The following quote from John Owen really set my heart to thinking:
That all true believers, whose minds are spiritually renewed, have a singular delight in all the institutions and ordinances of divine worship is fully evident, both in the examples of the saints in the Scripture and their own experience, which they will never forego; for this hath been the greatest cause of their suffering persecution, and martyrdom itself, in all ages. If the primitive Christians under the power of the pagan emperors, or the witnesses for Christ under the antichristian apostasy, would or could have omitted the observance of them (according to the advice and practice of the Gnostics), they might have escaped the rage of their adversaries. But they loved not their lives in comparison unto that delight which they had in the observance of the commands of Christ as unto the duties of evangelical worship.
David gives us frequently an instance hereof in himself:
Ps. 62:1–4, “As the hart panteth after the water-brooks, so panteth my soul after thee, O God. My soul thirsteth for God, for the living God: when shall I come and appear before God? My tears have been my meat day and night, while they continually say unto me, Where is thy God? When I remember these things, I pour out my soul in me: for I had gone with the multitude, I went with them to the house of God, with the voice of joy and praise, with a multitude that kept holyday.”
Ps. 63:1–5, O God, thou art my God; early will I seek thee: my soul thirsteth for thee, my flesh longeth for thee in a dry and thirsty land, where no water is; to see thy power and thy glory, so as I have seen thee in the sanctuary. Because thy loving-kindness is better than life, my lips shall praise thee. Thus will I bless thee while I live: I will lift up my hands in thy name My soul shall be satisfied as with marrow and fatness; and my mouth shall praise thee with joyful lips”
Ps. 84:1–4, “How amiable are thy tabernacles, O Lord of hosts! My soul longeth, yea, even fainteth for the courts of the Lord: my heart and my flesh crieth out for the living God. Yea, the sparrow hath found an house, and the swallow a nest for herself, where she may lay her young, even thine altars, O Lord of hosts, my King, and my God. Blessed are they that dwell in thy house: they will be still praising thee. Selah.”
John Owen, Vol. 7: The works of John Owen. (W. H. Goold, Ed.) (430).