Service of worship

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A service of worship is a religious meeting where people of a church come together, usually in a cathedral or church building, in order to worship God. It may also be called a church service or prayer service or just service. It is the usual term used in the Christian religion for such a meeting. The term is also used sometimes in Judaism, although prayer service or just service are more common.


In the Protestant church services are usually led by a pastor, although sometimes they may be led by laymen (people who are not priests).

In the Christian churches services are normally held on Sundays, although there may be services on other days as well, especially in large churches or cathedrals.

Services often include Holy Communion or Eucharist. Matins is a morning service which does not include communion. An evening service is called Evensong.

Church services are also held for weddings, funerals, or other special occasions.

Services may include prayers, singing, sermons (preaching) and readings from the Bible.


In Judaism, most prayer services are built around two main prayers:

  1. The Shema. The Shema includes three paragraphs from the Torah: Deuteronomy 6:4-9, Deuteronomy 11:13-21, and Numbers 15:37-41. These three paragraphs include the most basic ideas about Judaism, God, and God's relationship with the Jewish people.
    • The text of the Shema says it should be said "when you go to bed" and "when you wake up".[1] Because of this, Shema is said at the morning and evening prayer services, but not the afternoon service.
  2. The Amidah. The Amidah ("standing prayer") is a group of blessings about everything in the relationship between God and Jews. After the Temple in Jerusalem was destroyed, prayer became a substitute for sacrifices. [2] Because of this, Amidah is said at the same time of day as sacrifices:
    • Morning and afternoon every day, at the time of the daily burnt-offering[3]
    • Evening every day, at the time when remaining pieces of the day's sacrifices were burned[4]
    • Musaf. Late morning on Shabbat,[5] Rosh Chodesh (day of new Jewish month)[6] and major Jewish holidays,[7] because additional sacrifices were offered then
    • Ne'ilah. Late afternoon at the end of Yom Kippur[8]

Jewish prayer services are held whenever the Amidah prayer is said. In the morning and evening, they also include Shema.


  1. Basic English translation of Deut. 6:7
  2. Based on Hosea 14:3: Simple English translation: "We will use our lips instead of offering bulls as sacrifices."
  3. Numbers 28:1-8
  4. Mishneh Torah, Hilkhot Tefillah 1:6
  5. Numbers 28:9-10
  6. Numbers 28:11-15
  7. Numbers 28:16-31 and all of chapter 29
  8. Mishnah Ta'anit 4:1