PRAISE IS THE NATURAL RESPONSE TO PRAYER.
David says in no uncertain terms “THOSE WHO SEEK HIM WILL PRAISE THE LORD” (Psalm 22:26). Can that be any clearer. If you seek God , then you will praise God.
Praise comes from prayer.
Praise has it’s origin in seeking God.
Which means if there is no prayer meetings then there are no worship meetings.
Prayer is the greatest catalyst for praise.
A praying church is a praising church. Good music does not mean good worship. Good prayer gives good worship.
I believe that the prayerlessness of the 21st century church today has fostered all the gimmicks that are now happening on stage for the worship services.
We have to go to low lights, smoke, spots, and the concert like feel because our churches don’t praise anymore….they spectate.
Don’t believe me, just turn around during the songs and see who is lost in praise and worship.
Most congregants will watch but they don’t participate.
That is why lattes work at church now. If you are really praising, you don’t have time for a latte.
It’s tough to meet the living God with coffee in hand.
They watch the show on stage but it never seems to seep into the audience. My challenge to worship leaders is really look and see if the people are worshipping (not singing or swaying or twisting).
So when a church does not praise, then you have to keep it entertained for the 20-30 minutes with all the peripherals. This is exactly what AW Tozer said:
A church that can’t worship must be entertained; and people who can’t lead a church to worship must provide entertainment.
Congregational Praise is so much more exciting and exhilarating than watching 7 people on a stage do it for you. If I want that from a stage then I will go to see U2 for their Songs of Innocence tour and maybe that will be just as “free” as their CD on iTunes.
Who would be more exhilarating and enthralling than God showing up? We have put so much stock in the stage that we have forgotten the people in the seats. And when we finally remembered the pews , we have tried to do everything we can to provoke praise instead of what the Bible clearly says….THOSE WHO SEEK HIM WILL PRAISE HIM.
Don’t get me wrong. I think a great looking stage is fine. I believe in excellence but not in substitution.
Let me say that again….don’t mistaken excellence for substitution.
So let’s go back to the basics. How do I get my church to worship?
Hire a Hammond B3 musician.
I need a great lead guitarist.
Those tenor saxophones are amazing .
Those monitors are in the way, if we just had things in the people’s ears then it would be really cool.
WRONG. WRONG. WRONG.
Do the unlikely and the unthinkable…START A PRAYER MEETING.
That means you can have praisers without a Hammond and smoke and ear monitors.
You may not believe it. Try it.
The best worship churches know how to pray.
This is not rocket science and this is not secret code.
PRAY AND YOU WILL PRAISE.
PRAY AND YOU MAY BE ABLE TO SAVE MONEY ON YOUR MUSIC BUDGET.
Prayer centers you on the correct focus. The word used here in Psalm 22:26 for “seek” means “to know”. When you lose prayer you lose focus of the main attraction. It as my spiritual father , David Wilkerson, said “we have allowed the stars to outshine the Sun.” Prayer makes the Son shine brightest.
Music people, set aside a night to pray once a month with your singers and musicians and watch what happens. Watch those highly gifted people get revelation that ingenuity and newness can never replace Presence.
When your church starts praying they will start praising.
And when your church starts praising God…..you may find another promise coming to light….that He really does inhabit the praises of His people. He will show up!