What is praise and worship?

“Lord, your name is so great and powerful!
People everywhere see your splendor.
Your glorious majesty streams from the heavens,
filling the earth with the fame of your name!
You have built a stronghold by the songs of babies.
Strength rises up with the chorus of singing children.
This kind of praise has the power to shut Satan’s mouth.
Childlike worship will silence the madness of those who oppose you.” Psalm 8:1-2

There is a lot of talk in churches about our “praise and worship” and at times that discussion leads to churches splitting or other undesirable consequences. I’ve been asking the Lord just what praise and worship really is. I found these verses from Psalm 8 (passion translation) recently that assisted me. I hope it helps you.

The first thing I noticed in verse one is that despite all our efforts at producing great church music, God’s majesty is still surviving in the heavens – without our electrified instruments or anything man-made. God’s name is lifted up (literally) above the earth and still glorifying God day and night. The heavens don’t need our help to glorify the name of our Creator.

It’s the second verse that spoke to me personally. This declaration of children and even babies being a stronghold is amazing. It’s God’s way to confound the strong things of the world with those we consider weak. In 1 Corinthians 1:27-29 Paul states,  “But God chose those whom the world considers foolish to shame those who think they are wise, and God chose the puny and powerless to shame the high and mighty. He chose the lowly, the laughable in the world’s eyes—nobodies—so that he would shame the somebodies. For he chose what is regarded as insignificant in order to supersede what is regarded as prominent so that there would be no place for prideful boasting in God’s presence.” 

We are so busy in church trying to produce profession music thinking that the better we play or sing, the more pleased God is with us. It couldn’t be further from the truth. That child-like praise (and worship) produces strength and has the “power” to shut Satan’s mouth – just think about that! I’m not saying that our worship time in churches is useless, but it does make me wonder if our praise is any more powerful because it’s louder or longer each service. Often people come away from a service feeling like they didn’t worship good enough or that God was not pleased with them because they were thinking about a million other things during the singing time. That’s the voice of the enemy right there – telling us we haven’t done it good enough! And his voice always brings with it guilt and condemnation. And that is not very worshipful or praise-worthy.

I’ve been involved in church worship groups for a long time and this Psalm makes me take a step back. To worship in a childlike way can actually silence those who oppose you! I think to worship as a child means to do it simply with trust in your heart that your heavenly Father will be happy with you no matter what. If we know we are accepted based on what Christ has done for us, not on anything we could ever “do” for Him, that is like being a child; not worried about performance, not worried about pleasing – just being yourself before the One who loved you enough to die for you and grant you eternal life. That will silence the enemies around you.

I hear so many sermons that tell us praise unlocks prison doors, or that praise can activate God’s blessing in your life. When a child butters up a parent with lots of compliments, the parent knows right away that the kid wants something from them. Happy is the parent whose child doesn’t do that but instead, if the child wants something they just come happily to the parent asking rather than beating around the bush, which is really hypocrisy.  May our worship truly be childlike without beating around the bush. Let’s praise Him for who He is and all He has done for us and allow God to bless us based on His goodness not on our praise. Try not to turn worship into some sort of works-based activity. You can praise God and worship Him anywhere at any time. Just be yourself before your Father and tell Him what you think of Him!

 

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