Ephesians 5: 18-20 “…Instead be filled with the Spirit. Speak to one another with psalms, hymns and Spiritual songs. Sing and make music in your heart to the Lord, always giving thanks to God the Father for everything, in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ.”
Recently I attached it to my mirror so I could read it more often but I have kept this slip of a bookmark with the above verse on one side and then these inspiring words by Ralph Carmicheal.
“Worship is vital to every believer’s relationship with God. Through my lifetime, I have never ceased to be amazed at how praise and worship music can be so life- changing for people of all ages and backgrounds. How wonderful to honor God with these timeless hymns!”
My heart couldn’t agree more… I love Praising and Worshiping God. My love for it goes so far back to my days of struggling to sing Luganda songs in primary school at Namugongo girls- Anyone remember the book “Mujje tutendereze omukama?” I still have my copy from P.3… old but still has all the songs! Sadly, the ‘choir thing’ didn’t me… I’m still puzzled… but that didn’t stop me from trying. I recall sitting behind/besides the choir with my friends Noella or Erone just so we could score some left over music sheets and sing along specially to new songs… and when it came to choruses we knew, the Gloria… we would sing loooooud to ‘praise God Alleluia!!!!’… I think that how we learned to sing in tenor) with our hands swinging our dresses to clap.
Then singing in Holy childhood missions to the theme song “let the children come to me…let the little ones come to me!” I was pretty convinced that an invisible Jesus was standing in our midst with arms wide open also wishing we could see him and run to Him. I honestly loved it. Many thanks to the late Mrs. Kawalya and Ms. Agatha for teaching me that God loves me. Then watching how the nuns humbled themselves as they went to receive the Holy Eucharist. I just wanted to emulate them because of how serious they took their interactions with God. It is now that I get it!
In Maryhill my love for it just blew up to the extent that I had the Anglicans convinced I was Anglican since apart from the daily service, I attended the Charismatic Renewal prayer group and scripture union meetings. With our voices lifted up praising and worshiping God, I was home. I think that’s what king David meant when he said that he would rather be a gatekeeper in the Lord house than flourish in the house of the wicked… it was because for him, the Lord presence was HOME.
Another of my fondest memories is singing ‘Catholic Hymns with my mum on weekend mornings. I suspect the neighbors below are used to the sounds of ‘ I cannot come to the banquet!!!’ Or maybe ‘Lord of the dance’ which are our top favorites (She’s also a Maryhill OG). Nowadays I also sing along with my workmate Maureen who seems to know lyrics to all gospel songs and hymns unlike me! Cramming lyrics, to my chagrin, has always been a hard thing for me.
For many reasons I can’t explain right now my interactions with praise and worship later trickled down to the basic Sunday service either do to environment, life style choices and plain laziness. But that’s a thing of the past for me thank God! I started to compose songs once again which hopefully you’ll hear in the near future. Communing once again, more frequently, in the Lord presence is a pleasure like no other and these are the reasons why.
(i) I sync with the Lord (ii) I realize my value and purpose (iii) I reestablish and reaffirm my place with God (iv) I interact with God’s family (v) I experience healing (vi) I become apart from worldliness and its effects (vii) I learn differently in a better way (viii) I am empowered and grow bigger. (ix) I am nourished (x) I unlearn wrong notions (xi) I sing tenor once again (xii) I get pruned (xiii) I breath again (xiv) I am reminded of God’s abounding love (xv) I am rebuked and corrected (xvi) I am reconciled with My Lord once again
I want to give you a millions breakdowns for each of the above points but I might write 69 pages… Praising and worshipping God is a privilege. And you know everyone loves a privilege, right? It is an extension of Word of God in a sweet sounding tune… the sword of the Spirit… and therefore vital for spiritual warfare, for taking down giants. The Israelites took down many enemies with praise to the mighty Lord who then fought their battles. Remember the walls of Jericho in Joshua 6: 1-20. Also in another battle, as long as Moses arms were raised in worship the Israelites won the battle (Exodus 17:8-15… also see 2 Corinthians 10:4-5). Never forget that obedience is key in worship, for sometimes as we worship we receive instruction for our battles from God.
Consider physical acts of worship in obeying God’s commands and doing the right thing as a human being that is Living your purpose and being a good steward of your gifts and using them appropriately. This delights the Lord a great deal. When a creation is rightly used for the purpose it was created, it brings honor to the creator however small. My Mummy, once, many years ago, told me that when I clean the house and it’s so fresh and clean that when God passes by He enjoys it and he stays longer ha-ha… Honestly I think about that each time I’m tempted to leave my bed unmade! Am like what if God visits and has nowhere to sit. I know its funny thought I think of it as one of those instance where kids do stuff to please their parents and God is one of mine.
Fasting is also a physical act of worship that certainly gets God’s attention. When we fast we are separating ourselves from worldliness and connecting with God in the Spirit… and as you probably know “God is a Spirit and must be worshipped in Spirit and in truth.” So take time to fast just as Worship! Relate with Him in his nature and thus gain better understanding of His will. (Romans 12: 1-2). Compare it to the habit of how some orators resort to a local dialect when trying to explain a difficult concept to their audience.
And now to the truth part… Praise and worship requires sincerity. It should be genuine… for His glory not ours. Yes, there’s always that awesome praise song that gets you hyped up and all, however never forget yourself that you end up glorifying yourself or lost in the ‘euphoria’ of the music. At that point the authenticity of praise and worship is lost. The message and connection with the Almighty gets tempered with and as a result we’re no longer nourished but pride takes its place. This primarily led to Satan’s fall. So always seek to be true in you praise and worship. Use your gifts responsibly and watch that other people’s praise does not get to your head. It’s not time to compete! Jesus also reminds us to further pray/ worship in private and the Lord who sees you shall reward you. It is God’s applaud we should seek, not man’s.
Offer a worthy sacrifice to the Lord. I personally appreciate well thought out gifts…they are warming to the heart and endear one to the giver… unlike those gifts that are seem random or make you feel like the giver doesn’t know you at all it almost or actually hurts!!! Well, it’s the same with God. He requires a worthy sacrifice from us. Back in the day there were specific requirements or offerings for sacrifice and God severally spelled out that he found detestable defective animals offered to him (Deuteronomy 17:1). It is for the same reason Cain’s sacrifice was found wanting yet Abel’s was accepted. Abel offered the first fruits of his labor in thanksgiving and the Lord was pleased with him! (Genesis 4:1-7). Thank God that in Jesus Christ we now have the perfect acceptable sacrifice however God still requires from us a broken and contrite heart (Psalm 51:16-17).
Lastly the pleasure in praising and worshiping God with like-minded people is amazing! The genuineness in the interactions, the familiarity of belief, the speech is like a balm to one’s soul. They speak in psalms seriously, build you and teach you how to praise and worship God. Being part of Charismatic prayer group is truly a life changing experience for me. Glory be to the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit. Always.