This morning on my way to work I didn’t want to listen to the radio or to the news. I was feeling tired and even a little down for no real reason other than life is just really busy right now. My morning drives are oftentimes my quiet time with the Lord but today I felt like I needed more than prayer time where I tell Jesus all about my issues and hope that He will give me an answer.
So instead I put on some worship music, turned it all the way up and started singing along. Instantly my Spirit was lifted and I felt so much lighter and at peace. As I was driving down the road I began to dance along with the music in my car and just having a great time with the Lord. Not asking Him for anything, just enjoying being in His presence, recognizing His goodness and telling Him how much I love Him.
My heart was filled with the joy of the Lord and the atmosphere began to change. I was no longer worshipping, but now I was praising God for a number of different things but most of all I was praising and thanking Him for being Lord over my life.
There is a difference, you know, between praise and worship, although a lot of times we just sort of lump it in together.
According to Webster’s Dictionary, worship is defined as “reverence offered a divine being or supernatural power; also: an act of expressing such reverence; extravagant respect or admiration for or devotion to an object of esteem”.
You might be familiar with the phrase “to worship the ground somebody walks on”, which basically says that we love somebody so much and have such a respect and reverence for this person that even the ground this person walks on is to be admired.
But worship of course is not meant for a person, but for God! We worship God because we love Him, because of who He is, not because of what He does for us. We admire Him, adore Him, revere Him, respect and honor Him. So when we worship Jesus we are basically declaring our love for Him.
Praise on the other hand is defined by Webster’s Dictionary as this: “to express a favorable judgement; to glorify (a god or saint) especially by the attribution of perfections”.
When your child did a good job you praise him for it or when your dog didn’t pee in your house during the night, you praise him and tell him what a good job he did.
So what does it mean to praise God then? Do we tell Him that He did a good job? We thank Him for what He did for us!
When you start to praise Jesus it is about your testimony. It is not just about God being a good, good father, but about your personal story with Him. All of our testimonies are unique but we can all praise Jesus for the amazing things He has done in our lives.
Revelation 12:11 tells us that we overcome the enemy by the Blood of the Lamb and the word of our testimony, so you see how your praise, which involves your testimony, becomes a weapon?
Not only do you enter the presence of God with your worship, but you change things with your praise, especially when you don’t feel like praising God right now. Let’s face it, we all had moments when we didn’t know how to get through a certain situation and giving thanks was probably the last thing on your mind at that point.
But Hebrews 13:15 (KJV) tells us “By him therefore let us offer the sacrifice of praise to God continually, that is, the fruit of our lips giving thanks to his name.”
Years ago there was a situation in my marriage that seemed pretty desperate. I didn’t know what to do and my husband was about to leave the country for a job overseas for at least six months. So I told God that even though I knew He could help us no matter how far apart we were at the time, in my limited earthly thinking I just couldn’t see that particular situation working out with my husband living at the other end of the world.
That day I offered a sacrifice of praise to God as I thanked Him for all the wonderful things He had done in my life and for the good plan He has for my life (Jeremiah 29:11), all while tears were running down my cheeks.
I recalled time after time when Jesus did what only Jesus can do and I thanked Him and praised Him for it. Before long, I was praying in the Spirit while crying non-stop. But through my obedience and offering the sacrifice of praise something changed. Still in the Spirit, I calmed down, the tone of my voice became soft again and my prayer turned into praise as I was singing to the Lord in the Spirit. I started crying again but this time it was tears of joy as I was completely at peace.
A few hours later my husband came home and told me he was unable to go overseas at that time because there was a glitch in the system, so they couldn’t process his paperwork and just couldn’t figure out what happened.
He was pretty upset but I walked away with a huge grin on my face giving the Lord a shout of praise!
My former pastor’s wife used to say “you praised yourself out of several situations, I don’t see why this one should be any different!”
Praise changes things!
Why do you think you end up fighting with your spouse on the way to church or something happened that week and you just can’t get your mind off of it and you just sort of go through the praise and worship part on auto-pilot?
Satan knows what happens when you worship God and praise Him!
I encourage you this coming Sunday (and every time, really) to join in the worship service at your church. The worship team is not there for your entertainment. And they also can’t break the chains for you. Have you ever wondered why they seem to be in the presence of the Lord but you’re just on the outside looking in during service? It’s because they worship and praise the Lord while you are watching them do it.
You would be amazed when you see what happens when the entire congregation lifts up one voice in worship vs. just a few individuals on stage or spread out throughout the sanctuary.
So join them! Clap your hands, sing the songs, put your heart into it, dance and shout, because Jesus deserves it!!