Christians pray every day. We just do. We read the Bible, and we spend time with our first love, our Lord Jesus Christ. But how many of us really make time for praise and worship? Are we intentional about thanking God for His goodness and celebrating His great name? If we do, does it stop with words? Or does it flow into our hearts and, like our very lifeblood, out into our limbs? This week God has been speaking to me about the power of thanksgiving, praise, and worship. It’s not just for Sunday morning.
Are We Shouting from the Gates?
“Enter into his gates with thanksgiving, and into his courts with praise: be thankful unto him and bless his name.”Psalm 100:4
Under the Old Covenant, the Jews weren’t allowed inside the innermost part of the temple. That was just for the priests. Regular people came through the gates and into the outer courts, the closest they could get to God. This was the place and way God told them to worship.
Today, we worship in Spirit and in truth, so we can pray anywhere. We can pray from our beds, in the car, at our jobs, and everywhere in between. But while the place may have changed, the way we must enter stays the same. If we want to get close to God, we need to start by thanking Him for His goodness and praising His great name. Otherwise, it’s like shouting from the gates. Yes, He still might hear us and respond (in His great grace), but it’s not the way He told us to do it.
Thanksgiving, Praise, and Worship
“Every day will I bless thee; and I will praise thy name for ever and ever.”Psalm 145:2
Thanksgiving is thanking God for His goodness. Someone once asked the question, “What if you only had tomorrow what you gave thanks for today?” It’s something to think about. How much time do we spend counting our blessings in proportion to the time we spend lamenting about the things we don’t have? 1 Thessalonians 5:18 says, “In everything give thanks; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you.”
Praise is celebrating God’s greatness. The book of Psalms is the longest book in the whole Bible. “Psalms” in Hebrew means “praise songs.” That should give you an idea about the importance God places on His people remembering and expressing their great appreciation for all He is (never mind all He does for us). Hebrews 13:15 says, “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.”
Worship is our attitude and our posture. It means focusing every part of our mind and body toward the Lord in reverence and adoration. It’s physical as well as spiritual, and the Bible has a lot to say about bowing heads, lifting hands, kneeling, and even lying prostrate with our faces to the ground. 1 Chronicles 16:29 says, “Give to the Lord the glory due His name; bring an offering and come before Him. Oh, worship the Lord in the beauty of holiness!”
The Power of Thanksgiving, Praise and Worship
Charles Spurgeon once said, “Many of our doubts and fears would fly away if we praised God more. And many of our trials and troubles would altogether vanish if we began to sing of our mercies. Oftentimes, depression of spirit that will not yield to a whole night of wrestling, would yield to ten minutes of thanksgiving before God!”
Gratitude Gives Us Hope
There is no reason to fear the future when we really take time to remember how good God has been to us in the past. He is the same yesterday, today, and forever, and He has promised never to leave us or forsake us. In fact, I keep a dated journal of times when God has answered prayers, given me encouragement, or shown up to speak into my situation. Any time I feel a little sad or far from God, I just read through the journal. It makes me feel good to notice that sometimes the dates are close together. Sometimes there is more space in between. But over the years, He has never stopped showing up at just the right time.
Praise and Worship Change Our Focus
There are so many great worship songs out there. They can express our exact feelings in ways we could never think of on our own. A good worship song takes our eyes off our problems and puts them onto our problem solver. It’s an act of faith and reminds us of just how great our God is. We are not helpless and alone. We serve an all-powerful God who loves us. Nothing is too hard for Him. Romans 8:31 says, “What then shall we say to these things? If God is for us, who can be against us?”
Praise and Worship Are Acts of Warfare
2 Corinthians 10:4 says, “For the weapons of our warfare are not carnal but mighty in God for pulling down strongholds.” How many battles in the Bible were won with worship? Jehoshaphat’s singers led his army into a battle God won for them without a physical fight (2 Chronicles 20). Joshua’s trumpeters and the shouts of his people caused the walls of Jericho to fall (Joshua 6). And David’s harp caused Saul’s demons to depart from him (1 Samuel 16).
Worship is submitting to God as God (not ourselves). It resists the plans and tactics of the enemy to make us feel sad, discouraged, or fearful and refuses to allow him to defeat us. James 4:7 says, “Therefore submit to God. Resist the devil and he will flee from you.” We can trade a “spirit of heaviness” for a “garment of praise” (Isaiah 61:3). We can find our strength in the joy of the Lord (Nehemiah 8:10).
These Prepare Us for Our Forever Home
Finally, thanksgiving, praise, and worship should be part of our present because they are part of our future. Psalm 145:1 says, “I will extol You, my God, O King; and I will bless Your name forever and ever.” If we can worship when our bodies hurt and our hearts are broken, how much more will we be ready to worship God in our glorified bodies?
Let’s Be More Intentional from Here
Besides singing hymns in church and driving to work with my hand raised to the song on the radio, I haven’t always been intentional about thanksgiving, praise, and worship. For me, that’s going to change (God willing). I’m going to ask God to help me do a better job of carving out time to thank Him for what He has done, praise Him for who He is, and worship Him with my whole heart, mind, soul, and body. In fact, we would all do well to spend less time in worry and more time in adoration. More time focused on God and less time allowing the enemy to dictate our moods. After all, God is worthy, and we need the practice.
My Top-10 List of Great Songs for Praise and Worship.
So many songs on the radio are man-centered. I picked these because they focus on Jesus and His greatness. Of course, this is just a handful of the many great songs out there. Comment your favorites below!
- Providence (Broke My Chains) by Citipointe Worship (My #1 favorite now!)
- Thank you Jesus for the Blood by Charity Gayle
- Glory to God by Fee
- Starry Night by Chris August
- When I Think About the Lord (Hallelujah Thank You Jesus!) by Christ for the Nations
- In Christ Alone by Mercy Me
- Take My Life (Holiness) by Scott Underwood
- Tremble by Mosaic
- The Lord Is So Good by Debbie Boone
- The Name of Jesus by Koryn Hawthorne and Natalie Grant
Check out Are You Offering Your Sacrifice of Praise. It’s about the various offerings in the Old Covenant and how they apply to New Testament believers today. Please sign up to receive my blog in your email in-box. You can find that at the upper right of your screen (or at the bottom on a phone). Also, check out my YouTube Channel where I read the blogs out loud. I also have a playlist of hymns from my church.