The Power of Verbal Praise and Why Your Participation Matters

Saturday, May 17, 2014

corporate worship
Several years ago, while teaching a class on worship, I made the statement that worship is a verb to illustrate the importance of our verbal response and participation in worship. After class I was approached by an older gentleman who emphatically said that he believed it didn't matter if he verbally responds in worship. His rationale was that God can read his mind and he doesn’t like to sing anyway. Therefore, he saw corporate worship as a waste of time. After telling him I admired his honesty, I shared three reasons why it is vital that we verbalize our praise to God in worship.

First of all, James 3:2 says that whoever has control over your mouth has control over your will. The tongue is like the rudder of a ship and sets the course and direction it travels. Our mouth is the rudder of our heart and how we use our mouth proves who is in control of the direction and course of our lives. The powerful principle of verbal praise is that when we lift our voice in praise, it shows who is directing our will. When we refuse to publicly respond in worship, perhaps we are making a statement that God is not in control.

The second reason is found in Matthew 15:11 and 18. Jesus says that what comes out of my mouth reveals what is in my heart. That is a scary thought. Our initial reaction might be to keep our mouths shut so that we don’t reveal anything bad about ourselves. The point needs to be made, however, that the exact opposite is true. Keeping silent doesn’t hide what is inside but reveals what is missing. We may never curse, swear, or gossip behind someone’s back because that would that would make us look bad, but we say more about ourselves through silence than what we say with a thousand words.

The final reason is where the real power of verbal praise is comes in. Revelation 12:11 says, "They overcame him by the blood of the Lamb and the word of their testimony.” What this verse tells us is that next to the shed blood of Christ, worship is the most powerful weapon we have to defeat the power of Satan in our daily lives. Think for a moment about what the word of our testimony means. I can’t think of any better way to declare the word of my testimony than through worship. Isn’t that what worship is all about? When we sing songs of praise, we are declaring the truth of who he is and what he has done for us. We are declaring the testimony of Christ and Satan is powerless against that. When we choose not to verbally praise God, we are choosing to subjugate ourselves to the power of the enemy.

I hope you are beginning to see that there is tremendous power in verbal praise. Here's the bottom line: using your mouth requires an act of your will. No one can force you to verbally respond in worship, but you miss so much when you choose not to. That is why David said in Psalm 89, "I will sing of the Lord's great love forever; with my mouth I will make your faithfulness known through all generations." The next time you are in a worship service, remember that your verbal participation matters. Not only will your verbal praise bring honor and glory to the Lord, it will change the course of your life.

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