As a member of the Praise & Worship Team for several ministries throughout the country I was often disappointed, and amazed, at the lack of interest in corporate praise and worship before Sunday Services, Prayer Service, or other corporate gatherings of the local congregation. Usually when we started praise and worship there were less than half the people present that were there at the end of service. In the ministries where more people participated in praise and worship, there seemed, to me, to be greater spiritual as well as numerical growth. Where the numbers remained low for praise and worship spiritual as well as numerical growth was slow or non-existent.
If I was a part of the team leading praise and worship, or got there in time to participate, I found myself fully engaged and waiting for the blessings that I would receive at that service. I seemed to better grasp the pastor or leader’s message as well. If I didn’t get there in time to participate in the full praise and worship time, or missed it altogether I felt that I could never catch up and I left the service feeling that I missed the complete blessing that God had for me that day.
I could never understand the low level of interest in corporate praise. Most of these people would come rushing in just before the end of, or just after, praise and worship, often causing disruption or periods of dead time while we waited for them to get settled. When I asked why they didn’t get to church in time for praise and worship I would get answers like;
- “It’s hard to get all these kids ready to get here”
- “I can’t stand up that long”
- “I can’t sing”
- “The real reason that I come is to hear the Word, I don’t need to get pumped up”
I would try to explain why I thought they were really missing something by not joining in praise and worship, but my explanations never seemed to work.
I read something in my time of devotion today that may help to explain the benefits of praising God, not just before a church service but everyday, and I want to share it with you.
It is an excerpt from the Seven Prayers Devotional Journal by Stormie Omartian. The title is The Prayer of Praise
I used to hurry into the church twenty minutes late on Sunday morning. By the time I found a seat and settled into it, the worship and praise time was over and the pastor was preaching. I wasn’t concerned about this because I was there for the teaching. Yet my mind wandered everywhere and didn’t settle into the message until the sermon was half over.
On the days I arrived in plenty of time to get a seat before the service started and was a full participant through the entire worship time, I found I was open to receive the message as if God were speaking directly to me. My heart was made soft and receptive to what the Holy Spirit wanted to teach me because of the twenty or thirty minutes I had spent praising God. Negative attitudes I had come in with were melted away and replaced with ones more in alignment with what God desired. I was made ready and open to receive from God.
Worship invites God’s presence, and that’s where deliverance happens.
Two men in prison were singing praises to God when suddenly the prison doors flew open and their chains fell off (Acts 16:26). In the spirit realm when we praise the Lord, the prison doors of our lives are opened, our bonds are broken, and we are set free.
Praising God opens you to experience His love, and it will liberate you.
The Prayer of Praise Brings Healing and Transformation
The more time we spend praising the Lord, the more we will see ourselves and our circumstances grow in wholeness. That’s because praise softens our hearts and makes them pliable. It also covers us protectively. The more the pliability and covering are maintained, the more quickly our hearts can be molded and healed.
Praise and worship of God are always acts of will. We have to will to praise God even when we don’t feel like it. Sometimes our problems or the burdens we carry choke out our good intentions, so we have to make the effort to establish praise as a way of life. And it becomes a way of life when we make it our first reaction to what we face and not a last resort. Now is the time to lift up a prayer of praise to God for everything in your life. Thank Him for His Word, His faithfulness, His love, His grace, His healing. Thank Him for what He has done for you personally. Keep in mind that whatever you thank the Lord for — peace, financial blessing, health, a new job, an end to depression — will start the process of its being released to you at that time.
In the Old Testament, the people who carried the ark of the covenant stopped every six steps to worship. We also have to remind ourselves not to go very far without stopping to praise and worship. For emotional healing and restoration, we have to be six-step persons and continually invite the presence of the Lord to rule in our situations.
We all have busy lives, but it is important to make time to praise God throughout the day. Write down ways you can make time to worship God in your daily routine. If you make a point to spend time with God during the day, you will create a deeper and more meaningful relationship with Him.
Excerpted with permission from Seven Prayers Devotional Journal by Stormie Omartian, copyright Thomas Nelson.
Psalm 149:1-9 (NLT) 1 Praise the LORD! Sing to the LORD a new song. Sing his praises in the assembly of the faithful.2 O Israel, rejoice in your Maker. O people of Jerusalem, exult in your King.3 Praise his name with dancing, accompanied by tambourine and harp.
4 For the LORD delights in his people; he crowns the humble with victory.5 Let the faithful rejoice that he honors them. Let them sing for joy as they lie on their beds.6 Let the praises of God be in their mouths, and a sharp sword in their hands--7 to execute vengeance on the nations and punishment on the peoples,8 to bind their kings with shackles and their leaders with iron chains,9 to execute the judgment written against them. This is the glorious privilege of his faithful ones. Praise the LORD! (Bold mine)