The Power of Praise
In our previous studies we saw how to worship God, the preparation of praise, and the purpose of praise. In this study, we will look into the power of praising and worshiping God. There is power in praise. We will see that praise is the means and response to the infilling of the Holy Spirit, praise sets an atmosphere for our hearing from God, praise releases stress and anxiety, praise releases the generosity of God and praise causes the enemies of God to flee before us.
Praise is both the means and response to the infilling of the Holy Spirit. “And do not be drunk with wine, in which is dissipation; but be filled with the Spirit, speaking to one another in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing and making melody in your heart to the Lord” (Ephesians 5:18-19NKJV).
- The means to the infilling of the Holy Spirit. Praise and worship triggers the overflow of God’s Spirit in our hearts. We not only enter God’s presence through praise (Psalms 100:4), but we are also filled with His presence (the Holy Spirit) through praise and worship. “Draw near to God and He will draw near to you” (James 4:8 NASB). Jesus said, “If anyone is thirsty, let him come to Me and drink. He who believes in Me, as the Scripture said, from his innermost being will flow rivers of living water. This He spoke of the Spirit, whom those who believed in Him were to receive” (John 7:37-39 NASB). Are you feeling spiritually dry? Begin worshiping Jesus with all your heart and the Spirit of the living God will begin filling your innermost being.
- The response to the infilling of the Holy Spirit. Praise is also the response to our being filled with God’s Spirit. His Spirit cries out from within us in prayer and praise. “You have received the Spirit of adoption, whereby we cry, Abba, Father” (Romans 8:15 KJV). “And because ye are sons, God hath sent forth the Spirit of his Son into your hearts, crying, Abba, Father” (Galatians 4:6 KJV). We see throughout scripture people worshiping and magnifying God when filled with the Holy Spirit. “On the Gentiles also was poured out the gift of the Holy Ghost. For they heard them speak with tongues, and magnify God” (Acts 10:45-46 KJV). Worship is at least one of the evidences of the Spirit filled life. As the Holy Spirit flows within our heart, the natural response of the human spirit is Praise and worship.
Praise sets an atmosphere for our hearing from God. If you find yourself in need of hearing from God, you must begin worshiping. It’s in an atmosphere of Praise that we begin hearing from God. We see this to be the case of the Antioch church. “While they were ministering to the Lord and fasting, the Holy Spirit said” (Acts 13:2 NASB). It was while they were engulfed in ministering to the Lord that the Holy Spirit spoke to the church saying, “”Set apart for Me Barnabas and Saul for he work to which I have called them” (Acts 13:2 NASB ). I have found when I am in a service where the praise and worship service is the most intense is when I sense the greatest anointing in my preaching and teaching. It’s in this type of atmosphere that God seems to speak the clearest. Whether in your personal time with God or a public setting, praise is the key to our hearing the voice of God.
We find this true when in a spiritual battle as well. It’s when we are going through a time of difficulty and spiritual conflict that we need desperately to hear from God. Ahab and Jehoshaphat were going to battle with Moab when they ran out of water. They were perplexed as to what to do, and afraid they were being led to be defeated by Moab. “Jehoshaphat said, Is there not a prophet of the LORD here, that we may inquire of the LORD by him? And one of the king of Israel’s servants answered and said, Elisha the son of Shaphat is here, who used to pour water on the hands of Elijah. Jehoshaphat said, The word of the LORD is with him” (2 Kings 3:11-12 NASB). They went to Elisha to get a word from God and one of the first things Elisha said was, “bring me a minstrel (musician). And it came about, when the minstrel played, that the hand of the LORD came upon him. He said, Thus says the LORD” (2 Kings 3:15-16 NASB). It was when the musician began to play that the Lord spoke to Elisha, giving him the needed Word to lead them to victory.
Elisha knew worship was a necessary factor for him to hear from God. This shows us how very important the worship leader’s job is. Those who minister on a worship team must never underestimate the importance of their calling. They are the ones who set an atmosphere for the church hearing God speak. Notice, “when the minstrel played, that the hand of the LORD came upon him (Elisha).” Worship ushers in the anointing of God. Ministers of the Word are more dependent on the worship leaders than we will ever realize. This is why worship is so imperative to any church service, meeting where the Word is going to be preached, and even our personal time with the Lord. We should always have a time of praise and worship prior to our study of the Word, whether it’s in a corporate setting or our personal devotions.
Praise releases stress and anxiety. “Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus” (Philippians 4:6-7 NIV). The prescription for stress and anxiety is threefold – Prayer, Praise, and Positive mindset (Philippians 4:8). We are to bring our problems to the Lord in prayer – “casting all your care upon Him, for He cares for you” (1 Peter 5:7 NKJV). Read also Matthew 11:28-30.
You might be surprised to hear me say, prayer alone is not enough. Prayer focuses on the problem whereas praise focus us on the solution. Prayer keeps our concentration on the cause of our stress and anxiety. It is important to pray but we dare not stop there. We must move from prayer to praise, so that, we do not dwell on the problem but on the solution – thanking Him for the answer.
Praise releases the generosity of God. Think about your young children coming and telling you how wonderful and great you are. Our immediate response is usually, okay what do you want? We laugh, but if they are constantly praising us, we are apt to give them anything they desire. This is especially true of grandchildren.
God is the same. If we are continually praising and worshiping the Lord, telling him how much we love Him and how great He is, He is likely to give us anything we desire, sometimes even before we ask. “It will also come to pass that before they call, I will answer; and while they are still speaking, I will hear” (Isaiah 65:24 NASB). How great is that? Praise brings this to fulfillment in our lives. If we will spend more time in praise and worship, we will have a lot less to pray about.
Praise causes our enemies to flee before us. The enemy was coming against the people of God and Jehoshaphat was afraid and said, “we have no power against this great multitude that is coming against us; nor do we know what to do, but our eyes are upon You” (2 Chronicles 20:12 NKJV). Have you ever been in a place where you were afraid, felt completely overwhelmed and had no idea as to what to do? That is exactly where they were. A good outline for this chapter might be: Prayer (2 Chronicles 20:5-12); Prophecy (2 Chronicles 20:14-18); Praise (2 Chronicles 20:19-22); Prosper (2 Chronicles 20:20); Prevail (2 Chronicles 20:22-25). It was when they set their hearts to praise and worship the Lord God, that He struck down the enemy from before them, without them lifting hand to fight. Their praise was not some mild, ritualistic worship service but they “stood up to praise the LORD God of Israel, with a very loud voice” (2 Chronicles 20:19 NASB). They praised Him with all their might, and as a result, God Himself fought for them and gave them complete victory.
When “Amalek fought against Israel at Rephidim” (Exodus 17:8 NASB), Moses sent Joshua out to fight for Israel, while he stood on the top of the hill with Aaron and Hur. “It came about when Moses held his hand up, that Israel prevailed and when he let his hand down, Amalek prevailed. So Joshua overwhelmed Amalek. Moses built an altar and named it (Jehovah-Nissi) The LORD is My Banner” (Exodus 17:11, 13, 15 NASB). As long as Moses kept his hand lifted high in praise, Israel prevailed against the enemy. The same is true for us. If we will constantly praise and worship Him, God will cause us to prevail and the enemy will flea before us. Let’s lift up His banner high for all to see.
Praise God – Victory is ours!