Purpose of this Session
Praise and worship are a subject all of their own, and the Bible record abounds with testimonies of praise and worship playing an integral part in warfare, intimacy, overcoming difficulty, releasing God’s presence and many other manifestations of God’s power. Here we will only skim the surface, but it is important to include this form of fellowship prayer (NB. praise and worship is also a tool used in task prayer) because praise and worship form an integral part of anyone’s prayer life.
Because prayer is essentially communication with God, and as a born again child such communication is as natural to our spirit man as breathing is to our natural man, the believer does not have to manufacture elegant or spiritual-sounding prayers to impress God. The simple heartfelt overflow of the heart constitutes true prayer.
Psalm 100:4 tells us that praise and thanksgiving bring us into the presence of God. Psalm 22:3 says that God inhabits the praises of His people. In giving a model prayer for us to follow, Christ Himself also encouraged us to come boldly before the throne of our Father, and in doing so bring honour to His name. Because all prayer must be made in the presence of God, praise is integral to our prayer strategy and fulfilment.
The New Testament also encourages the believer that thanksgiving is a natural and integral part of our prayer life:
“Do not fret or have any anxiety about anything, but in every circumstance and in everything, by prayer and petition (definite requests), with thanksgiving, continue to make your wants known to God.” (Phil 4:6 AMP)
“Be earnest and unwearied and steadfast in your prayer [life], being [both] alert and intent in [your praying] with thanksgiving.” (Col 4:2 AMP)
The prayer of praise and worship is part of our new priestly duty before God. Revelation 1:6 says we have been made kings and priests before God. As such we are called to offer up spiritual sacrifices unto God our Father. Such sacrifices of praise are acceptable and pleasing unto God:
“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.” (Heb 13:15)
In the prayer of praise and worship the focus moves from us, our needs, our requests and intercessions for others, and falls upon God. We exalt Him not only for what He has done, but for who He is. In the light of His Presence and Person, other things fade to insignificance, even our most pressing request, and we are caught up into the eternal realm. With angels and tens of thousands of witnesses we join a chorus that will ring from age to age; Praise to the Father, Son and Holy Spirit, the thrice holy God of gods. From such a standpoint the challenges we face diminish in size, and the faithfulness and power of God fills our vision.
The Bible encourages us to ‘magnify’ the Lord:
“Oh, magnify the LORD with me,
And let us exalt His name together.” (Psalm 34:3 NKJV)
To magnify means to ‘make bigger’, ‘increase in magnitude’, ‘to increase the importance attributed to’. As we allow the magnitude of God’s Person and attributes (See Module 2: Doctrine, ‘The Doctrine of God’) to flood our mind and enlighten our hearts, the greatness of His power toward us and through us will be revealed.
Throughout the New Testament we see that the disciples not only ministering to others, but ministering unto the Lord. They stood as New Covenant priests serving the heart of the Lord with praise, adoration and spiritual fellowship. This ‘ministry’ is as important, if not more important, that the public ministry God entrusts us with, and indeed underlies all effective ministry from the platform or in a public arena (eg: Acts 13:2).
Our prayer times should ebb and flow in and out of the different kinds of prayer as the Spirit leads, but the prayer of praise and worship should be the golden strand that runs through them all. He is the ‘amen’ to every request and we should gladly acknowledge this!
“For all the promises of God in Him are Yes, and in Him Amen, to the glory of God through us.” (2 Cor 1:20 NKJV)