My 17-year-old daughter Julie and a co-worker at a department store were meeting for lunch. He had some questions about life, and Julie was glad to talk to him about her faith. As they sat down with their tacos, Julie bowed her head to thank the Lord for her food. When she looked up, her friend said, “I didn’t pray. Will God kill me for that?”

His response reveals much about how people view God. Many think our Godward actions—prayer, singing, worship, reading Scripture—are done as safety devices to prevent the Lord from zapping us. When we think of Him that way, we will have wrong motives for any God-directed action. That kind of thinking leads us to pray and worship God for personal gain or approval.

Our worship of the Lord is not done so we can somehow benefit. Instead, every heavenward thought or action should be done out of honor for Him and His greatness. Our hearts and voices should be filled with the kind of praise expressed in Psalm 98. Our expressions of thanksgiving are a sacrifice to Him (Ps. 116:17).

Sure, we benefit when we turn our attention to God, but that should not be our motivation. It’s not for us that we worship God. It should always be for Him.