Summary: The role that praise plays in personal and corporate worship.
The Human Harp of Praise
I will sing a new song to you, O God; on the ten-stringed lyre I will make music to you,
Mark Twain had a bad habit of spicing his conversation with profanity. Twain’s wife, a delicate, refined woman, often became very upset by his rough language. She tried, in many ways, to cure him of the habit--always unsuccessfully, of course.
On one occasion she tried a shock technique. When Twain arrived at home from a trip, he was greeted at the door with a string of profanity from his wife. From the lips of that delicate, refined woman, he heard everything he had ever said, and more.
Twain stood quietly, listening, until she had finished. Then he said, "My dear, you have the words, but not the music."
This is what often happens to us in our worship and prayer experience. We have the words but not the music--not enough soul, not enough enthusiasm flowing into it. Consequently, not enough joy -- contagious joy, flowing out of it!
Genuine praise to God issues from a heart that is in tune with His–a melody of sorts that rises to His throne and brings Him the glory that He alone deserves.
Someone has found that the word praise or rejoice in its various forms appears no less than 600 times in the Bible.
Why should we praise the Lord? Let me offer several reasons, some apparent, some not.
(1) Because He is worthy of it. After all, it is He who created us and the world we enjoy. He also provided for our inner re-creation. And if that is not enough, He lives within us–hearing and answering our prayers, forgiving us when we fail, encouraging us when we are weak.
And then, to top it all off, He is preparing a place for us to enjoy His presence throughout all eternity.
(2) Because God desires us to praise Him–continually and in everything-- as a witness and encouragement to other fellow travelers.
(3) Because praise is powerful in its effect. Nehemiah was right when he said, “The joy of the Lord is your strength.”
(4) Because our outlook on life is changed. Phil 4:8: “Finally, brothers, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable-- if anything is excellent or praiseworthy-- think about such things.”
(5) Because praise helps our faith to grow. Our focus from self and our problems is shifted to God and His power.
The Bible declares that “God inhabits the praises of His people.” So, then, there is a sense in which we can determine the degree to which God is present in our gatherings as we focus on praise. A praising church is an attractive church. The atmosphere is charged. Others are be drawn to the positive, uplifting surroundings.
The Psalmist declared, “I will sing a new song to Thee, O God; upon a ten-stringed harp I will play to Thee...” (144:9, KJV). An old man at a prayer meeting prayed like this: “O, Lord, we will praise Thee with an instrument of ten strings.: Folks in the service wondered what the ten strings were and they soon found out. The old saint prayed on: “We shall praise Thee with this instrument of ten strings.”