*Pastor’s Note: This is one of the articles I wrote and posted for my very first website in the mid 90s soon after I got my first computer. I know, I was a slow up and comer! I thought it might interest my readers to read some of my first posted writings. Though this experience took place in the mid 80s, I didn’t write and share this until the mid 90s. I HAVE updated some of the Scripture references, but all in all, it is pretty much as I posted them on my very first website. The pictures were added for this posting, though.
Hebrews 13:15, “Therefore by Him let us continually offer the sacrifice of praise to God, that is, the fruit of our lips, giving thanks to His name.”
Years ago, one of the most blessed times in my life of Christian growth came when I was asked to be Praise and Worship minister of this church I had just started attending. It was totally the Holy Spirit and not my credentials!
The Pastor barely knew me, but he knew and trusted the leading of the Holy Spirit. The Holy Spirit pointed me out to him and it came during a time when I was told I would never be able to be used of the Lord again.
It came at a time, when I had started to buy into that lie of the enemy. I had done something that was so wrong, that surely the Lord could not use me in a public ministry at all! But–this Pastor trusted wholly in the Lord.
At that time, many of the churches were going through a spell in their services where the music minister would get up, tell you to turn to page so and so in the hymnal and you would sing a couple of verses and then the music minister would exhort about the significance of the song a little.
I had this idea for some time that it should be so different. Little did I know that the Holy Spirit was moving across services all over the US and the world! This Pastor asked me what I thought and then told me to implement it.
Well, now I had to put my faith where my mouth was, so to speak!!! I loved the Psalms and the stories of David. Despite his shortcomings, he was a man who had a heart after God! Even when he failed miserably and sinned atrociously, he always turned his heart to God with praise and with a desire to worship his God!!
That is what I foresaw in the Praise and Worship services. Let the music be the conduit for the praises to the Lord and as we became more in tune with praising the Lord and allowing Him to flow through our hearts, let His presence bring about in each of us a sense of overwhelming awe and humility, in other words, let our spirits join together in worshipping Him as the Almighty that He is!
I was able to teach on praise and teach on worship, I saw people, myself included transformed as we all learned together to give ourselves over to what the Holy Spirit wanted to accomplish! I saw things begin to happen in people’s lives as they started to surrender to the moving of the Holy Spirit, not in some holy roller emotional turmoil, but rather in the softness and gentleness of a person who begins to realize they are in the presence of the Almighty creator of the Universe!
People were healed, and we didn’t have to lay a hand on anyone, people started giving at first sacrificially without having to be prompted, and then freely, people were praying for one another without having to be prompted and when it was time to hear the Word of the Lord taught, all ears were glued to hear what Pastor had to say!!!
We learned the importance of the power of praise taking place in our lives before we ever entered into the church building! We learned and we were overtaken in praising the Lord as a matter of lifestyle rather than just something we waited to express on Sundays and Wednesdays! I literally seen what the Lord was able to accomplish in the lives of people who were willing to praise the Lord in all things and the trials we faced where miniscule in the face of our praise before the Lord!
If you want to learn to praise God, read the Psalms. Then read them again and again. Compare the various Psalms of David to the situation that he was going through in his life at the time and you will see the same theme over and over despite his circumstance, he always turned his heart and lips to the Lord. He didn’t just praise the Lord in his heart and mind, he made a habit of vocalizing his praise. He privately praised the Lord and he publicly praised the Lord as well.
When we can get to the point where we no longer have to think about praising the Lord, but rather do it as a matter of course and make it a part of our lifestyle, just as much as eating is a part of our lifestyle, you will find that when it comes to worshipping the Lord, your heart, mind and spirit are already to enter into that manifest presence of the Lord, the very presence that is waiting for you to commune intimately with Him.
This is not some mystical thing you do or some mantra that you chant over and over to get yourself into a state, this is allowing your heart, mind and spirit to exalt and magnify the very Lord that you already love for just who He is and not just for what He can do for you!
So, practice praising Him. That is how you start. Remind yourself throughout your day to praise Him, and you will find the more you do it, the more you “practice” it, the more it will become a part of you no matter your situation and soon you will find yourself praising the Lord from the depths of your spirit in all situations without having to think about it!!
We know how to demonstrate our love for one another by giving of our time and selves to prayer and deeds, let us demonstrate our love for the Lord by learning to “praise Him continually,” just as the Lord of all Creation deserves!!