praisemusicWEBYesterday was not a good day.  I won’t rehash it, but you can read about it in “Authenticity Challenge: Reality Stinks.”  While today was somewhat better, tonight, my worship team rehearsal night, was fantastic.  Why? Here is the secret that turned an ordinary day into a great one: the power of praise.

Yeah, just a little singing and music, right? That’s all worship is really about, right? Not so special, you say?

Yes, Christians are well familiar with worship in services. Corporate worship, or worshiping together with others as in church, comes in all styles: contemporary, traditional, latin, and with hymns, chimes, choirs, praise bands, orchestras and even acappella.  Typically, Christians know the routine. We enter the sanctuary, pick up the bulletin, scan it, stand up, sing a song, sit down, stand up, sing, sit, stand (sigh) again, sing, sit, stand… well, you get it.

I’ve been singing with a praise and worship team for 19 years.  You would think that singing worship would become somewhat ordinary to me by now.  It’s not. Participating in worship is anything but ordinary!  I never fail to get nervous each Sunday my team is up.  I never feel prepared, and I am always anxious that I will forget the words or sing the impromptu solo (you know, the one that you blurt out when no one was supposed to sing), or forget a harmony.  I feel this way every time I sing on the team.

You would think I would get over this nervousness, but I don’t.  You see, I have come to understand that I am helping usher the congregation into the very presence of the Holy One! Worship is serious business to me!  Above all else, knowing this truth is what makes my hands shake each Sunday as I grip the microphone.  The sanctuary will be Holy Ground…and I know I am not worthy of being there!

Listen, I am not a spectacular singer.  I have no doubt that Simon would usher me on, and not without a snarky comment or two.  But while Simon won’t be in the congregation, God will be. Frankly, Simon would be far less fearsome!

So as I am standing there quaking in my shoes, I repeat this promise to myself:

“I am able to do all things through Him who strengthens me.

Philippians 4:13 HCSB

Then something happens inside.  I find peace. My voice stops quivering, and I am ready to sing. My hands still shake, but the words are there.

Sometimes I look out into the congregation and see someone yawn, looking quite bored.  Hey, I am not judging anyone because I have done this, too.  It is so easy to let your mind wander during a worship set! It’s early, and people are tired.  But sometimes when we are singing about the power of the resurrection, I wonder if those words are really sinking in.  I wonder if people are truly aware of the power of those words. Yes, there is a great power in the words!

The next time you are in a sanctuary and the worship set begins, no matter if is it is a hymn or a contempory song–whatever the style of your particular church–really focus on the words of the music.  The lyrics. What are you singing?  To Whom?   Forget about the person in front of you with the weird shirt, the lady behind you who is so off key, or even that the vocalist may be off-beat. Just focus on what you are singing. I promise you, something special will happen.

You see, there is an incredible power in praise music. When you worship with all of your heart, or, as the Bible says, “in Spirit and Truth,” you have entered the Holy Place. The presence of the Most High God!

True worship lifts a depression. It restores a broken heart. It unites the most ill-matched group of people as they honor God together.  It is powerful, focused, and full of the Spirit. As you worship, remember where you are, and not just physically, but spiritually.  You are approaching the very altar of God!

As you sing, don’t worry about how good you sound.  Listen, God doesn’t care if you are on pitch or off. (Believe me, I’ve been off many times!)  He doesn’t care if you blunder a phrase. He only cares about your heart.

Are you worshiping in Spirit and Truth?  God is worth our whole-hearted worship. Do you know that He sings with us, too?  The verse below is one of my favorite passages. He is not hesitant about rejoicing over you….so give Him your very best!

The LORD your God is with you,
he is mighty to save.
He will take great delight in you,
he will quiet you with his love,
he will rejoice over you with singing.

Zephaniah 3:17 (New International Version)

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