Praise is an action for a purpose
In our modern day (and I can only speak from this American’s perspective), the praise of God has been relegated primarily to our religious institutions on whatever specific day we gather to worship and praise Him. It also has become more of an activity of spectators, a concert if you will of melodies and harmonies and some profound poetry, albeit not necessarily biblically accurate or sound and of technical wonders and choreographed movement. We tend to sing about God and not too God and we do this perhaps because we think that our praise of God is more about how we feel than what He can do. When we sing about God, we sing about his faithfulness to us, his mercy to us, his goodness to us, his salvation to us; his love to us. In other words, we sing about him and focus on what it does for us. But the focus of heaven is different:
Revelation 4:8- 8 Each of the four living beings had six wings and was covered with eyes inside and out; and day and night they never stop saying, “Holy, holy, holy is ADONAI, God of heaven’s armies the One who was, who is and who is coming!”
Heaven’s focus seems to be on God not about God and this is for a purpose. The will and power of God is released when He is praised.
Matthew 6:10- 10 May your Kingdom come, your will be done on earth as in heaven.
II Chronicles 20 gives us an example of this amazing tool in our arsenal and the forces of darkness called praise. In the beginning verses we see that the enemies of Judah are rising up against them and the people cry out for God’s help and He assures them that the battle will be their’s if they take their position.
II Chronicles 20:17- 17You won’t even need to fight this battle! Just take your positions, Y’hudah and Yerushalayim, stand still, and watch how ADONAI will deliver you! Don’t be afraid or distressed; tomorrow, go out against them; for ADONAI is with you.’”
What we see next is quite astounding if we will only pay attention and heed the action.
II Chronicles 20:18-19 – 18 Y’hoshafat bowed his head with his face to the ground; while all Y’hudah and the inhabitants of Yerushalayim fell down before ADONAI, worshipping ADONAI; 19and the L’vi’im from the descendants of the K’hati and the descendants of the Korchi, stood up and praised ADONAI the God of Isra’el at the top of their voices.
The leadership and the people humbled themselves before Adonai and worshipped him actively. The Levites stood up and praised Adonai actively at the top of their voices. Later the scripture tells us that they were delivered from their enemies during the time of their praise. Praise that is focused on God and is active releases the supernatural power of God to defeat the enemy of our mind, body, soul and spirit. But praise is more than a mental ascent of acceptance. It is more than merely feeling good about the God whom we serve. Praise is not leaving a religious service or concert and saying: “wow, the praise was just awesome!” In my opinion, praise is not awesome (or has even occurred) until the power of God shows up, hearts and lives are changed, relationships are supernaturally restored, spiritual chains are broken, spiritual prisons are open and the physical and spiritual lives of God’s people are healed. This is and is the result of praise.
Acts 16:23-26- 23 After giving them a severe beating, they threw them in prison, charging the jailer to guard them securely. 24 Upon receiving such an order, he threw them into the inner cell and clamped their feet securely between heavy blocks of wood. 25Around midnight, Sha’ul and Sila were praying and singing hymns to God, while the other prisoners listened attentively. 26 Suddenly there was a violent earthquake which shook the prison to its foundations. All the doors flew open and everyone’s chains came loose.
Sha’ul and Sila found themselves in prison because they spoke of the way of salvation in Messiah Yeshua. I do not think that it was their plan to praise in order to gain freedom or even to set other captives free. What I do believe is that their praise was completely and totally focused on God and as a natural by-product; God’s will was released on earth as it was in heaven and the supernatural happened for them all. I am not sure how much physical movement that Sha’ul and Sila had in prison but I am confident that their praise was active. God desires to have His power flow through those who are His children in Messiah Yeshua.
Do you seek this power? One step closer to the power of God is to “get your praise on.” We must engage this conduit of supernatural flow with praise both physically and spiritually. God’s power affects the physical and the spiritual and our praise has a physical and a spiritual component that releases the power. The other day I was able to observe a group of middle school students who were practicing a praise song in “ASL” (American Sign Language). The flow of power that poured from their midst was a strong flow that nearly knocked me over. It was more than a feeling, it gravitated to the very core of who I am and in those brief seconds the convicting transformational flow of God’s power transformed me again. The ramifications of this transformation is made known this day by the subtle changes in my behavior and thoughts that I am acutely aware of but be assured they were realized in that moment when a group of students were focused and actively praising God.
Next time you are in a “praise and worship” service, focus your active praise on God just because He is worthy. Perhaps you or someone you are not even aware of may encounter the transformational power of the Almighty God.