To understand what worship is, you need to understand the difference between ‘worship' and ‘praise'. Whenever we talk about music in the church we automatically classify it as being ‘praise and worship'. But if you look at what the Bible has to say about worship, it has nothing to do with music or style or denomination or any of those other things.
If you look at the term ‘praise' in the bible it is always referring to some sort of outward expression: lifting the hands, shouting, dancing, kneeling, singing, playing an instrument, etc. Praise is always tangible in some way. It is seen or heard. Worship, on the other hand, always refers to some form of sacrifice or humility.
In Genesis chapter 22, God told Abraham to go sacrifice his son, Isaac, and Abraham considered it to be worship unto God. Psalm 95 says, "Come, let us worship and bow down." Romans 12:1 tells us to offer our bodies as a living sacrifice, and that is considered our spiritual act of worship. In Revelation we see the twenty-four elders falling down and worshipping the Father. The very definition of worship in both Old and New Testaments is literally to fall down, or to lower oneself. Worship is humility.
Now, let's look at what Jesus said in John chapter 4 and verse 24. "God is Spirit, and those that worship Him will worship in Spirit and in truth." What Jesus was actually saying there is that in order to worship God, you must come to Him in Spirit, just as He is Spirit. In the Old Covenant there was absolutely no way to approach God. Man was completely separated from God because of sin. But because of the finished work of Jesus Christ on the cross, Hebrews chapter 4 says that we now have direct access to the Father, but we must first pass through the redemptive work of Jesus Christ. Only then will we have the Spirit that can have fellowship with God.
We also know that Jesus said, "I am the way, the truth, and the life. God is Spirit, and Jesus is truth. John 16 also tells us that the Holy Spirit is the Spirit of Truth. Now that we have access to the Father we must come and worship as He is.
Jesus said that the Father is looking for those that would truly worship. We no longer have to bring an offering or sacrifice, because that was the prescribed type of worship under the Old Covenant. Paul, however, said in Romans chapter 12 than we now have to offer ourselves as a living sacrifice. In other words we must come to God in complete humility and lay aside our will so that God can have his perfect will.
Humility has everything to do with the breaking down of our will. The will is the hardest thing to break, but David said "...the sacrifices You desire are broken spirit and a broken and contrite heart." (Psalm 51:17) The word there for heart is literally translated the will. God is looking for a will that is completely broken and destroyed, because He cannot have His will when ours is in the way. Even Jesus said, "not my will, but Yours be done".
So, because of the cross we now have direct access to the Father. The veil has been torn, and the separation has been removed. There are still requirements, however, to come to the Father. If one has not received the forgiveness and the Spirit of God, that separation still exists. But once one comes to a place of receiving the final work of Jesus Christ there is complete access.To truly worship the Father in Spirit and in Truth one must learn the act of humility. One must learn from Jesus, the ultimate worshipper, who "humbled himself and became obedient unto death....even death on the cross".