Summary: When we get our minds off of ourselves and our circumstances and onto God and His greatness and might and begin praising Him with our whole heart, we are loosed and set free; the chains of doubt, fear, and confusion are broken and we are set free by the p
Have you ever thought about how self-centered we human being
are? Just think about it. We’re having a conversation with someone and they’re telling a story about – let’s say – how big the fish they caught was and what are we thinking about? How to top their story.
Someone complains of an ache or a pain and we then have to tell them about our aches and pains.
Being self-centered means caring about yourself and your own needs. Of course I’m not saying that we are like this all the time but admit it – we all have our moments.
Now let’s think about how we pray and talk to God. Usually our prayers are mostly – give me, give me, give me. There is, of course, nothing wrong with taking our needs to the Lord, in fact He tells us to.
We are to cast our cares upon Him. But this can become a problem for us as Christians if that’s all we do.
Acts 16:23-26 And when they had laid many stripes upon them, they cast them into prison, charging the jailor to keep them safely:
Who, having received such a charge, thrust them into the inner prison, and made their feet fast in the stocks.
And at midnight Paul and Silas prayed, and sang praises unto God: and the prisoners heard them.
And suddenly there was a great earthquake, so that the foundations of the prison were shaken: and immediately all the doors were opened, and every one’s bands were loosed.
Now if any two people ever had a reason to whine it would be Paul and Silas. They were thrown in a Philippian prison because they had cast a demon out of a girl. They were beaten, and then put in stocks which clamped their arms and legs in an immobile position, causing cramps and loss of circulation. The atmosphere there was depressing. According to the standards of that day, a prison was more like a dungeon - a dark, damp, stench-ridden place, with no facility for waste or comforts of any kind.
Yet in spite of the throbbing pain in their bodies and the disheartening atmosphere, at midnight Paul and Silas were heard praying and singing praises to God.
Obviously, Paul and Silas knew something . For one thing, they knew that sitting there and moaning and groaning about how uncomfortable they were and how the place stuck and how unfair it was they were put there in the first place for doing something good would accomplish absolutely nothing. It wouldn’t help either of them feel better and if anything – it would only add to their misery.
Too, they could have complained to God because really they had been about His business and that’s what got them into this mess in the first place.
But instead of complaining to Him, they began praising Him. The Bible says they began praying and singing praises to God and you know what happened? God sent an earthquake and the prisoners were set free.
When we get our minds off of ourselves and our circumstances and onto God and His greatness and might and begin praising Him with our whole heart, we are loosed and set free. The chains of doubt, fear and confusion are broken and we are set free by the power of praise.
1. Praise elevates us into God’s presence.
Paul and Silas knew the secret of how to lift their hearts above their troubles and enter into God’s presence and power. Through praise and worship their hearts were raised into the joyous presence and peace of God and provided God a channel for His power to operate in their circumstances.
The Bible says in Ps. 22:3 That God inhabits the praises of His people. In other words, God “dwells” in the atmosphere of His praise. This means praise is a vehicle of faith which brings us into the presence and power of God. Praise and worship are the “gate-pass” which allows us to enter into the Holy of Holies.
Have you ever noticed that the Lord begins to bless and move among us after we begin to worship and praise Him? Some think that worship is a response after the Holy Spirit moves upon them. But, it’s the other way around. God’s presence responds when we move upon Him with worship. Lifting up Jesus Christ through praise and worship invokes the Lord’s presence and power to flow in our midst.
What is praise?
Since it’s so important to praise the Lord, we should know what it is.
Praise means “to commend, to applaud or magnify.” For the Christian, praise to God is an expression of worship, lifting-up and glorifying the Lord. It is an expression of humbling ourselves and centering our attention upon the Lord with heart-felt expressions of love, adoration and thanksgiving.