The Power of Praise

kristie Bible, Faith, Worship

I am writing this blog today during a time that will be recorded in history not just as a localized crisis, but a world crisis.  There will be stories shared about tragedies and the heroes who stepped up in our time of need. There will be accounts of people who despite a decrease in resources continued to give and people who accumulated more than enough when there were shortages. These are times when as a society and as individuals we truly find out what is inside of us as we face fear, uncertainty, feelings of isolation and loss.  It is a season of being in the wine press. What we have allowed ourselves to be filled with is what will come out when the pressure is on. 

Today as I sat behind my keyboard practicing the song set for this coming Sunday’s worship service I was overwhelmed by the power of praise and worship. I have always loved worship.  For me it is a time where I shut out everything else and spend time with my Heavenly Father. It is a time of intimate connection. Praise and worship is not only an opportunity to pour out my love for Him, but I also experience His overwhelming, never ending love. I am filled with the kind of peace and joy that comes from spending time with the King of Kings. There is something powerful that happens when I move my focus from myself and my circumstances and onto the One who is the answer to every situation.

Praise is powerful.  In children’s church I teach that praise and worship is a way that we invite God into the circumstances we are facing.  My favorite example is found in Acts 16. There we find the story of Paul and Silas in prison. Paul had just cast out an evil spirit from a young woman.  Subsequently he and Silas were beaten and thrown into the inner cell of the jail with their feet fastened in stocks. This was certainly a time of physical pain, emotional rejection and uncertainty for what the future would hold. I would call this a “wine press” moment.  What came out of Paul and Silas? Verse 25 (NLT) says : Around midnight Paul and Silas were praying and singing hymns to God, and the other prisoners were listening.”  What came out when pressure was applied was praise. Why? That was what they were filled with.  They knew that regardless of their current surroundings, regardless of the threats to their lives God does not change. He was and is the same God who delivered the Isrealites from Egypt. He was and is the same God that was with David when he slew the giant. He was and is the same God who raised Jesus from the dead. When they lifted their voices to glorify God He showed up.  Verse 26 says:  “Suddenly, there was a massive earthquake, and the prison was shaken to its foundations. All the doors immediately flew open, and the chains of every prisoner fell off! 27 The jailer woke up to see the prison doors wide open.”  

One of the most famous stories in the Bible is that of David and Goliath.  It is the story of a young boy who slayed the giant that even the bravest Isrealite warrior was afraid to face. What we don’t always hear about is that before David faced the giant he had been relegated to the fields to tend the sheep. It was during this time in the fields alone with the sheep that I believe David became the giant slayer.  He used his time to grow closer to God through praise. David knew who God was. 1 Samuel 16 vs 18 (NLT) tells us that David was known as a “talented harp player. Not only that—he is a brave warrior, a man of war, and has good judgment. He is also a fine-looking young man, and the Lord is with him.”  I believe that when David faced Goliath what came out in the pressure of battle was the confidence that he did not fight alone.  He knew the mighty God of Israel and was assured that God went with him. Just as with David, I believe when we spend time in praise and worship to God we grow in our understanding of who God is.  He becomes greater to us than any “giant” we may face.   

When the disciples asked Jesus how to pray He taught them to start with praise. God is worthy of all of our praise and worship.  When we worship Him we help position our hearts and minds correctly towards God. Beginning our prayer time in praise and worship also helps us move our focus from our problems and onto the One Who Provides.  Praise and worship is a reminder of how truly mighty, magnificent, powerful, and able our God is. Instead of coming to God hoping that He hears and can answer, praise and worship opens a door to increase our faith and confidence that God can and does answer when we pray.  

I encourage you to not let praise and worship become something done only at a church service, but rather a lifestyle.  When praise becomes a lifestyle faith in the God who is more than able rises up inside of us. We fill ourselves with the knowledge of who He is. His love overflows in us. Then during the times we are in the winepress what comes out is a declaration of the might, love, power, majesty, and goodness of our God.  It is a declaration that invites God into our circumstances.