The Power of Praise
Praise is the act of expressing approval or admiration. Worship is reverent honor and homage paid to God. While most Christians think of praise and worship as interchangeable, there is tremendous power in praise.
Praise is the Means and Response to Being Filled with the 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 5:18-19).
- 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). 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). 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). “And because you are sons, God hath sent forth the Spirit of his Son into your hearts, crying, Abba, Father” (Galatians 4:6). 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). Worship is 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 Creates an Atmosphere to Hear From God
If you want to hear from God, praise Him. “While they were ministering to the Lord and fasting, the Holy Spirit said…” (Acts 13:2 ). Whether in your personal time with God, or a public setting, praise is the key to hearing from Him. This is also true when we are going through difficult times.
Ahab and Jehoshaphat ran out of water while going to battle Moab. Jehoshaphat said, “Is there not a prophet of the Lord here that we may inquire by him?” One of the king’s servants said, “Elisha the son of Shaphat is here.” Jehoshaphat said, “The word of the Lord is with him” (2 Kings 3:11-12). They went to Elisha and he told them, “Bring me a minstrel.” After the minstrel played Elisha proclaimed, “Thus says the Lord…” (2 Kings 3:15-16).
It was only after the musician began to play that the Lord spoke to Elisha, who gave them the word of God they needed for victory. This is why a worship leader’s job is so important. People who minister on a worship team should never underestimate the importance of their calling. Worship ushers in the anointing of God, not only in church services, but also in 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).
The prescription for stress and anxiety is – prayer, praise and positive mindset (Philippians 4:6-8). We need to bring our problems to the Lord in prayer, “Casting all your care upon Him, for He cares for you” (1 Peter 5:7). Also read Matthew 11:28-30. That said, prayer alone is not enough. Prayer focuses on the problem, while praise focuses on the solution. Prayer keeps our concentration on the cause of our stress and anxiety. It’s important to pray, but don’t stop there. We must always move from prayer to praise, so we don’t dwell on the problem.
Praise Releases the Generosity of God
Think about how you feel when your children tell you how great you are. Our immediate response is usually, “what do you want?” We laugh, but if they are constantly praising us, we usually give them anything they want. 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). 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
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). Have you ever been in a place where you were afraid, felt completely overwhelmed and had no idea what to do? That is exactly where they were.
It was only when they praised the Lord that He struck down the enemy. They didn’t even have to lift a hand to fight. Also, their praise was not timid and ritualistic they “stood up to praise the Lord God of Israel with a very loud voice” (2 Chronicles 20:19). They praised Him with all their might, and as a result, God fought for them and gave them victory.
When Amalek fought against Israel at Rephidim, Moses sent Joshua to fight for Israel while he stood on top of the hill with Aaron and Hur (Exodus 17:8). When Moses held up his hand, Israel prevailed. When he lowered his hand, Amalek prevailed. When Moses grew weary, Aaron and Hur held up his hand allowing Joshua to overwhelm Amalek.
Moses built an altar and named it (Jehovah-Nissi) “The Lord is My banner” (Exodus 17:11, Exodus 13, Exodus 15). 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.