Word for the Soul

Praise and Worship: Lifting up our Hands and voice to the Lord

“Praise and worship” isn't just singing; it is a new way of singing. It consists of two parts: the singing of joyful songs and the singing of hymns. Praise and worship is now adopted and conducted in the different services in the church. In 1 Corinthians 14:26, it is stated that singing is done in every gathering.

“ Is any among you afflicted? let him pray. Is any merry? let him sing psalms.”

- James 5:13

Singing plays a major part in our gatherings. Through praising and singing, our faith is enriched. It is like oil that smoothens and beautifies the overall tone of the services in the church. One sign of a growing church is the lively and spirit-filled singing. If there is one thing that we will continue doing up to the kingdom of God, it is praising and worshipping Him.

“…They held harps given them by God and sang the song of Moses the servant of God and the song of the Lamb…”

- Revelation 15:2-3 (NIV)

BIBLICAL EXAMPLES

In the Bible, can examples of people who sang praises to God be found? Yes and first and foremost are Christ and the disciples, who after singing a hymn, went to the Mount of Olives (Matthew 26:30). Paul and Silas also sang hymns while imprisoned(Acts 16:25). Let us not also forget David who authored the book of Psalms.

PRAISE

Joyful singing should include the meaning and the substance of Biblical praising and worship. It should include good songs which are according to the teachings of the apostles. Praising indicates agreement with God; it is a way of admiring and glorifying Him. A result of praising God is the steadfast growth in the truths pertaining to God. With praising, we are strengthened in the faith.

Praising God involves the raising of hands (Psalms 28:2, 63:4). The raising of hands is symbolical; it signifies surrendering to God. In addition to the raising of hands, there is clapping of hands which is mentioned in Psalms 47:1.

WORSHIP

One way of understanding worship is through illustrations. The Bible has some illustration regarding true worship.

“Therefore, I urge you, brothers, in view of God's mercy, to offer your bodies as living sacrifices, holy and pleasing to God this is your spiritual act of worship.”

- Romans 12:1 (NIV)

In the verse, if we are to live a holy and pleasing life to God, we are able to worship God. By doing this, we are worshipping everyday, even if we are not in the services. This is an irrefutable fact. The key to a lively, orderly and spiritual worship is for the brethren to become worshippers of God.

“God is spirit, and his worshipers must worship in spirit and in truth.”

- John 4:24 (NIV)

There are two characteristics mentioned: in spirit and in truth. Worship is not in keeping with our standards but in accordance with God's. In Psalms 95:6 is another illustration of true worship; the physical manifestation of worship. Those who worship God must kneel and bow down before Him.

“Worship the LORD with gladness; come before him with joyful songs.”

- Psalms 100:2 (NIV)

DIFFERENCE OF PRAISE FROM WORSHIP

It would be helpful to know the subtle difference between the terms praise and worship. Every human being is capable of giving praise. In Luke 19:37 and Psalms 148:3-12, anyone or anything can praise God. Be it the sun, moon, the stars, the clouds or the mountains. Every creature is capable of praising God; even the unbelievers can do so if they witness the good testimony of Christians. All the more should the children of God praise Him.

While giving praise can be done even by those separated from God, He cannot be worshipped by those who have no relation with Him. It is necessary that the worshipper is close to God. This is exactly why the world cannot worship God; it has no relation with God.

“You adulterous people, don't you know that friendship with the world is hatred toward God? Anyone who chooses to be a friend of the world becomes an enemy of God.”

- James 4:4 (NIV)

The first difference is that while everybody can praise God, only those having a relationship with God can worship Him. The second difference is that praise is a preparation for worship. In order for us to worship, it is needed that we praise God. It is an important factor in worship.

EFFECT OF PRAISE AND WORSHIP

Through praising, we are able to free our physical bodies from the works of Satan. Sometimes, we come to the chapel unprepared to worship. But through our praising, our selves follow suit. In worship, we are able to free our spirits and souls. It seems that we enter a different place where our spirits and souls are communing with God.

In praising, the songs used are fast and upbeat while the songs used in worship are slow and solemn. In “praise and worship,” there is no standard format. The beginning can be slow changing into faster songs or an upbeat and lively start shifting into slower ones.

In order to experience God's presence during “praise and worship,” it is helpful to follow some reminders. It must be our full intent to commune with God and feel His presence. Prepare our selves in singing praises to God. It is also be good if we listen to gospel/praise songs before coming. It is also important to be aware of the possible obstacles that can hinder you from participating wholly in praise and worship. Some of them are our pride, shyness, old-fashioned style, indifference and misguided thinking. These can also prevent you from receiving the blessing resulting from the experience. It is folly to not participate in the praise and worship and think that it is an activity only suited for other people to do. Keep in mind the conversation between Jesus and the Pharisees.

“Some of the Pharisees in the crowd said to Jesus, "Teacher, rebuke your disciples!" “I tell you," he replied, "if they keep quiet, the stones will cry out."

- Luke 19:39-40 (NIV)

Taken from The Word Issue 133

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