|THE PRAYERS OF PRAISE, WORSHIP, AND THANKSGIVING
HIS GLORY REIGNS
Feb 8 2008 08:00AM
As yielded hearts pour out praises to God, the Holy Spirit will manifest Himself
in their midst. Kenneth E. Hagin
God made man so He would have someone to have fellowship with. He made man for His own pleasure. It is true that
God is concerned about us and wants to meet our every need, but even more than that, He wants our love, worship,
and fellowship. We are born of God. He is our Father. No earthly parent ever enjoyed the fellowship of his children
more than God enjoys the fellowship of His sons and daughters.
Praise, worship, and thanksgiving are some of the simplest prayers we can pray and they will release great power in
our lives. You may not have considered your praise, worship, or thanksgiving to be prayers, but they are because
each of them is a way of expressing your heart to God, a way in which you communicate with Him.
When using the terms "praise," worship," and "thanksgiving," we are referring to something deeper and more heartfelt
than what many of us do in church. We are talking about communicating with God with all of our hearts, with total
honesty, and with great passion. Trying to define praise, worship, and thanksgiving separately is a challenge because
they are similar in nature and they function similarly in the spiritual realm. So, for the sake of simplicity, let us describe
"praise" as our response to God for what He has done, is doing, and will do; and let me describe "worship" as our
response to who He is. In other words, praise can be considered to relate to God's acts, while worship relates to His
character. "Thanksgiving" can be described as a grateful acknowledgement of God's acts and His character.
We must know that praise, worship, and thanksgiving are powerful and we should yearn to see greater respect for
praise and worship in our churches and in our services knowing the power of praising and worshiping God. We should
respect times of praise and worship and value them as much as we do the teaching of God's Word - let us lay aside
our problems and our pressures and be filled with praise, worship, and thanksgiving. Singing or shouting praises can
break the power of fear off us and help us to get rid of doubt and unbelief. It will drive away spirits that are not of
God. For example, when the spirit of fear attacks us by giving us thoughts that make us afraid, we need to say
something like, "I praise you, Lord, and I magnify Your name. You are worthy to be praised. Hallelujah. Thank You,
Lord. You are awesome! There is nobody like You!" We can use those words of warfare anytime, anywhere. We can
defeat Satan much more quickly by singing a song than by worrying. That's why the Bible is loaded with examples of
praise and with instructions and reasons for us to sing and praise God.
PRAISE BRINGS POWER
One of the ways Vine's Expository Dictionary of Old & New Testament Words defines "praise" as telling a tale or a
narration. In other words, praising God is simply recounting or telling aloud the great things He has done. Praise
creates an opening in the spiritual atmosphere which enables people to hear the Word clearly, receive it, and hold on
to it through faith. Praise brings a release of our burdens; it takes our focus off ourselves and our problems and puts
it on God - and that always makes us feel better. Praise is a form of spiritual warfare - praising God defeats the devil
and the forces of evil. We gain more and more strength, our faith increases, and the things that are coming to defeat
us are dissipated as we praise Him.
We need to be diligent to listen to praise and worship music. We need to play it in our homes and in our cars; we need
to learn songs and sing them. Every time we have an opportunity-even a minute or two while walking through a
parking lot into a store-to praise and worship God, we need to do it. After a while, praise becomes so natural that it
flows out of us without a deliberate decision on our part. We should find ourselves singing and thanking God as an
automatic response to our awareness of His goodness, mercy, and grace.
Hebrews 13:15 says, "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." We need to apply that scripture to our everyday lives, making sure that we speak God's
praises every chance we get. We need to tell people about all the great things He's doing for us; we need to thank
Him; we need to tell Him we love Him. In our hearts and with our mouth, we should go through our days saying, "Lord, I
love You. Thank You so much for everything You're doing in my life. Lord, I praise You for taking care of my family
today. Lord, I even thank You that we have electricity and hot water. Lord, I praise You for working everything out for
my good in every situation." We need to be people of praise, acknowledging God "constantly and at all times,"
continually offering up to Him the sacrifice of praise. If we are doing nothing more than sitting at lunch with a friend
and speaking about some wonderful things God has done, we are praising Him. In fact, the Bible says God likes those
conversations and when He hears them, He gets out His book of remembrance and records them, "Then they that
feared the LORD spake often one to another: and the LORD hearkened, and heard it, and a book of remembrance
was written before him for them that feared the LORD, and that thought upon his name." Malachi 3:16
With hearts full of love and praise, yielded to the Lord, the Holy Spirit can manifest Himself and make known God's will
and leading for His children's lives.
Vine's Expository Dictionary of Old and New Testament Words says, "The worship of God is nowhere defined in
Scripture." It probably is not defined because it cannot be defined. Worship is so deep; it is so precious and so
awesome and it comes from such a deep place within us; it is such a powerful outpouring of our hearts toward the Lord
and it represents such love, gratitude, and devotion that we cannot put it into words. Human language is not rich
enough to describe everything that true worship is. In fact, worship is so personal and so intimate that maybe we
should even not attempt to limit or define it with our words.
However, in the absence of a definition of worship, Vine's Expository Dictionary of Old and New Testament Words
does say that worship "is not confined to praise; broadly, it may be regarded as the direct acknowledgement to God, of
His nature, attributes, ways and claims" and that it can mean "to serve," or to "do service to." some sources also say
that to worship means "to kiss," which connotes great affection and intimacy. The scriptures are clear in their
instructions and observations about worship, for example:
Give unto the LORD the glory due unto his name: bring an offering, and come before him; worship the
LORD in the beauty of holiness. 1 Chronicles 16:29
O come, let us worship and bow down: let us kneel before the LORD our maker. Psalm 95:6
Exalt the LORD our God, and worship at his holy hill; for the LORD our God is holy. Psalm 99:9
I will worship toward thy holy temple, and praise thy name for thy lovingkindness and for thy truth: for
thou hast magnified thy word above all thy name. Psalm 138:2
The Posture of Power
Like praise, worship is so much more than just singing songs. In fact, worship is a condition of heart and a state of
mind. We can be worshipping passionately without singing a single note. Worship is born in our hearts; it fills our
thoughts and it is expressed through our mouths and through our bodies: we can worship God by dancing, clapping,
lifting our hands, playing an instrument, giving offerings, marching around, or sitting perfectly still, but our actions or
our positions are simply reflections of what is in our hearts.
One posture that is often used in worship and in prayer is kneeling. Kneeling is a posture of humility, but it is also a
position of incredible power. As an act of humility, kneeling affects us in a positive way because it allows us physically
to express our heart's cry of total dependence upon the Lord. To kneel is to say to Him, "I need You, God. I'm
submitted to You. I want to follow You and obey You. I can't live without You. I can't do anything without You. I am
desperate for You!"
As a power posture, kneeling sends a potent message to the enemy. The devil hates it! When he hears us singing a
song, he does not know what's in our hearts, but when he sees us get on our knees or lift up our hands or start
clapping or dancing, he gets nervous. A believer filled with worship is his worst nightmare! All of us should develop
these same habits. Remember, the devil hates praise and worship and he is defeated by it.
The reason he so despises worship is that he was originally the angel in charge of worship in heaven. He was the
archangel Lucifer and his body was made of musical instruments. When he became proud and puffed up, God kicked
him out of heaven and he fell like lightning (Isaiah 14:12-15; Luke 10:18). He is still angry with God and will do
anything to keep people from truly worshipping Him. Naturally, he doesn't like it that we have his job! But more than
that, when the enemy is so opposed to something, we can know for certain that it's good for us, that it exerts power
against him in the spiritual realm and that it pleases God. We should feel encouraged to express ourselves in worship -
sing with all your heart, kneel, bow, dance, clap, or lift up your hands in order to push back the enemy, to celebrate
God's victory in your life, and to express physically the devotion of your heart toward the Lord in every possible way.
God gave you your emotions, so don't be afraid to use them to honor him.
Put Your Heart into It
When we read about worship in the Bible, we are reading about a personal relationship, about spiritual intimacy, and
about passionate expressions of devotion from people who love and worship God with all of their hearts. This is true
worship - the kind that bubbles up out of us when we have the fire of God in our lives, when our love for Him spills out
all over everything, and when we are zealous and enthusiastic about our dynamic relationship with Him. John 4:23
says, "But the hour cometh, and now is, when the true (genuine)worshippers shall worship the Father in spirit and in
truth (reality): for the Father seeketh such to worship him." God is seeking true, genuine worshippers who will really
worship Him with all their hearts. God wants true and genuine worshipers. He is not looking for people who will
worship Him out of fear, obligation, or religion, but out of a loving relationship.
E. M. Bounds writes that "religion has to do with everything but our hearts." That is true, but equally true is the fact
that true worship has to do with our hearts more than anything else. Obviously, not everybody who appears to be
worshiping is a genuine worshiper. True, sincere worship comes out of the heart and out of intimacy with God; that is
why worship is so important to our prayer lives.
Worship in spirit and truth is so much more than learned behaviors or habits that cause us to go to a certain place at a
certain time and repeat certain rituals. Walking into a building called a church and kneeling at a certain time, standing
at other times, repeating certain phrases, or reading from a book can be worship if these activities come from our
hearts, but they can be form and legalism if they are nothing but memorized words and actions that are not sincere.
Some churches do not use worship books or prescribed forms of worship, and in such places, we can be tempted to
think I'm worshiping, I'm singing, I'm even clapping. But those things are not worship either unless they come from the
heart. God is not pleased because we show up at the same place every Sunday, put in a specified amount of time,
and then go home and do not think about Him until the same time next week. Our hearts have to be connected with
what we are doing and we have to be focused on Him, or we are not involved in true praise and worship. In true
worship, we cannot give God lip service; we have to give Him our hearts, and true worshipers are those who express
with their mouths the worship that is in their hearts.
In Matthew 15:7-9 Jesus said, "Ye hypocrites, well did Esaias prophesy of you, saying, THIS PEOPLE DRAWETH
NIGH UNTO ME WITH THEIR MOUTH, AND HONOURETH ME WITH THEIR LIPS; BUT THEIR HEART IS FAR
FROM ME." We do not want our worship, or our prayers, to be useless, so in order to keep them fresh, vibrant, and
true, we have to keep our hearts in it.
Genuine thanksgiving is a response to both who God is and what He has done, is doing, and will do. It is not only an
acknowledgment of these things; it's a grateful acknowledgment. It's an expression of true, heartfelt appreciation.
Thanksgiving should be a part of who we are deep down in our hearts; it is a type of prayer and it should flow out of us
in a natural way that is pure and uncontrived. Being thankful does not mean merely sitting down at the end of a day,
and trying to remember everything we need to be thankful for because we think we have to thank God in order to
make Him happy or to satisfy some spiritual requirement or try to get Him to do something else for us. Instead, it
means having a heart that is sensitive to God's working in our everyday lives, and just breathing out simple prayers of
great thanksgiving every time we see Him working in our lives or blessing us. For example, "Lord, thank You for a
good night's sleep" or "Father, thank You for helping me make good decisions today" or "Lord, thank You for keeping
me encouraged." God is always good to us, always faithful to us, always working so diligently in our lives. He is always
doing something for us and acting in our best interest, so we need to respond by letting Him know we appreciate
everything. We should thank God silently in our hearts and we also should voice our thankfulness aloud because that
helps us stay conscious and aware of God's love, which He demonstrates through His goodness to us.
Just as the Bible instructs us to praise God and to worship Him, it also gives us reasons to thank Him and teaches us
how to offer our gratitude to Him, as shown in the scriptures below:
Unto thee, O God, do we give thanks, unto thee do we give thanks: for that thy name is near thy wondrous
works declare. Psalm 75:1
It is a good thing to give thanks unto the LORD, and to sing praises unto thy name, O most High: Psalm 92:1
Let us come before his presence with thanksgiving, and make a joyful noise unto him with psalms. Psalm
Enter into his gates with thanksgiving, and into his courts with praise: be thankful unto him, and bless his
name. Psalm 100:4
It's God's Will
Most Christians want to know God's will. Over the years in ministry, I have observed that a large number of people
really are eager to know His will - His will for their personal lives, His will for their families, His will for their ministries or
careers. Sometimes people treat God's will like the world's most complicated mystery and say things like, "Well, if I
only knew God's will, I would obey" or "I really want to follow God; I'm just not sure what His will is."
You may not know whether or not His will is for you to move to Minneapolis or where you are to send your children to
school or whether you are supposed to get the lead role in the Easter play at church. But one absolutely sure way to
know and obey God's will for your life is to be thankful. Be thankful all the time, no matter what you go through and
keep a grateful heart in every circumstance. Sometimes thanksgiving comes easily and sometimes it is difficult, but if
you will develop and maintain an attitude of thanksgiving, you'll be in God's will. Thessalonians 5:18 says, "In every
thing give thanks: for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus concerning you." Notice that the verse does not instruct us
to be thankful for everything; it tells us to be thankful in everything. For example, let's say you open the refrigerator
one day and see that the light is out and your food is not as cold as it should be. You don't have to start saying, "Oh,
God, I thank You that this refrigerator is broken!" "Father, thank You that our milk has spoiled." "Lord, it's such a
blessing that the refrigerator went out and I just thank You for that." No, that would be ridiculous, but be thankful that it
can be repaired and keeping a grateful heart while you are waiting for it to be fixed. That's what is means to give
thanks in everything - and that's God's will. Live that way and you'll be in God's will. Giving thanks in everything also
means to be aware of the common, everyday blessings God gives us - our health, our freedom, and our ability to get
in the car and go somewhere. We should also thank God all the time for the people that He puts in our lives. He gives
us people to support us and do things for us, people to laugh with, people who challenge us, people to impart wisdom,
and people with whom to enjoy life.
We need to learn to exercise the privilege of simple prayer in every situation and one way we can do that is to thank
God for the people He puts in our lives. We need to receive and enjoy what He provides, but we should never take for
granted the blessings He gives us. Instead, we should always appreciate what He does and make sure that a
continual flow of thanksgiving is part of our everyday routines.
Close the Door on Complaining
E. M. Bounds writes that "gratitude and thanksgiving forever stand opposed to all murmuring at God's dealing with us,
and all complaining at our lot...True prayer corrects complaining and promotes gratitude and thanksgiving." When we
maintain an attitude of thanksgiving, we close the door to complaining - which seems to be an ever-present temptation
in our lives. Complaining can be considered evil in God's ears and allows the devil to bring destruction into our lives.
Thankfulness opens the door for God to bless us, and complaining opens the door for the devil to curse us. If we stay
busy praising, worshiping, and thanking God, there will be no room for complaining, faultfinding, and murmuring. The
Bible says in Philippians, "Do all things without murmurings and disputings:" And in 1 Corinthians 10:9-10, "Neither let
us tempt Christ, as some of them also tempted, and were destroyed of serpents. Neither murmur, ye, as some of them
also murmured, and were destroyed of the destroyer."
Giving Thanks is Important
Giving thanks is so important to prayer because, like praise and worship, it is something God responds to. It's
something God loves, something that warms His heart. Anytime we give God pleasure like that, our intimacy with Him
increases - and that makes for a better prayer life.
Also, when we are thankful, we are in a position to receive more from the Lord. If we are not thankful for what we have,
why should God give us something else to murmur about? On the other hand, when God sees that we genuinely
appreciate and are thankful for the big and little things, He is inclined to bless us even more. Philippians 4:6 says,
"Rejoice in the Lord alway: and again I say, Rejoice. Let your moderation be known unto all men. The Lord is at
hand. Be careful for nothing; but in every thing by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be
known unto God." According to this verse, everything we ask God for should be preceded and accompanied by
thanksgiving and after that, we should thank Him for hearing us and answering our prayers! No matter what we pray
for, thanksgiving should always go with it. A good habit to develop is starting all of our prayers with thanksgiving. An
example of this would be: "Thank You for all you have done in my life, You are awesome and I really love and
Examine your life. Pay attention to your thoughts and your words and see how much thanksgiving you express. Do
you gripe and complain about things? Or are you thankful? If you want a challenge, just try to get through an entire
day without uttering one word of complaint. But most importantly, develop an attitude of thanksgiving in every
situation. In fact, just become outrageously thankful - and watch as your intimacy with God increases as He pours out
greater blessings than ever before.
Prevailing Prayer to Peace, by Kenneth E. Hagin, Copyright 1985, RHEMA Bible Church.
The Power of Simple Prayer, by Joyce Meyer, Copyright 2007, Hachette Book Group, USA.
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