15 Dec Power of Praise (Video Transcription)
There are many who ask why we praise God so loudly and why we need to praise God. Is it because God is so interested in listening to all praises and honour or is it because God is self-boasting and is interested in listening to all the good things about him? Why does He want to listen to all of this and why is He so demanding of this? There are many questions people and have, especially during the retreats and the live streams and so this article will focus on these questions.
Praise connects us to God
We must always remember that by praising God, we are not contributing anything to God. God is already full and perfect on His own and so does not need anything additional. God is not in need of our praise and worship for himself but it is through praise and worship that we can connect to God. The moment we worship and praise God, we are connecting ourselves with God and when we stop, we disconnect.
Praise is also a clear sign that there is a relationship. For example, suppose you are watching two people meeting on a road, one person walking from one side, another from the other side. Upon meeting each other, you see one person begin to praise the other person, giving them thanks. The moment you see this happen, you come to the conclusion that there is a relationship between them; there is something uniting them, going on between them or something the person received from the other. At first, when you see them coming face to face, you would think they were strangers but the moment they started thanking each other, you begin to see a connection. Therefore, thanksgiving is a sign of connection, a sign that we are not separated but we are one. That is why the bible says “in the in the beginning was the Father, Son and the Holy Spirit”. There was always communication and thanksgiving between them.
Furthermore, the whole of creation is nothing but the ‘big bang’ of the love of the Holy Trinity. The love between the Father, Son and the Holy Spirit was overflowing in the form of creation. This is similar to the birth of a child, born through the love of the husband and wife. The explosion of love between them results in the creation of a child and when a child is born, the love is expanded. Initially the love was between husband and wife, between two people, but after the birth of the child, this expands to three people and if three children then this expands to five. Likewise the whole of creation is nothing but the sign of the Lord’s love, an expansion of His love, and is expanding every day. Scientists claim there is expansion of the universe and this expansion is because God himself says ‘my love for you is fresh and new every day- it is expanding’. Therefore, through praise and worship, we connect to our creator, which the Son is already doing with His Father and the Holy Spirit. We therefore continue this as Isaiah 43:21, states “the people whom I formed for myself so that they might declare my praise”. When we praise God with our whole body, we surrender our whole body to God and so, we give ownership and authority into the hands of God.
Praise gives credit and authority to God
One day as Fr. Joseph stood outside the retreat centre, he saw a person coming out of the car whilst thanking the driver for dropping him. The moment he said thanks to the driver, he came to the conclusion that the driver was the one responsible for bringing him to the centre safe and sound and so he was grateful for the driver. Similarly, when we thank God, we too are giving Him all the credit, ownership and authority. By praising, you acknowledge Him in front of the whole world and proclaim that God is the reason you are here. When the man thanked the driver, he acknowledged him in front of others so that others also knew the driver was responsible for his arrival. When we thank God for all the blessings, for our husband, wife, children, we tell the whole universe that God is responsible for all of this. It is not our creation, hard work, power or gain but God who gave them. Therefore the moment you kneel down and praise God you are giving authority and inviting God to be your owner and creator. Therefore praise is very much needed. Every living thing praises God- every creature, plants, anything we see praises God in its own hidden way. Therefore remember, we are all created to praise God and when we do, with all our power and might, every part of our body connects to God. This is the biggest and most powerful form of worship.
We are all called to praise God
In Matthew 21:16 we read, “Do you hear what these children are saying?” they asked him. “Yes,” replied Jesus, “have you never read, from the lips of children and infants you, Lord, have called forth your praise”. When people were praising Jesus, some people got offended and asked Jesus if He could hear them and Jesus told them He could hear the praises. In Matthew 21:14-15, it states “The blind and the lame came to him in the temple, and he cured them”. But when the chief priests and the scribes saw the amazing things that he did, and heard the children crying out in the temple, “Hosanna to the Son of David,” they became angry. The children were crying out in the temple and were praising Jesus but the chief priests and the scribes became angry and questioned Jesus about this. But Jesus told them that He hears the praises of all people, likewise every praise and worship, God hears. Not only does God hear the adults, but He hears the young, the infants and babies- they all praise God. Though we may not see or understand, they praise God because God has kept these praises in their lips. That is why there are many praise and worships written in the book of Daniel. All the dew, fire, plants, rain, birds and everything was asked to praise God. We too are supposed to continue praising God because when we praise, worship and adore God, deliverance takes place.
In 1 Peter 2:9 it states, “but you are a chosen race, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, God’s own people, in order that you may proclaim the mighty acts of him who called you out of darkness into his marvellous light”. As baptised Christians we have three duties: royal priesthood, holy nation, God’s own people in order that we may proclaim the mighty acts of God. We are called to proclaim and thank and praise God for the marvellous things the Lord has done.
We can praise in whichever way we like
Some people do not like clapping or dancing in the presence of God. Some become offended when others praise and dance in front of the blessed sacrament. Maybe some cultures may not accept this but there are many times in the Bible where we see people praising God in these different ways. Even during the time of Jesus, people would dance, sing and praise God loudly. They even screamed at the top of their voice but Jesus was not offended. When David danced in front of the holy the ark of the covenant, his wife got offended but God didn’t. Therefore there are so many ways we can praise God. So clap and dance and let God be the judge. We should never judge anybody by their outward appearance but give them the freedom to worship God however they want. Let it come from the heart, in whichever way it does.
In Psalm 141:2 it says “Let my prayer be counted as incense before you, and the lifting up of my hands as an evening sacrifice”. When we lift our hands and praise God it is considered as an evening sacrifice. Lifting your hands for so long can often be very painful during lengthy prayers but it is considered as a sacrifice. In Hebrews 12:12, it says “Therefore lift your drooping hands and strengthen your weak knees”. This means you can kneel down and lift your hands up when praying and praising God. In Psalm 47:1 we read, “Clap your hands, all you peoples; shout to God with loud songs of joy”. Even Psalm 150:4 says “praise him with tambourine and dance; praise him with strings and pipe!” Therefore we can praise God wherever we are in our own and can use all the musical instruments as these are all gifts of God. God has given us these talents to be used to glorify God. However, at the same time, we have to respect the liturgical rituals and formats we are asked to do but in other occasions we can use instruments and dance and clap to praise God. Psalm 98:4 says “make a joyful noise to the Lord, all the earth; break forth into joyous song and sing praises”. Sometimes when we praise God, it may not always be so soothing for the ears. It may seem like noise to others but God didn’t say make a joyful voice, but noise. If God doesn’t have a problem with this then we shouldn’t. Sometimes people are not so comfortable to praise loudly but let others praise as loud as they want if they are comfortable. We shouldn’t judge or observe what others are doing or not doing. In Revelation 19:6, we read “then i heard what seemed to be the voice of a great multitude like the sound of many waters and like the sound of mighty thunderpeals crying out hallelujah for the lord our God the almighty reigns”. This is verse is about Heaven where all the angels are singing and praising God like thunderpeals. If you are not so comfortable with listening to loud praises, how will you manage hearing this in heaven? In heaven there is 24 hour worship and so it is better to be trained now here on earth.
Praise to exalt Him, with our whole heart, mind and strength
In Revelation 11:15-16, it states “then the seventh angel blew his trumpet and there were loud voices in heaven saying the kingdom of the world has become the kingdom of our lord and his messiah and he will reign forever and ever”. And in Sirach 43:28-30 (39:35) “where can i find the strength to praise him for he is greater than all his works. Awesome is the Lord and very great and marvellous his power. Glorify the lord and exalt him as much as you can because he surpasses even that. When you exalt him summon all your strength do not grow weary for you cannot praise him enough”. Even if you use your maximum it would not be enough but when you praise God, summon all your strength and praise Him as much as you can. In 39:35, “sing praise with all your heart and voice and bless the name of the Lord”. The bible therefore encourages loud praise. Everyone and anyone is allowed and asked to praise God loudly. And when you do this, praise God with pain as in Exodus 17:11 we read “whenever Moses held up his hand, Israel prevailed and whenever he lowered his hand, Amalek, (the enemies) prevailed”. So, praying with pain either by lifting hands, kneeling down, is considered powerful. Verse 12, “Moses hands grew weary after some time he was tired so they took a stone and put it under him and he sat on it and Aaron and Hur held up his hands on one side and the other on the other side so his hands were steady until the sun set”. This resulted in Israelites winning the war. But one thing to remember is that when praising we must be focussed. Instead of praises coming out of our mouth whilst our eyes are busy distracted on something else, we must be in total focus, using all our faculties to praise God. In Mark 12:30 we read, “you shall love the lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind with all your strength”. When we love and praise God, we must do it with our whole heart, mind and strength.
Praise God for the good and the bad
And what should we praise God for? For everything, both good and bad. Both for the healing of Covid-19 and for getting it. A lot of lessons have been learned from this virus. During this time, many of our true colours came out, faith was not only strengthened but we also realised many of the weaknesses in our faith. Therefore we should thank God for this all circumstances as in 1 Thessalonians 5:16-18 we read, “rejoice always, pray without ceasing, give thanks in all circumstances for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you”. And Philippians 4:4-6 says “rejoice in the Lord always; again I will say rejoice, let your gentleness be known to everyone the Lord is near. Do not worry about anything but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your request be made known to God”.
Those who are unable to praise
There are some people that do not like to praise God. Either they will sleep or become bored that they stop and escape. In Sirach 1:9 we read, “praise is unseemly on the lips of a sinner for it has not been sent from the Lord. And in Sirach 17:28 “A person who is alive and well can sing the Lord’s praises, but the dead, who no longer exist, have no way to give him thanks”. And so, those who are spiritually dead, in sin, are unable to praise God. In Isaiah 38:18, we read, “for Sheol cannot thank you, death cannot praise you; those who go down to the pit cannot hope for you are faithfulness”.
The power of praise: what happens when we praise God
Deliverance from danger
Firstly when we praise God, He rescues and delivers us from danger as in Daniel 6: 10 we read, “although Daniel knew that the documenthad been signed, he continued to go to his house whichhad windowsin its upper room open toward Jerusalemand on his knees he knelt down three times a day to pray to his God andpraise himjust as he had done previously”. Though the country was in trouble, Daniel chose to praise God. He did this so much that the King got so angry that he put Daniel in prison. However in verse 22 we read, “my God sent his angel and shut the lion’s mouths so that they would not hurt me, because I was found blameless before him; and also before you, O king, I have done no wrong”. Daniel was thrown into the lion’s den but the lions did not touch him because God had sent an angel to shut the lion’s mouth. Due to Daniels daily faithful praise, God protected him. And so likewise, when we praise God, he too will deliver us from all danger. In Acts 16:25-26 we read, “about midnight Paul and Silas were praying and singing hymns to God, and the prisoners were listening to them. Suddenly there was an earthquake so violent that the foundations of the prison were shaken and immediately all the doors were opened and everyone’s chains were unfastened”. This happened because of their praise and so when we praise God, deliverance, healings take place.
Anointing, prophesy and power
Praise also leads to anointing and prophesy. In Kings 3:15 we read, “but get me a musician and then while the musician was playing the power of the Lord came on him”. Furthermore, in Jeremiah 17:14 we read “heal me O Lord and I shall be healed; save me and I shall be saved; for you are my praise”. Praise also leads to the removal of blocks as in Joshua 6:20 we read, “so the people shouted and the trumpets were blown. As soon as the people heard the sound of the trumpets they raised a shout great shout and the wall fell down flat so the people charged straight ahead into the city and captured it”. And so, if you want to capture or overcome any evil afflictions, start praising God with all your strength and you will be able to conquer anything.
Lessening of sin
Praise also diminishes sin as in Sirach 17:25 we read, “turn back to the lord and forsake your sins pray in his presence and lessen your offense”. So, return to the Lord and be in the presence of God, for this will lessen sin.
Visions and wisdom
Praise also leads to visions and wisdom from God in order to discern rightly. In Sirach 17:8-12 it states, “he put the fear of him into their hearts to show them the majesty of his works and they will praise his holy name, to proclaim the grandeur of his works. He bestowed knowledge upon them and allotted to them the law of life. He established with them an eternal covenant and revealed to them his decrees”. This is why when people praise God with their strength, might and a sincere heart during charismatic retreats, gifts and charisms of the Holy Spirit are received. Many start to pray in tongues, receive visions and healings and prophesy.
Praise also leads to humility as you surrender everything and lift up your hands. Many feel ashamed to lift their hands up mainly due to pride but to praise God sincerely, we must have humility. That’s why King David’s wife was not happy when he praised God. She questioned why he degraded himself in front of others when he was King. However, unfortunately we see in the Bible that her embarrassment led her to become barren throughout her life due to her not giving God all praise and glory. In Psalm 95:2-3 we read, “ let us come into his presence with thanksgiving; let us make a joyful noise to him with songs of praise! For the Lord is a great God and great King above all gods”. Why should we praise God so loudly? We do this because He is the greatest God and is above all other gods and so we should let the whole world hear of this.
Delivery and protection from enemies
Furthermore, if you praise God loudly and sincerely from your heart, you will also be protected from your enemies. In 2 Chronicles 20:21-22 we read, “when he had taken counsel with the people, he appointed those who were to sing to the Lord and praise him in holy splendour, as they went before the army, saying give thanks to the Lord for his steadfast love endures forever”. This was their motto. Instead of the army, the musicians went in front, singing and praising God. And “as they began to sing and praise, the Lord set an ambush against the Ammonites and Moab and Mount Seir, who had come against Judah, so that they were routed”. The army did not even fight, only the music ministry sang, but God set an ambush. And so, if we praise God will all our might, we do not even need to go into battle, for God will fight for us.
Praise is a sacrifice
Not only does praise lead to all the points mentioned above, but we must remember that praise is a sacrifice. Every time you praise God, you are offering a sacrifice, as mentioned in the Bible. It may not be the same as the Eucharistic sacrifice but praise and worship is also considered as a sacrifice. In Hebrew 13:15 we read, “through him then let us continually offer a sacrifice of praise to God, that is the fruit of the lips that confess his name. And so, every time you use your lips, heart and mind to praise God, you are offering a sacrifice of praise to God. In Psalm 50:23 we read, “those who bring thanksgiving as their sacrifice honour me; to those who go the right way I will show the salvation of God”.
We walk in His light
If you are a praising child of God you will always walk in His light as in Psalm 89:15 we read, “happy are the people who know the festival shout who walk O Lord, in the light of your countenance”. And so, let us start to praise God. Let our praise and worship be not just an exercise of the mouth but let it come from the heart, as this is what the Father seeks. In John 4:23 we read “but the hour is coming, and is now here, when the true worshipers will worship the Father in spirit and truth, for the father seeks such us these to worship him “. Let us praise God not with just our mouth but let our entire body be lifted up in praise. Worship God freely with no shame and more importantly, do it sincerely from the heart as this is what God wants of us.