Over the years, I’ve spent countless hours alone in the woods. As I’ve sat motionless, robins have perched on my knees, mice have nibbled at my bootlaces, an owl once landed inches from my shoulder, and a roebuck advanced to within a couple yards of me—apparently thinking I was an adversary.

These have been spiritually inspiring experiences for me, causing me to marvel at my Creator, His intimacy with me, and His perfect design. And as He’s lifted my soul, I’ve responded to Him with praise and thanksgiving for all He’s done for me—acknowledging His love and amazing, creative power.

It’s interesting to note that the apostle Paul’s mission was birthed out of people praising God: “As these men were worshiping the Lord and fasting, the Holy Spirit said, ‘Appoint Barnabas and Saul [Paul] for the special work to which I have called them’ ” (Acts 13:2). We often think that the start of our service for God is in the formulation of a plan, bringing people together, or perhaps booking a venue.

But Paul’s experience shows that our main role is to worship God. How? Through praise, prayer, thanksgiving, and in recognition of who He is (Acts 13:2-3). Out of this flows our preparation, plans, and opportunities (Acts 13:4). God provides the opportunities once we’re in line with His will, having worshiped Him with all we are.

Look in the psalms and see how many of them present the majesty and amazing attributes of God (Psalm 19, 103, 104, for example). As we see how Paul and Barnabas were chosen, it’s clear that our primary role in serving God is worshiping Him with our thanks, praise, and adoration—not just in church, but in every aspect of our lives.

NLT 365-day reading plan passage for today: Acts 8:1-25