A body of beliefs and practices reflecting the proper role of worship within a given belief system is a theology of worship. Many religions, such as those in the Judeo-Christian religious traditions, place great emphasis on worshiping God, while other religious systems are based largely on the worship of other deities. The theology of worship of a given religious system describes the manner in which one should conduct worship publicly and in private. Public worship tends to be practiced at regularly held meetings, such as a Catholic Mass. Expectations for private worship vary significantly; some religious systems require believers to pray daily at specific times, while others encourage private worship without providing strict guidelines.
A theology of worship attempts to provide answers to questions about what exactly worship is and how people should practice it. Some theologians narrowly define worship as actions that are done specifically for the purpose of glorifying God. Others contest that living one's life in a manner consistent with church teachings is a type of worship, because it reflects deference to the ways of God. Some debate exists, even within individual religions, about whether lifestyle or prayer and worship are more important, though most modern religions have a theology involving formal worship, prayer and a lifestyle that is consistent with the foundational beliefs of the religion.
Many religions have drastically changed their theology of worship over time. Solemn and respectful prayer and music has, in many cases, been replaced by various forms of contemporary religious music and worship that are intended to be exciting and energizing. This form of theology has led some theologians to question where to draw the line between worship and entertainment. While modern, fast-paced music may make church services more interesting and entertaining for some, others fear that they take the focus away from religious worship.
Specific guidelines for how one should conduct one's private worship are contained in some religions' theology of worship. Some may, for instance, require that adherents say specific prayers at specific times of the day every day. Others have a theology of worship that is based more on developing a so-called personal relationship with God, so worship with formal prayers is subordinate to trying to integrate God into all aspects of one's life. Private, spontaneous prayer is another important aspect of the practices of worship and belief in many religions.