THOUGHTS ON PRAISE AND WORSHIP
“The source of strength of a worship leader is God alone. A worship leader must read and meditate on God’s Word. He must constantly pray and sing praises. Otherwise he doesn’t really know who he is praising.” Either he is praising himself or God.”
In Praise and worship- there is no competition( such as who can sing better, play better etc). It is between you as the worship leader and God.”
” It is natural for a Christian to sing praises unto God, just like a person singing love songs to the person he or she loves.”
Many people wants to be worship leader just because they can sing and play some instruments better than the others. They think that they can say all kinds of things as they lead worship. That is why many of the worship leading that we go through are being led by people who seldom touch the Bible, who are living a double life and who showed little respect to the Holiness of God. If we seldom read the Word of God, how can the Word bring the necessary transformation in our life. The Word of God is the basis of our faith in God. Our deep knowledge of God will bring humility to us. Some of our praises are not truthful- we pretend that we are good and ok when in fact we are not. But when we lead worship because of what God had done in our life and how much His Word had brought changes into our life, we see that God is indeed glorified.
Worshipping on Mount Murud
” Many of us prepare very well for any praise and worship gathering. Some spend lots of money on instruments and other preparations such as inviting well known personalities to grace the occassion. Everything of course is well intended. But over the course of my journey, i realized that very little time is given for the Holy Spirit to work. Most of the time is talking, talking, talking and more talking and presentations! When we talk and talk, and alot of presentations from groups, it becomes a concert where everyone want to show what theycan do. Sadly, people are exalted and not God. So we hope people will be convicted by what people say? ONLY THE HOLY SPIRIT CONVICTS PEOPLE!
I realized that when we sing and sing and sing the songs of praise that we know, and there is no interuption, the hearts tend to soften and eventually open to the Holy Spirit to start to work. 3 or 4 songs are not enough for me. In the three corporate worship that i organized, we sing from 8pm to as long as possible. The Holy Spirit starts to work after more than an hour of worshipping and once that happens, people will not want to stop worshipping.”
My advice is, try to sing more, the songs that we can sing, and the more we exalt God and praise His name, the more we forget our pride and be opened to Him. We will have the breakthrough. Sing more. Try to sing more…”
WHAT DO YOU MEAN BY PRAISING GOD?
when we talk about giving praise to God, we are actually giving honour and glory to God! How do we do that? In everything that we do, have or
say. To praise is to exalt, to speak good of, to speak highly of, to respect and to revere. Its what you are, in your heart, in your mind, soul, spirit
and our outer self such as our manner and the way we dress. Can you tell me that a person who respect and honor God with all his heart will not care about how he or she dresses when he is to stand before God? Just what are you going to do or say in front of the Most High God?
When we say that we are giving praise and honour to God… mind our dress, our attitude and our heart. What we wear, what we say and how we carry ourselves
speak louder that words.
( Before I lead worship, I would tell God to help me as lead the singing. I would request the Holy Spirit to anoint my lips, my thoughts and the words that I would be speaking. I would would talki in my heart such as ” Lord, I we sing, I pray that all those people who are watching outside would rush into the church etc.” I make my request before God. We have to get ourselves right by humbling ourselves and asking for forgiveness from God.”
LEADING WORSHIP SERVICE, ESPECIALLY PRAISE AND WORSHIP IS NOT EASY.
Some people think that leading a worship service is easy because all you need to do is to bring others to sing etc..
That is why there are many critical comments after a service, and its always aimed at the worship leader.
My friend, for me, leading praise and worship is very difficult.First, you must make elaborate preparation, your spiritual life need to be fined tune.
It begins not in the church building but outside.Second you need to have certain skills with the instruments and in music, you must be able to sing and pray as well.
Thirdly, you must be able to memorize most of the songs you sing.It is important to memorize to prevent oneself from looking at the lyrics of the song while singing.
Fourthly, you have to master your emotion and you got to be brave to stand in front of a congregation.Next, mind your manners and language!
A pastor once told me, he prefers preaching to leading worship!
So its really not easy to lead a worship service.Therefore, be fair to your worship leader.I am sure he will try his best because
no one wants to fail, especially if you are standing before God Almighty.
CAN I SING IN THE NIGHT CLUB ON SATURDAY NIGHT AND LEAD WORSHIP SERVICE ON SUNDAY?
Leading a worship service is not about entertaining people but standing to worship God and to try to praise and honour Him.
To honor God we must know what God really wants of us, especially if we are to glorify Him in front of the assembly.
One very important thing we must know about God is HOLINESS. He also wants RIGHTEOUSNESS AND TRUTHFULNESS.
To lead a worldly life and afterwards, lead a worship service is a MOCKERY of the Holiness of God!We will never please God if our life
is about trying to serve two masters!The world standard is not the same as God standard!
THOUGHTS ON PRAISE AND WORSHIP
These people honour me with their lips but their hearts are far from me.They worship me in vain; their teachings are but rules taught by men.”(Mathew 15:8,9/Isaiah 29:13)
Not everyone has the gift to lead a worship service, but it does not mean that a person cannot lead a worship service. It is better to leave the worship leading to someone who has the gift and the ability to sing, to lead in prayer and someone who has musical ability. But worship leading is more than just able to lead others to sing or to play some musical instruments. Ability to sing and to play some instruments are important and is in fact an advantage to any worship leader. But there is more to worship than just that.
Many people emphasize a lot on how the music is to be played, using what cords, what type of instruments and with elaborate dress code. Some people cannot sing praises to God without musical instruments because of these emphasis. In my home village many years ago, the villagers use no instruments and yet sing their hearts out to God. Even some people say that the music should be played in such a manner so that the Holy Spirit will begin to move!
When a person leads a worship, he not only stand before God on his behalf but on behalf of the entire congregation. He plays an extremely important role in bringing the people into a worship situation aceptable to God. In other words, he acts as a priest leading the sacrifice of praise and thanksgiving to God. This brings us to the most important part of worship- the heart of the worship leader. There is no substitute to personal holiness and the correct attitude to worship. The worship leader, above all must have that great love for God so much so that whatever is uttered from his mouth are honest and full of humility. When the spirit of the worship leader connects to the Spirit of God, true worship begins.
The springs of Living Water(John 7:38) refers to the Holy Spirit. Many annointed singers speaks of the River of Life because when they lead worship, and the river overflows in them, the overflow is moving into the others as well.If this does not happen, then the worship leader could be ‘out of Water ” himself. God says that He will refined those He chose so that they will be able to wordship Him in truth.
MUSIC IN WORSHIP
I was awakened in the early hours of the morning and I was told in my heart that God wants to speak to me!My immediate response was, “OK God, what do you want me to do?”And I started to figure what God wants me to do but all of a sudden, I found myself driving my 4 wheel drive with its bright lights piercing the night and all of a sudden my own thoughts was overpowered by another thought which asked me to place my hands on an individual because he is given the gift of music!The my own thought start to communicate with the overpowering thought but it ends there. Then i realized, God must have communicated with the prophets likewise when He wanted them to write something. So there is a gift of music too.
So God will give the gift of music to anyone He chooses.The person that I placed my hands on happen to be a self taught musician!
Music has a place in a worship service but if music has to be used,then, it should be used accordingly.Music must not be the centre of worship.
It only guide us to sing so that we do not go out of tune or beat.Once our spirit connects to the Spirit of God, true worship begins.
And when true worship begins, the music is trully forgotten for it has serve its purpose.
All music are good if used accordingly in the appropriate situation. Not all like certain type of music.
Certain people only move their bodies because they like the sound or beat of the music rather than who they are suppose to worship.
Sometimes the music becomes too loud that we have to shout at the top of our voices.The words of the songs is drowned by the music.
In the end music is worshipped because it had become more important than the words or message of the songs.
Imagine your child who is standing near you screaming at the top of his voice asking for your help. Imagine your
child shouting at the top of his voice crying
and pointing at you “you are good!” God is not among the planets that we have to do that.
My friends He is right beside us or in us if you are a Christian. But people do celebrate with exceeding
joy when they are suddenly freed from bondage of sin and liberated in Christ.
The Israelites did that the jubilee- whi ch is not too often.This we have to understand at times.
If we lead worship during sundays and the following nights we sing worldly songs in the
night clubs than we are actually serving two masters. Here we decieve many people.
In the Bible, God mentions true worshippers as those who had been purified.”He will sits as a refiner and purifier of silver;
He will purify the levites and refine them like gold and silver.Then the Lord will have men who will bring offerings in
righteousness(Malachi 3:3).”In Zechariah 13:9 says, “I will refine them like silver and test them like gold.They will
call on my name and I will answer them.“True worshippers seek righteousness and holiness because when they stand
in the congregation,they should shine for Christ, and the Holy Spirit flows like a river through them and on to the congregation.
If their life is worldly they will more likely deceive others with their lifestyle then bring others to Christ.The Spirit of God leads when
a true worshipper leads.
When we love the Lord, adores Him and fear Him, when we really acknowledge Him something will happen to us without others telling us to:-
1. We wear our best dress cos we are to stand before God.
2. The manner of our speech is good cos we feel ashame standing before a holy God and community.
3. We are there to honor God and there should be orderliness in what we do.
Worship leaders or those who has the gift of ministry in songs are definitely able to sing better than most in a congregation. We must know that not all can really sing and are really interested in singing. Hence many would not be able to follow some of the songs a worship leader brings. But it is the duty of the worship leader to try to get everyone to praise and worship God with their lips. Therefore, songs to be used in a worship service should be known, if possible to everyone. Otherwise it would be just the worship leader enjoying singing up front while a majority of the congregation are just waiting for the singing to end. The choice of the songs are very important.Usually if we know the song, we will enjoy it.
HOW IS YOUR VOCAL?
My main worry when I first lead a worship service was my vocal.I was always thinking that my voice or vocal is not like so and so etc..In fact I should not worry so much whether my vocal should be like so and so who are good singers. The reason is everyone is unique and has a unique voice/vocal as well. We should be who we are and try not to be somebody else. I believe vocal training is important although I had never attended any musical training before but I feel training is necesary to improve one’s vocal performance.
Immitating some one’s voice or vocal to me makes our worship leading superficial and very pretentious.
We should maintain the kind of voice/vocal that God has given to us in all its originality.
WHY PRAISE GOD?
Do you want others to praise you?Certainly!But if you don’t know, ask somebody to say something bad about you and surely you will know how you feel.
Praising God is honouring God also.In Psalms it says, “Whosoever offereth the sacrifice of praise honours Me.”
If somebody helps you, you will feel happy.But if somebody helps you and he also says something good about you,
you will certainly feel much better.Can we adequately honours people in silence?Not enough! You have to say
something good about the person.You have to utter something, if possible audibly. When we praise a person,
we want others to know too.And the best way to let others know is to say it so that people can hear it.
Praising God openly is different than praising God on your own where noone knows.To me both are good and should be practised.
When we praise God in front of others we become a witness for Christ and willing to be scrutinized in our way of life.
In this way,we try to guard the commitment that we had just made.
If we are to praise God, we have to use our mouth or lips and this is also called in Hebrews as fruits of the lips.
When I say beware, it means we have to be very very careful in our praise and worship activity.If you are not really prepared,
don’t go “deep” if you are not “deep” yourselves.We must always be aware that where God is worshipped, the devil will try to be
around too!My intention is not to cause fear here, but it is important to acquire some knowledge in praise and worship because
it is not the singing only but other preparation as well.
Why must we be very careful? The main reason is simply praise and worship leads to the heart being opened and if the
Holy Spirit is not entering, the devil will.It is recommended that an annointed worship leader or a pastor is involved.
DIFFICULT TO PRAISE GOD?
He who sacrifices thanks offerings honours me, and he prepares the way so that I may show him the salvation of God.”(Psalms 50:23)
I don’t really know how a person can thank God or praise Him without opening one’s mouth!This verse is quite clear to me.
Being thankful or praiseful begins in the heart.Someone gives us something, our inner gratitude moves us to utter words of thanks or praise to that person.Unless that’s person gesture does not mean anything to us.
If its so difficult to praise God, the reasons could be:
-What God did in your life does not mean anything to you.
-You have fear of people laughing at you everytime you sing or move.
-You are not yet liberated spiritually
-Or to you praising is an option.
If you favourite team scored a goal, you are sure to burst into joy.Look at what happen in a stadium whenever a team scores a goal!
True worshippers are those who are obedient and who trust in the Lord.This is the act of worship.We might know alot about God, and the word of God but if we do not trust in Him and obey His Word (the Scriptures)then we deceive and are deceived by our own stubbornness.
To be a skillful football player,one needs to learn to kick the ball and play with it many times to acquire the necessary skills.To be a true worshipper we need to learn and learn in obedience and trust so that we are able to reach deeper into a relationship with Him so that God will mould us into true worshippers.
Hard Rock music, akin to metal type is not appropriate to a sunday worship service or any worship service in my opinion.Probably if we have the opportunity to see God in person during a worship service, i wonder whether we dare to make a loud noise with our instruments or with our voices.But God is present in any service that honours Him!The prophet Isaiah and the apostle Paul found out about words that they were not permitted to speak, when they were brought to heaven.What about in a concert?Well, it depends.But Christians are different than non-christian musicians!If the music drowns our voices then what do we want God to hear?Our voices or music?Our voices must be heard.There needs to be silence once in a while so that we can hear God speaking to us in our hearts!There is a verse in the Bible which says “BE STILL AND KNOW THAT I AM GOD.”
If the church requires proper attire, we need to follow or otherwise we are seen as somebody who does not show any respect at all. To be humble means to be obedient not only to God but to those in authority- including church leaders.But of course, it is common sense to be in our best dress if we regards the service very important- especially if we know that we are going to stand before the King of Kings
YOU ARE TOO EMOTIONAL
Did you ever hear people commenting on others who shed tears or cry during services, as being too emotional?Often many people felt that everyone must control his or her emotion during praise and worship.There is no verse in the bible which prohibits people from crying out to God.In fact, the Bible speaks of crying as an indication of brokenness of the spirit.When a person cries openly, it means he or she is emotionally affected, that is sad, desperate or broken in the spirit or the heart.People always see people who cries as a sign of weakness in the person.Just to tell you, that is the person God is looking for!That is the person that God will answer!Unless we are weak, we will never be made strong.Remember the Pharisee and the poor tax collector!
I had cried, I had tears flowing down my cheeks in some of my worship and I won’t be ashamed at all because we are bound to have our hearts broken before God in a true attitude of worship.
EXPECT NEW THINGS FROM GOD
In worship, we need to expect new things or development from God.Worshipping God is never static, or always same sunday after sunday.Human nature always refer to previous experiences and wants something like before and therefore not open to a deeper and deeper relationship with God.That is why many Christians get bored easily.They always expect something special from the worship leader.If they didn’t see something according to their expectation, they will have a negative opinion of the worship leader.Although we expect the worship leader to lead accordingly,the congregation should think of focussing their worship to God and not the manner of how to worship.True worshippers are those who go directly to God in their worship even if there is a worship leader leading or even if the music or singing are not as expected!We come to a worship service to worship God and God alone.If our worship leaders makes mistakes or make errors, we must understand that we are all fellow human who are coming to God together trying to put our act together hoping for God’s mercy and love.No one, no failures of others should prevent us from worshipping God.True worshippers are those who worship by the Spirit of God(Phil.3:3).
PREPARATION OF THE WORSHIP LEADER
Without God we are nothing.In worship, the leader should be in tune with God or other wise, he will be trying with his own might and personal will and not the will of God.Many worship leaders depend on their own will, skill and influence.They try to manupulate situation without leaving it to the Holy Spirit’s direction and influence. Some rules of worship are rules made by man and not by God- we must remember that.Our duty is to bring people to worship God and let the Holy Spirit do the rest in the heart of each worshippers.
Personal meekness and holiness is very important in worship.In the Old Testament, elaborate steps were undertaken by the Israelites.We need to present ourselves before God- alone, before we stand in front of the congregation.Worship leaders whose lives are blameless tend to worship God freely than those who are not.We must be converted before we can hope to get others converted.We have to be a true worshipper if we want the congregation to be true worshippers.We must be a reader and doer of the Word of God.Jesus said that we are made clean and holy by the Word.Unless we read the word, we will never be able to be ready for worship.
God must always be the centre of our worship.All glory is for Him and Him alone, not us.To speak good about God, we have to mentioned what God is doing in our lives, His majesty, His holiness, His righteousness and mercies, His love, His greatness and power- all the atributes of God needs to be said so that we do not say something that elevates ourselves or try to boast about ourselves.When God is lifted high in any worship, the Holy Spirit rules.It is worth mentioning over and over again that as worship leaders we must not only be morally upright in the Church but also during our everyday life; in the office, on the road etc..otherwise we will be under the bondage of guilt and wont be fully released for worship.
I am not talking about that important rehearsal that we normally do before the sunday service or worship service. I am talking about a personal rehearsal in my heart. Singing the songs in our heart, brings our spirit to sing and mind you, you will be able to figure out what songs are most fitting for the actual day. These songs will really touch me and that will be the songs I will lead the congregation to sing. I have this rehearsal many days before leading a service.
THE TABERNACLE OF MOSES
I have actually touched important aspects of worshipping God through the sacrifice of praise and worship and although I had not referred to the Tabernacle of Moses, in actuall fact, I had hinted on How Moses and the people of Israel must come to God to offer a sacrifice as an act of worship.There were some steps and rules and it is important not to side step these rules because the Bible is relevant then and now.The Old Testament way is a pattern of the New Testament way, as mentioned in Hebrews 8:5-6 ” They serve at a sanctuary (tabernacle) that is a copy and shadow of what is in heaven.This is why Moses was warned when he was about to build the tabernacle:See to it that you make everything according to the pattern shown you on the mountain.”The tabernacle have three areas: the outer court, the Holy Place and the Holy of Holies. There is a powerful comparison between the areas of the tabernacle and us as a person.As a person we have three parts, we are spirit, soul and body (1 Thessalonians 5:23).
The body is the outer shell which have five senses (touch,smell,sight and hearing).Our soul is our intelligence, will power and emotion.The third component is spirit, the most important part of man.God is a Spirit.They that worship God must worship Him in spirit and in truth.This spirit in us must have a new birth as mentioned by Jesus to Nicodemus.So the outer court is our body; the holy place is our soul and the holy of holies is the spirit.
In worship, there are three levels of approach to God: thanksgiving, praise and worship. The outer court represents thanksgiving. The Holy Place represent praise and the Holy of Holies represent worship. We enter God’s presence with thanksgiving, move on to praise and come into the ultimate Shekinah of God.
Remember, before we enter into the presence of God, we have to make peace with God.In the Old Testament, they offer burned sacrifice as an atonement for their sins. Jesus did that for us when He died on the cross as the ultimate sacrifice, but we must come to God to confess our sins accept Him and be forgiven. Ask for God’s forgiveness every time we want to enter into His presence.
POWER IN PRAISE
Many people have experienced that there is power in Praise.The wall of Jericho collapsed because of shout of praise. The prison wall where Paul and Silas were imprisoned was destroyed because those two were praising God. Christians of our generation had also realised that there is awsome power in praise!Why is this so?Because God is presence in any praise and worship that is truely offerred to Him.The spiritual battles also involved praise. The kings of Israel used worshippers a head of the army and the enemies were destroyed by God. When men offer praises to God, the hosts of heaven join to.
Some Christians do not allow loud praises in their services.They sing one or two songs and thats all.They will say that the Word of God is more important than just singing praises unto God!The Word has an important place in worship so is praises. The Word is for us and the singing is for God.We get and we give.The point really is that an individual who praises God will cause his own stronghold within himself to crumble because he opens up and let God do the rest in his heart. Man is under all kind of bondages of sin and really, songs of praise will help to destroy these things.In Psalms 50:23 says that whoever offer praises glorify God …and he prepares the way so that I may show him the salvation of God.So when a person praises God, he is preparing himself for God works within himself.Unless a person is full of joy, he will not be willing to sing loudly and with clapping. Remember.. there is strength in joyful praise and worship. The joy of the Lord is our strength.There should be an element of joy in our praises to God.There is a big big difference between singing with joy and singing for the sake of singing.
THE MOVE OF GOD
Offering the sacrifice of praise and worship is an important start to any move of God in a person’s life.God is enthroned on the praises of His people.The person begins to praise to God and gradually opens up himself to the work of God in his life. Praising God is the fruits of our lips.Our lips have to bear the correct fruit, that is singing songs of praise and worship. Referring to the wall of Jericho and the prison where Paul and his friends were
held shouts of praise had caused major damages there.
The good thing about singing songs of praise and worship is that everyone can follow easily- believers and non-believers!This is where the non-believers are drawn to God in the singing, and allow God to begin working within them.Christian concerts can be an avenue to draw non-christians slowly to God.
GIVE,TAKE AND GIVE
Man always want something and he must get it.He always wants to receive…receive…receive! He seldom wants to give something away he will grumble if he does not receive what he wants!That is what is wrong with us. We always ask and ask and ask but we never give back to God who gives to us what we ask. So all we want is one way traffic, not two ways. In praise and worship, praise and worship is part of our giving to God. The sacrifice of praise, the fruits of our lips!When we receive something from God, we should praise Him back!Give praise to God.That is why we need to praise God continually, just like praying continually too!
There are lots of things that we get from God everyday, for instance, that we are able to wake up in the morning and ….His blessings are upon us all the time… and really we need to give God all the praises and blessings..Blessings? Can we bless God? Yes, the psalmist says “Come bless the Lord…”
WORSHIPPING GOD OR MUSIC?
There are thousands or millions of guitarists and musicians all over the world but not all are Christians.Many are expert musicians because they love music very much.Christians musicians are the same too.When we worship God in songs, then music is involved. Many people are so carried away by the music that the words of the songs are not heard.Some increase the volume of the musical instruments to the maximum because they enjoyed the music rather then the words and meaning of the songs.When the singing of the mouth is drowned by the sound of the instruments, then the worshipper is no longer in control and the object of worship is no longer God but music!When music is worshipped then self is worshipped.
Musicians must know how music should be used to support the worshipper in worshipping God through songs. Music should not go beyond what is necessary.
Beautiful songs, well written lyrics, beautiful melodies,
captivating vocals are high points but God looks at the sincerity of the heart- at its lowest point , a HUMBLE heart and lower still- a broken heart.
CRITICAL OF YOUR WORSHIP LEADER?
In fact most worship leaders are singers. Some are well known songwriters and singers. The thing is, not everyone can be a singer or songwriter although many tried. Some are very talented but some are gifted, these are two different things.God gives a gift of music, so the person is gifted.
During the reign of King Saul, David was called often to play music to comfort him. The picture of heaven, as in Revelation mentioned of music and worship before the throne of God.Worshipping in song is a very important aspect of worship, for God permits it. So if its not that important, the discription of worship in heaven won’t be shown at all.
Your worship leader or Christian singer is given the skill to perform to comfort, to bring joy and to quicken our mind to honour and praise God. This is not an easy matter my friend. That is why, where there is hurt, God will provide comfort through songs and in the end the person will sing for joy in place of mourning.
I mentioned that to sing is not an easy matter my friend. Its also work and sweats. Some took great effort to get a song and to perform to all kind of taste.If your singer or worship leader performs and request for payment of some sort, we have to understand.The cost of musical instruments are not cheap. You can try to ask for the price of a good guitar or sound system. All these are use to make people feel happy and lifted and to make sure that the right situation is made.So do not complain about your singers requesting for this and that because they really deserve for their work.
Its not easy to sing in front of a congregation but it is easy to say you cannot sing.In fact it is difficult to please everyone on the type of song or music that need to be played. But if our mind is set to honour and worship God, the singer in front of the congregation will not picture so big to get our attention.
LOVE VS GIFTS
If you read 1 Corinthians 13:1-4, you will see that love Agape is greater than the other gifts, including power gifts!
Even if we have the voices of angels but refuse to use it to serve the body of Christ, what use is it? I would rather
have someone who does not have such a good voice but is willing to lead worship. Obedience and willingness show
OTHER ROLE OF THE SINGER
Can every one prophesy? Can everyone perform miracles?CAN EVERYONE BE REALLY GOOD IN SINGING? Surely not..so Christian singers have an important role in the church.They not only lead others to sing, but they too will uplift the down hearted with their songs.God use the singers to write and sing songs that could stir their spirits.. to bring God’s messages and comfort through music. The joy of praise and worship will re-energize an otherwise dull life… Just think of what those great hymns did to all the Christians, generation after generation.. including our generation!
Musical instruments play an important place in worship. People are easily move because of the music, but not necessary they are worshipping God. Instruments should be cleaned and prayed for. Some instruments used previously in a night clubs are often dirty and will cause problems. Evil spirits like to dwell in dirty objects or instruments. Some people, due to the fact that used instruments are cheap, would buy for the church to take advantage of the price, but instruments used in the night clubs and other bad ploaces are in fact dangerous. The church leaders must pray over all musical instruments used in the church.