personal and intimate relationship with God.

Christians sit quietly and try to empty their minds of ordinary thought and listen to their spiritual feelings.

Allows them to be still and quiet and reflect on everything withint their lives

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Can be seen in many Churches and some people find it helpful during worship as a way od expresing Christian beliefs about God.

Art can be: sculptures, needlework, stained-glass windows and carvings.

Art can lead a person into a deeper sense of knowledge of God.

Use of art varies between denominations:

Orthodox Churches Highly decorated

Catholic and Anglican May have stained-glass windows and kneelers

Orthodox Curches usually have icons (pictures) of the saints and Jesus - bridge between person and religious figure. - Icon seeks to evoke an experience of stillnes. Gaze of icon - personal

Stained glass windows depict Bible stories - popular in UK, may reinforce beliefs about God

Roman Catholic churches esp. 'Stations of the Cross' on walls - depicting last days of Jesus' life

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Absence of Art

Non - Conformist churches and Christians may feel that absense of art is in fact an expression of belief about God.

He is beyond anything we have experienced, any image of him will be insufficient and a distraction to any worship of Him.

God alone is to be worshipped

If art was in thier churches it may become the focus of worship and not God Himself.


When Catholics pray with the virgin Mary, they are praying THROUGH her, not to her

Second commandment 'Do not worship Idols'

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In communal worship, brings the worshippers together and provides a way of allowing the congregation to express themselves to God as one body.

Christian music is as diverse as any other types of music.

Includes traditional hymns accompanied by an organ

Modern songs supported by a band

Sometimes use of music used in worship is completely instrumental - aids mediation

Words can be a way for believers to express their thoughts and feelings about God to Him as an act of worship - should agree with the words they are singing.

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Symbolism in Worship

Symbols instantly convey a message or meaning to those who are familiar with them. 

A simple image can sometimes express what would otherwise take many words to say.

Liturgical Colours - important in both Church of England and Catholic Church and both use different colours throughout the liturgical year to represent different events

  • White = purity,colour of joy + victory - Xmas (God's incarnation) + Easter (resurrection)
  • Red (colour of blood) = when Xians celebrate passion of Christ - Passion Sunday+Good Fri
  • Red (colour of fire) = recalls HS + used on Pentecost and for the Sacrament of Confirmation
  • Green = seen everywhere in plants and trees - life and hope, used during ordinary time
  • Purple = Jesus' time v. expensive dye, worn by royalty - used at Advent (coming of Lord)


  • A fish -initial letters of phrase 'Jesus Christ,Son of God,Saviour' make up Greek word for fish
  • A Dove - symbol of peace, or the HS
  • The Crucifix - a cross with Jesus on it
  • Candles - to represent Jesus as Light of the World
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Baptism - water represents the cleansing of original sin

- Catholics rub blessed oil on childs forehead to represent the coming of the HS

Communion - wine (blood of Christ shed on the cross), bread (body of Christ)

In Catholic Churches + some Anglican Churches, there's a container of Holy water blessed by the Priest at the entrance. As people enter, they dip their fingers in it and make the sign of the cross - by doing this they are affirming  their baptism.

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Food and Fasting

Some Christians eat certain foods at certain times for ex. some Xians wont eat meat on a Friday in memory of Jesus' crucifiction

Christianity does not have strict rules of food and fasting, may eat any type of food

Traditional foods:

  • Hot Cross Buns - Good Friday
  • Pancakes - Shrove Tuesday
  • Mince Pies - Christmas because of their richness of ingredients, no direct religious connection

Some foods are symbolic:

  • Eggs at Easter which symbolise new life

Many Christians choose to fast - not compulsory - Jesus fasted for 40 days and 40 nights in the wilderness, during this time his commitment to God was tested, but he resisted the devil.

During lent many Xians may give up a luxury food to remind them they are dependent on God.

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