Evangelical Lutheran Worship was first published in October 2006. Though not all ELCA and ELCIC congregations immediately adopted the book, demand for it was so great that it sold out its first and second printings and some congregations had to delay its adoption until more were available.
The book includes ten musical settings of the liturgy for the Holy Communion service, three of which were previously published in the Lutheran Book of Worship, as well as a Service of the Word. Morning Prayer (Matins), Evening Prayer (Vespers), and Night Prayer (Compline) are all included, as are occasional and pastoral offices such as baptism, marriage, burial, individual confession, and proper services for Ash Wednesday, Palm Sunday, and the Triduum. Martin Luther's Small Catechism is also printed in the book. Unlike the abbreviated Psalter included in the Lutheran Book of Worship, ELW includes the entire Book of Psalms in a version for congregational prayer and singing. Compared to the Lutheran Book of Worship, the selection of hymns is expanded, including many options from previously published Lutheran hymnals and hymnal supplements.