This year our church Praise and Worship Team is taking a deep dive into the study of praise and worship. Beyond the music, why is praise and worship important? What about it causes God to operate our lives? What does it look like?
Below is a letter I sent to our Praise and Worship Team last week. Just like "What is Worship"?, I hope this enriches and deepens your understanding of praise as we make triumphant and joyful noise to the Lord.
"And when he had consulted with the people, he appointed those who should sing to the LORD, and who should praise the beauty of holiness, as they went out before the army and were saying: 'Praise the LORD, For His mercy endures forever.' Now when they began to sing and to praise, the LORD set ambushes against the people of Ammon, Moab, and Mount Seir to utterly kill and destroy them. And when they had made an end of the inhabitants of Seir, they helped to destroy one another... And the fear of God was on all kingdoms of those countries when they heard that the LORD had fought against the enemies of Israel."
2 Chronicles 20: 21-22, 29
King Jehoshaphat and Israel faced a raging super-army consisting of three nations united in battle against them: Ammon, Moab, and Mount Seir.
These nations occupied the land God promised to give to Israel. But, as the Bible tells us, Israel never had to fight to get the victory. Their praise won it for them.
Praise is simply bragging about God. It's you telling Him how faithful He is, how great His love is, how mighty He is, and how loving He is.
Praise is an explosion of faith that extends beyond where you are, how you feel, how everything is going, and how much or little you have. Praise transcends the physical and bombards the spiritual with God's power.
Praise is a powerful war cry declaring that you will stand strong in the Lord at all times no matter how the enemy tries to rock you.
Praise is a declaration that you will stand firm in the place God has given you.
Just like worship, praise is not confined to a musical expression. To limit praise to a particular style, tempo, or genre of music is a short-sighted and narrow view of God's infinite riches. You can praise God anywhere, whether you are "musical" or not.
There are numerous praises to God recorded in the Bible, such as in the Psalms. However, not a single piece of sheet music nor musical instructions can be found anywhere in the Bible.
Perhaps it was God's design that the music be left out so that all that remains are simple words. Words that boast in God and applaud His majesty.
That is not to downplay the importance of music. Music is a part of praise, but music is not the core of praise. The expression of faith in God's almighty power is the essence of praise.
Words from sincere hearts filled with desperation, thanksgiving, gratitude, and brokenness are all we need to connect to our loving heavenly Father.
God made us in His image (Genesis 1:28). The core of who we are mirrors our Creator.
Just as there is a part of you that is attracted to compliments and appreciation, so is God. God rejoices when His children celebrate and boast in Him.
Praise attracts God.
God inhabits the praises of His people (Psalm 22:3). If you've ever asked yourself "Where is God in this situation?" He is found in your praises. He occupies our praise, and with His presence comes His love, His healing, His forgiveness, His grace, His mercy, His salvation, His peace, and everything that He is. Whatever is needed to turn a situation around for the good is present when we praise the Lord.
This also means that every time you praise God, He is present to meet your needs. In fact, as you praise and worship Him, name your needs and watch Jesus answer them.
Praise is a weapon of warfare and strength (Psalm 138:3). When you praise God you are stating with all of your being that God is exalted above anything you face- disappointment, brokenness, or anything that tries to exalt itself higher than the name of Jesus.
Praise invites God to operate in our lives and intervene on our behalf. God even laid the foundations of the earth to praise as the morning stars sang of His glory (Job 38:4-7).
Every living this has a particular environment in which it excels: eagles excel in the air, dolphins excel in the sea, cheetahs excel on the ground. God excels in an atmosphere permeated by worship and praise. When you praise Him, He gets excited.
Paul and Silas started singing songs and hymns while in prison, their darkest hour of pain and isolation, yet they still sang glory to God. As a result, their atmosphere changed (Acts 16:25-29).
When in the middle of trials and tribulations, sing, pray, and worship God rather than whine and moan. Praise is one of the most productive things you can ever do and God delights in it when He hears it.
Praise, songs, melodies are the release of expectation that God is greater than anything and that He will show up and turn things around. Praise, songs, and melodies are also the response of the blessed for what God has done. After Moses and the children Israel crossed the Red Sea, they sang praises to God (Exodus 15:1-19).
There is always a reason to praise.