The Transforming Power of Praise
Singing praise to God and declaring His mighty works is not just a subject the Book of Psalms addresses. We are often commanded to do so throughout the pages of the New Testament. Philippians 4:4 commands us to "rejoice always." Hebrews 13:15 tells us to "continually offer up a sacrifice of praise to God." Paul speaks of singing praises with both his spirit and mind in 1 Corinthians 14. These examples are just the tip of the iceberg. The New Testament is constantly calling upon us to sing praises and declare the goodness of God. Just in case we forget, which we do, it seems as if the New Testament writers are determined to make sure believers know they are commanded to sing the praises of the God who rescued them from sin, death, and destruction.
Our praise of God does not make Him more powerful, glorious, praise-worthy, or magnificent. He is already all-powerful, all-glorious, worthy of praise, and altogether magnificent. That's just who He is-nothing can change or hinder that. But it does have an effect on Him. It pleases Him. God delights in the praise of His children; He enjoys it. Psalm 149:4 states that God "takes pleasure in His people" and Psalm 22:3 paints a picture of God triumphantly and beautifully being "enthroned" on the praises of His people.
This matters, first and foremost, because we should desire to act in such a way that pleases God. So, if offering up praise to God pleases Him, we should be quick to declare His goodness. But it also matters in another way. Praising God powerfully benefits our own souls. When God is pleased, things happen! God desires and loves to act on the behalf of His people when they exalt Him in worship. Our praise of God often brings God's power and goodness, which is much-needed, flooding into our hearts, souls, and minds.
The Power of Praise
When we worship, things happen. Distant truths become powerful and present realities, the powers of darkness are driven away, and many other benefits can come from declaring God's praises.
The power to endure. When we worship God in the midst of our trials, He releases a supernatural power into our hearts that enables us to persevere. He may even deliver us from the difficult situation, but if not, He will always supply the strength needed to go forward full of hope and joy.
Trust. Praising God helps us trust Him for the fulfillment of His promises in the future. It reminds us that He promises to provide. Declaring God's praises brings to mind how He has been faithful in the past and points our focus towards God's unchanging character and nature. Praise awakens a sense of confidence in the truths of the gospel and God's Word.
Sanctification. Praise accelerates and aids our sanctification. When our hearts, minds, and lips are fixed on the goodness and greatness of God, the power of sin loses its grip on our hearts. This doesn't mean spiritual growth will be easy and pain-free, but when we are consumed with God and His promises to us in Christ, earthly problems and temptations become less significant.
Transforming. In the midst of praising God, believers often find God's Spirit doing a transforming work. The presence of God can transform stingy people into generous givers, melt away bitterness, help our hearts release hurts, and transform passion-less believers into fervent disciples full of zeal. All these things, and many more, can happen when we get our eyes off of ourselves and onto the Lord.
The Word of God. Praise helps us receive and obey the Word of God. It prepares our hearts, tilling up the stony ground that is often found there. When we offer praise to God, hearts that are filled with distractions and the cares of this world are enabled to rightly receive the Word of God. Through praise the Holy Spirit transforms stony ground into fertile soil. When we find joy in the presence of God, there is a eagerness to joyfully submit to and obey God's Word.
Praise the LORD! Praise God in his sanctuary; praise him in his mighty heavens! (2) Praise him for his mighty deeds; praise him according to his excellent greatness! (3) Praise him with trumpet sound; praise him with lute and harp! (4) Praise him with tambourine and dance; praise him with strings and pipe! (5) Praise him with sounding cymbals; praise him with loud clashing cymbals! (6) Let everything that has breath praise the LORD! Praise the LORD!