As a boat has no road or guardrails, the time of quarantine created a life with fewer guidelines and structure. “Sleep, eat, watch TV, repeat,” became the norm. But at some point, the nudges of the Holy Spirit became undeniable. “Use this time wisely,” he admonishes. “Make progress. Advance. Grow.” And while doing more exercises or taking an online class are great ways to redeem the time, what is MOST “essential”? Time with the Lord. It can never be trumped, not with hundreds of pounds lost nor dozens of doctorates earned. How do we practically DO this thing called “spending time with the Lord”? Just like spending time with a friend can be done in many ways, there isn’t a single formula for spending time with God. But one way is through praise and worship.
Here are two key verses.
Psalm 100:4 - NKJV
4 Enter into His gates with thanksgiving, And into His courts with praise. Be thankful to Him, and bless His name.
Psalm 22:3 - NKJV
3 But You are holy, Enthroned in (some versions say “inhabiting”) the praises of Israel.
WE PRAISE AND GOD SHOWS UP, BUT …
An encounter with Almighty God elicits praise from our heart effortlessly, automatically, like water springing from a geyser. On the other hand, when we initiate praise, it brings us to a place of encounter with God (Acts 16:25). But the one who really begins the whole process is … God. He is the source and starter of every good thing. He revealed his goodness to us when we were lost, and we responded in worship and surrender.
The examples from the Bible are many: he appeared to Abraham and Abraham sacrificed on an altar (Gen. 12:7). He revealed himself to David as his Shepherd, helping him defeat bear and lion, and David erupted with songs of praise (Ps. 23, etc.). Which in turn caused more revelation of his mighty acts and produced more songs of praise (Ps. 56, 59, etc.).
KEY TO PRAISE: SEEING GOD (SOMETIMES FROM MEMORY)
In a never-ending cycle, we praise, he responds, which provokes more praise, which stirs faith and anointing for greater revelations of God’s goodness. There is a spiritual principle at work here: be faithful with the little and God will give more (Luke 16:10, 18:8). Be faithful to praise God for the things he already has done, and he will release greater acts of might and greater insight into his character. Which, of course, initiates even greater responses of praise from his people in a powerful “upward spiral” of knowing God and His acts more and more!
PRAISE AND WORSHIP, THE GRAND FINALE
11 In him we were also chosen … 12 in order that we, who were the first to put our hope in Christ, might be for the praise of his glory. (NIV)
in order that in the coming ages he might show the incomparable riches of his grace, expressed in his kindness to us in Christ Jesus. (NIV)
His acts toward us – in this age – are for his praise in future ages. What a thought! If praise is the final stage, how great must that praise be! WHAT WILL THAT FUTURE PRAISE BE LIKE?! May we taste of that future glory even now in our praises to Almighty God!
What better way to end a blog on praise and worship than to allow our heart to praise and worship the One who is so worthy. Here is a sample prayer that may stir your heart in its own praise “upward spiral”.
“Father, I praise you that you made each one of us – not one is a mistake or less important than the other. You cherish your children. Thank you that you led us to your salvation. You caused us to understand that you rescued us from the kingdom of darkness by sending your Son Jesus Christ to take the burden of our sins. For that, I will be eternally grateful, especially as I am able to increasingly see and understand how great of a salvation that was for humanity! Thank you for the miracles you have done in my life, both great and small. I could tell testimonies all day! Thank you for your friendship. You are always available to talk, even though you are a mighty king. Thank you that you call us, your children, mighty kings and queens too! You see us for who we will be, and even enjoy us and continue to guide us in the stage we’re in now. You relish process. You’re never in a hurry. Your mercies for me are new every morning!”
 Eph. 2:1  1Cor. 12:12-27  Luke 12:6-7, Rom. 8:16  Rom. 2:4  Col. 1:13, Eph. 1:7  1Cor. 13:12  Psalm 30:1-2  Psalm 71:8  John 15:15  Heb. 4:16  1Peter 2:9  Prov. 3:11  2Cor. 3:18  1Cor. 13:4  Lam. 3:22-23