Not all Christian Praise Songs are created equal. In fact, there are many so called “Christian Praise Songs” which I would not even consider appropriate to sing in churches today. A few years back, in the 90’s there was a song that people liked to sing which really bothered me tremendously. It was called “I Command Thee Satan”
Here are the lyrics:
I Command Thee Satan
In the Name of the Lord
To Drop Your Weapons and Flee
For the Lord Has Given Us Authority
To Walk All Over Thee
I do realize that we have full authority over Satan so that really does not bother me, what does bother me is that by singing this Christian Praise Song or Chorus, aren’t we singing to Satan?
I believe that if we are to offer Christian Praise it should be actual Praise to God. I can see how we can rejoice in the fact that Satan has no power over us, and it is a very peppy tune and fun to sing, but to sing this song, in my opinion is singing to Satan and I really don’t feel that it should have a place in the church because of that.
I am sure you can think of many Christian Praise Songs, which can be doctrinally sound, but not really appropriate to be singing in church.
But thou art holy, O thou that inhabitest the praises of Israel (kjv) Psalm 22:3
I just finished reading an article on Christian Praise and how it affects non-Christians. It bought back fond memories of when I first attended a Pentecostal Church.
Being bought up in a mainline church in the Montreal area of Canada I was used to singing hymns and nice little songs like “Jesus Loves Me”. This kept me on track when I was a little girl, but when I grew up and came back to God, my relationship with Him was completely different. He was no longer a God somewhere up there in the sky who was watching to see if I was naughty or nice (Kind of like a glorified Santa Claus). This time it was different!
I could feel the presence of Jesus in my life and I knew something inside of me had changed. I decided it was time to go back to church. Sadly, what I found in church was not what I was experiencing in my own one on one time spent with God.
I started to think perhaps I was strange, perhaps I was overly emotional, perhaps, I was somehow wrong. Those around me didn’t get all excited about Jesus like I did. What was wrong with me?
I still continued to go to church as I knew this is what God wanted of me, and I loved learning more and more about the Lord every chance I could get.
Later, I met my husband to be and he was a Pentecostal. He told me about the Pentecostal church and I thought to my self….This sounds very strange to me…I was very leery on going but he finally convinced me to go to a meeting with him and I was totally surprised.
Please don’t get me wrong. I am not saying that mainline church goers are not true worshipers or have no feelings, or that Pentecostals are the only true believers or whatever. I am simply stating that the two churches I had attended were as different as night and day.
That night that I attended the church with my future husband, was a turning point in my life. I realized as I stood there praising God with those around me that there was a presence that I had never felt in a church before. Yes, I had experienced this presence in my own prayer life, but never in a congregation. It was like I was finally home. Finally, I could feel the presence of God amongst those who were worshiping. It was like heaven had come down and the glory of God had filled that auditorium that night.
Since becoming a Christian Worship Leader it has always been my goal to lead those in the congregation to the place where they too can feel the presence of God in the midst of them.
It is only in the presence of our awesome God that people can know, without the shadow of a doubt, that they are in the presence of God.
As Worship Leaders we are like the doorkeepers to the very presence of God. We must lead them gently from the outer courts into the Holy of Holies where they can sense God and the beauty of His Holiness.
The article that I had read, reminded me of the importance of Christian Worship and its effects on the non-Christian, as well as those who were already Christians.
The article was entitled: “Worship and the Visitor,” sadly it is no longer available.
Hopefully this blog post will help you realize the importance of Christian Praise and Worship in our services and will stir up in you a hunger to be in the presence of God.
What is the difference between Christian Praise and Worship?
I do agree that there is a fine line between the two when they can merge together but generally Christian Praise is where we sing about What God has Done For Us, Christian worship is where we sing about Who God Is. We concentrate on His Holiness etc., when we worship God.
If you look through the blog you will see more concisely the difference I make between the two.
To give you another example I would like to show you a couple of praise Bible Scripture Verses that may explain it better.
Our first example is Matthew 21:1-17 also known as “The Triumphal Entry”
Here is the NIV version:
1 As they approached Jerusalem and came to Bethphage on the Mount of Olives, Jesus sent two disciples, 2 saying to them, “Go to the village ahead of you, and at once you will find a donkey tied there, with her colt by her. Untie them and bring them to me. 3 If anyone says anything to you, tell him that the Lord needs them, and he will send them right away.”
4 This took place to fulfill what was spoken through the prophet: 5″Say to the Daughter of Zion, ‘See, your king comes to you, gentle and riding on a donkey, on a colt, the foal of a donkey.’ 6 The disciples went and did as Jesus had instructed them. 7 They brought the donkey and the colt, placed their cloaks on them, and Jesus sat on them. 8 A very large crowd spread their cloaks on the road, while others cut branches from the trees and spread them on the road. 9 The crowds that went ahead of him and those that followed shouted, “Hosanna to the Son of David!” “Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord!” “Hosanna in the highest!”
10 When Jesus entered Jerusalem, the whole city was stirred and asked, “Who is this?”
11The crowds answered, “This is Jesus, the prophet from Nazareth in Galilee.” 12 Jesus entered the temple area and drove out all who were buying and selling there. He overturned the tables of the money changers and the benches of those selling doves. 13 “It is written,” he said to them, ” ‘My house will be called a house of prayer, but you are making it a ‘den of robbers.”
14The blind and the lame came to him at the temple, and he healed them. 15 But when the chief priests and the teachers of the law saw the wonderful things he did and the children shouting in the temple area, “Hosanna to the Son of David,” they were indignant.
17 And he left them and went out of the city to Bethany, where he spent the night.
We see here that the people were shouting “Hosanna” which literally translated means”To Save”. Here was their Savior riding in Jerusalem on a donkey ( there is a lot of significance here about the donkey but I am not writing a book, this is only a blog post).
It was a happy, jubilant time for the crowd. They did not realize that Jesus had come to save them by offering his blood for their sins. They were hoping that he had come to save them and usher in a new kingdom, but that was not to be as they had anticipated.
I want you to notice the air of festivity, the happiness of the crowd, how they took palm branches and placed them in front of him as he passed. They were rejoicing and so should we be rejoicing in Christian Praise as we make mention of all that the Lord has done on our behalf.
The Christian Praise Song “Hosanna in the Highest” shows this the best.
Compare this now with a story of Worship found in Revelation 4:10-11 NIV
10the twenty-four elders fall down before Him who sits on the throne, and worship Him who lives for ever and ever. They lay their crowns before the throne and say: 11“You are worthy, our Lord and God, to receive glory and honor and power, for you created all things, and by your will they were created and have their being.”
Christian Praiseis all about realizing what God has done for us in our lives. It is all too common for us to focus on our struggles and everyday problems and forget to offer Christian Praise to God for His blessings.
Many people, Christian or not, tend to look at life with a very negative slant sometimes. I am sure you know many people like this. They are always complaining about how bad things are. They are so concerned about the way that life is treating them that they miss out on the pleasure of being alive.
Some people are living a life of misery because they forget to look at the things that are going right in their lives. They have trouble taking their eyes off of the problems and obstacles around them.
We all run into obstacles in our lives, this is a part of life. We are not to offer Christian Praise only when things in life are rosy and going well for us.
For some people, life never seems to go well for them. It’s not that life is so harsh, but rather their eyes are focused on the problems and not their blessings. We cannot condemn these people. It is a mindset that they have set themselves up in and it can’t be undone until they realize what they are doing. So don’t condemn these type of people, instead pray for them that the light of God will shine in their hearts that they may be able to see what great things God has done for them.
Negative thinking is a major problem in our society today. The good news is that we have more and more people wanting to get themselves out of their negative mindset and trying to think more positively. Just look around any bookstore and you will see many self-help books based on how to think positively, how to think abundantly. People are realizing, to a greater extent, that there is more to life than what they are experiencing.
Sadly we see multitudes following “The Secret” or Abraham Hicks looking for more to life without realizing that God said that we receive not, because what we ask for is for our own edification and glory. If we seek abundance for selfish reasons we will not receive anything from God. The Good News is that we are promised that if we seek for God’s will, then our prayers and petitions are answered. (James 4:3)(Mathew 7:7-11)
There is some truth to what these people from “The Secret” are teaching, and actually much of it is based on Christian Scripture, but they miss the mark by twisting the scriptures in such a way that all they think about is how can I make my life happier and get the things I want.
It misses the mark because Scripture teaches us that we are not to worry about food, or drink or clothing or any of the things that the world worries about. God has already taken care of that for us, but for those who do not know God, they search for a way out of their problems and end up in these messed up teachings, such as “the Secret” and are being indoctrinated into thinking that they are actually being enlightened.
As I said earlier on, their teachings are partially true. Satan masquerades as an angel of light, trying to persuade people that this is the truth, when in reality it is only partial truth.(2 Corinthians11:14) Jesus is the true light of the world and if we ask, believing, we shall receive from Him.
If we have not, it’s because we are not asking. As we become thankful for what we do have, then we will be given more. It is God’s will that we have an abundant life but we miss out on it because we forget to be thankful for what we do have.(Mark 4:25)
Without challenges, there can be no progress. Without obstacles, there can be no achievement. Be thankful for the opportunities that these provide.
For many people the theme song for their life is “Nobody Knows the Trouble I’ve Seen”. It’s time to change your tune. It’s time to sing another tune in your life. Focus on what God is doing, focus on the good that comes out of the obstacles and challenges, knowing that God loves you and is in control of your life. Let Christian Praise flow out of your heart and up to the throne of God, for He is worthy to be praised in all circumstances.
In Christian Praise, the lyrics to the Christian Song “How Great Thou Art” are very familiar even to those who are non Bible Believing Christians. It is a close runner up with the song “Amazing Grace” and for good reason.
As I have explained in other blog posts, Christian Praise is all about bringing our attention to the great things God has done in our lives. We need to focus on the great things God has done FOR us before we can worship Him for who He is. This is the distinction between Christian Praise and Worship.
Thinking about all of the wonderful things God has done for us and how he has created all good things for us helps us to concentrate on what a wonderful God we serve.
Read the lyrics and listen to the video and see if it doesn’t help you turn your attention away from your problems and onto God who is above all of these daily turmoil’s. Your daily problems will not seem so big when you realize how big your God is.
This song was originally a Swedish folk melody, called “O Store Gud” by Carl Boberg (1859-1940) It was translated in 1899 by Stuart K. Hine.
Here are the lyrics for “How Great Thou Art”
O Lord My God!
When I In Awesome Wonder Consider All The Worlds Thy Hands Have Made,
Christian Praise is a subject that is very close to my heart and so I was curious this morning when I received a message telling me of a certain website which was asking the question: Who Wants All That Music! He said,
“Here’s my question: Who wants 30-40+ minutes of music in worship? Who? Why? I mean…explain this to me. I seriously do not get it.”
My interest was certainly peeked by this question and the answers that followed. It was so peeked that I almost was late for my own Christian Praise and Worship Service and yes, we had about 30 minutes of Christian Praise and Worship and I loved every moment of it.
In reading the responses from many of the people it was clear to me that most do not understand the purpose of spending 30-40 minutes singing in a church service. They do not realize that this is actually a very short period of time.
The Psalmist David said in Psalm 84:1-4
1 How lovely is your dwelling place, O Lord Almighty!
My soul yearns, even faints,for the courts of the Lord; my heart and my flesh cry out
for the living God.
Even the sparrow has found a home,and the swallow a nest for herself,where she may have her young—a place near your altar,O Lord Almighty, my King and my God.
Blessed are those who dwell in your house; they are ever praising you.
Then verse 10 says: Better is one day in your courts than a thousand elsewhere; I would rather be a doorkeeper in the house of my God than dwell in the tents of the wicked.
David loved being in the presence of God. His heart and soul yearns for the courts of the Lord. He says better is one day in your courts than a thousand elsewhere.
Why can’t we be like David, why don’t we all yearn for the presence of God? Where is the presence of God? In the praises of His people! Psalm 22:3
What about Zephania 3:17 that says that God rejoices over us with singing.
What about the fact that the Levites were commissioned to praise God on musical instruments…Do you think they did this for 5 minutes and then gave up?Do you think that the Glory of God would come into our presence without our praises?
Do you think that the worship in the temple lasted only 1 hour so that people could get home to make their roasts for Sunday dinner?
God says to keep the Sabbath and that it is Holy unto Him…We work for 8 hours every day, do we complain about spending time in God’s presence for 30-40 minutes?
I really don’t understand how people are complaining about praising God. Maybe I’m missing something here but I think we need more people like David who wished he could spend more and more time in God’s presence singing Praises to God.
Just in case you wish to read the comments that were made then I will give you the link:
As a Christian Praise and Worship Music leader, I am often asked “What is the best way to lead a Song Service?”. Although, I am sure many of you may not agree with me I always feel that a Christian Song Service should start with Thanksgiving and Christian Praise and then move on to Christian Worship. If you have been reading my blog or ezine articles you will see that I believe that there is a distinct difference between Christian Praise and Christian Worship.
When people walk into the church service they have many things on their minds. They are usually not prepared to jump into Christian Worship right off of the street. I have seen this done in some services and you can tell that the people are trying really hard to worship, but they are just not prepared properly to just jump into it. It is extremely hard for anyone to stop what they have been doing and engage in such an intimate time with God without first getting their heads together.
The Psalmist David said “I will enter His gates with Thanksgiving in my heart; I will enter His courts with Praise.” (Psalm 100:4)
Some of us may not be feeling very happy when we come into song service, although most people will prepare themselves mentally in some respect before church service starts. The problem is that if you are going through hard times, you may come into the song service with a very heavy heart.
If we start our Christian Praise and Worship Services directly with a Christian Worship song such as “I Stand in Awe of You”, many people will not be mentally prepared to commune with God in this way at that moment in time.
But if we start our song service with Christian Praise songs such as “I Will Enter His Gates” or “This is the Day that the Lord Has Made”, they will start to focus in on God and then we can start to lead them slowly, song by song leading up to Christian Worship. Then they will be in the proper state of mind to truly worship God in His Holiness.
You can use these simple steps also in your own private time alone with God to bring yourself from a place of hurriedness to a place where you can worship God in Spirit and Truth. I hope this little post on Christian Praise and Worship Music has helped you.
For those of you who wish to know, Sunday September 20, 2009 was the final gathering of “Prayer in the Square”. This is where Christians from all denomination gather together to offer up Christian Praise and Prayer unto God on behalf of our nation.
Last Year “Prayer in the Square” had around 18000 people but this year a whopping estimate of 60,000 people showed up. Many congregations, such as ours, were not able to make it to Times Square in New York City on Sunday but joined together via the Internet along with many other countries. Wow! I can’t imagine the amount of Christian Praise and Prayer going up on our behalf.
Christian Praise may not seem like the thing you would like to do in a bad situation, but sometimes, singing praises to God is in actuality the Best Thing you can do for yourself.
I already mentioned in another blog post how the purpose of Christian Praise is to benefit us, and not God. It helps us to take our minds off of what is going around us, the things running through our minds and to focus on all that God has done for us.
Sometimes, when we are deep in the mire of bad circumstances Christian Praise can be the last thing on our minds.
I want to share a little story with you about how Christian Praise can turn a bad situation totally around and lift us up out of the miry clay when everything seems to be coming down upon us.
Many years ago, when I was still quite young, I had married a Christian man who seemed to love the Lord. Sadly, I found upon marrying him that he had a terrible problem with alcohol and although I had thought he was over it, he apparently was not. I went through quite a few years of terrible suffering because of the problem and had gotten very discouraged.
At one point in my life, we were going through an unusually bad time with his drinking. I had my two children by then and they were very young. One day, I was sitting at the kitchen table with my cup of tea and wondering why God would have allowed this to happen to me. Why was I suffering so? What had I done to deserve this? (I am sure you know the despair and depression we can get ourselves into just thinking upon all of the problems we have).
My 2 year old daughter was sitting on the kitchen floor with her doll brush in her hand and was trying to give the cat a new hairdo. The cat didn’t mind at all and was use to her playing with her like this. So there I was trying to keep back the tears and she was blissfully brushing the cat’s hair. How innocent she was, blissfully unaware of the problems in life.
All of a sudden, I heard her sweet little voice quietly start to sing as she continued to brush the cat’s hair. She was singing a very old Christian Praise song that I hadn’t sung in ages. There she was, like a little angel with her little voice singing the chorus of “At the Cross”
In case you don’t know the song, the words to the chorus are here;
At The Cross
At the cross, at the cross
Where I first saw the light
And the burdens of my heart rolled away
It was there by faith
I received my sight
And now I am happy all the day
She kept singing it over and over again and I realized that God was right there in that very room with us. He was telling me not to look at the problems but to keep my eyes on Him. Just like when I had first became a Christian and realized what God had done for me, the feelings of faith and love strengthened me again and I could truly say that I became Happy. I realized that I had taken my eyes off of Jesus and was focused on my problems. It took my little child to remind me that my problems aren’t so big after all. When I think about the cross and all that God had done for me my burdens surely roll away.
I will never forget that day (and I took the picture above to help remind me). I thank God that I had the problems because once I realized how big God is and how much He loved me, I was able to take courage and realize that loving God was all that was important. I just needed to love God, and be a good mom to my children. That was all that was expected of me. What a happy day that was.
The bible tells us in Matthew 21:16“Do you hear what these children are saying?” they asked him. “Yes,” replied Jesus, “have you never read, “‘From the lips of children and infants you have ordained praise’?”
Christian Praise will flood your soul when you take your eyes off of your problems and focus on God and all that He has done for you.
Christian Praise is something that we do to benefit us. Yes, I know this sounds kind of selfish but the truth of the matter is that God admonishes us to Praise Him, not because He needs it but because we need it.
Sadly, some people get confused and think that it is their duty to offer Christian Praise to God. It is as if it is on their “to do list” of things that we must do to be a good Christian.
Other things on that “to do list” are:
Going to Church on Sunday
Being Polite to Others
We feel that by being a good little Christian this will somehow earn us brownie points in heaven. How foolish people can be!
Think about it:
Why would God need us to praise Him, or to show up for church on Sunday or to Pray or any other religious duty we feel we may need to do?
This kind of thinking stems from old pharisaic legalism that has nothing to do with our true Christian Worship. All of these things are to do with what God wants to do for us and in us to benefit our lives.
Sadly, many people think that if they do things such as praising the Lord, or showing up for Church on Sunday or praying etc., that then they will win favors with God. They think because of their so called “devotion”, God will allow them certain things, and do things for them, because somehow they have proved themselves worthy.
I Want to Make This Point Very, Very Clear:
You Will Never be Worthy Enough in God’s Eyes
To Receive Anything from God
Based on Anything that You DO!
We receive from God and are blessed by God, Because of What He Did for us.
He sent His one and only Son, Jesus, to die for us and become the appropriation for our sins. It is because of Christ’s death and Christ’s death alone, that makes us worthy.
He is our Righteousness. When God looks at us He sees the Righteousness of Christ, not because of works that we have done but because of who we belong to. We are heirs with God and Joint heirs with Christ. (Romans 8:17)
Titus 3:5 (kjv) Not by works of righteousness which we have done, but according to his mercy he saved us, by the washing of regeneration, and renewing of the Holy Ghost.
Romans 5:8 (esv) But God shows his love for us in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us.
Christian Praise then is a vehicle in which we draw nigh to God. It is a remembrance of all that God has done for us and in us. As we spend time in God’s presence and wait upon Him it is there that we gain the strength and comfort that is needed in our daily lives.
Christian Praise is for our Benefit and not for God’s.
God is not Some Self-indulgent Entity
that Requires that we pay Homage to Him.
He is not like the gods of the heathen that need alms and praise to appease Him.
God loves us just the way we are. He looks beyond our faults and sees the blood of Christ which covers a multitude of sins. He sees us as His children and lovingly reaches down his hands in love to help us.
God is deserving of our praise, but he certainly doesn’t need it.
Christian Praise is something we should do on a daily basis, not because God needs it, but because we do.
Isaiah 40:31 says “They that wait upon the Lord, shall renew their strength, they shall mount up with wings as eagles. They shall run and not be weary they shall walk and not faint. “
Here is one of my favorite songs. It’s a beautiful song based on Isaiah 40:31 “On Eagle’s Wings”