Aspects that afect praise and worship

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ASPECTS THAT INFLUENCE PRAISE IN A MEETING

aspects that affect worshipWhen a car engine is not properly starting, you do not solve the problem by checking the air pressure in the tires. God’s ways are just as defined as any scientific or mechanical law. There must be a specific reason why a meeting is going well and why another meeting fails to flow. We will list some principles that affect praise and worship in meetings, whether positive or negative.

1.    Prayer

The worship leader, the musicians and other leaders have come to the meeting already having prayed sufficiently. If we want to have a powerful meeting with praise that flows well, we must pay the price in prayer before the meeting.

2.   Faith and dependence

When the leaders possess sufficient faith to enter into the emphasis that the Spirit wants to bring, there is complete dependence and the abandonment of all self-confidence, then there will be an adequate atmosphere for God to act.

3.   Choice of adequate songs

This is important because, if we randomly choose songs for worship, there will be no emphasis in the meeting. However, if we adequately choose them, according to the emphasis that the Holy Spirit wants to bring, then this choice will influence the level of praise.

4.   Spend time with God

If we are willing to spend time ministering before God, then we can expect to see great manifestations of his presence.

5.   New leader

The people may not yet feel accustomed to the worship leader and as a result, they do not feel secure. If the people feel insecure, they will not correspond and consequently this insecurity will affect the level of praise.

6.   Location

When there are few people in a large physical building, there is a sensation of dispersion, of attention as well as expression. We must encourage the people to move closer to each other in order to have more flow in worship.

7.   Tone of the music

When the music is in a key that is too high, the people have a hard time singing. This disperses attention and disrupts praise

8.   Tiredness

In midweek meetings, many people arrive tired after a long day of work. Under these circumstances, sometimes it is good for them to remain seated, so that they can better respond to worship and praise. If we deny them this, we will be harming the meeting.

9.   Too many distractions

If the people are seated when they should be standing or if there is a lack of attention in the atmosphere, this must be corrected, otherwise, we will not be able to lead the people anywhere.

CONCLUSION

The refinement of the ability to lead praise takes years to accomplish, therefore be patient with yourself and with the musicians with whom you are working who also commit mistakes. God allows a lot of room for our mistakes. No meeting is lost because we were unable to attain the ideal. We must learn to recuperate in the midst of mistakes and learn from them so that we can avoid making the same mistakes in the future. It should be obvious that the devotional life of the praise leader is of highest importance in order to move in the level of the spirit. It is not necessary to see these directions as methods to lead people into the spiritual dimension, but merely as some tips to help us be more sensitive to the Holy Spirit. We can only give that which we ourselves have; therefore, the worship leader must spend a lot of time in prayer and preparation just as the person who ministers the Word.

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Instruction to Worship leaders

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General instructions for worship leaders

instruction for worship leadersUse a system of signs to lead and direct the musicians. Wherever there is more than one worship leader, the system of signs must be uniform to avoid confusion. These signs are useful for raising or lowering the volume, increasing or decreasing the rhythm, returning to the beginning of the song, repeating the song, changing the key, preparing to enter worship, do not stop abruptly but end gradually.

Lead the people, don’t simply announce the next song

Sing in a loud voice demonstrating visible confidence. The anointing is on the voice of the leader that encourages the others to join him. At the beginning of the verse, sing ahead of the people for a fraction of a second to give assurance to the congregation and to the musicians.

Maintain control of the praise

Do not lose yourself in your own worship or you will not be leading. Keep your eyes open and your external attention on the people at the same time and maintain your internal spiritual receptivity. As was already mentioned, this is learned over time and through experience. Make sure that the people are following you and believe that God is able to lead them into worship.

Avoid exhorting the people to be more expressive

The sheep can only be led and not pushed or forced; otherwise, those who lead worship will only reinforce their religiosity, causing them to respond exteriorly. The worship leader must find the key to guiding them to God so that the response that they give comes from the inside. Avoid songs with actions that obligate external responses when there is no flow of praise. You must be sensitive to the moment and wisely choose when and if to use songs with movements.

Know which direction you are going

In order to lead people, those who minister praise and worship must discern God’s direction in a meeting. Just as a pilot of a sailboat, the leader must discover the direction that the winds of the spirit are blowing. The worship leader must discern the direction that the Spirit is moving and trim the sails accordingly. If the boat is not moving, then the leader knows that he or she has committed an error in judging the direction of the spirit. At least he has discovered the direction that the spirit is not leading. What we mean by referring to direction is the emphasis that the Spirit gives in a certain meeting.

Consider the type of meeting that you are leading

It is important to consider the type of people who are participating in the meeting: whether it is the customary group, a marriage ceremony, many visitors, etc. In each specific meeting, the leader must follow an adequate direction.

Changing direction

You will become accustomed to things working well for a certain amount of time, while the Lord is leading the church in a certain emphasis, but one day the Lord will begin to lead in a different direction and you may get in the way. If this happens, continue seeking the Spirit and he will lead you and establish you again.

Don’t preach sermons or make comments after each song

Sometimes this is appropriate, especially when the people need their attention directed to what they are singing; but this is more of an exception than the rule.

When to teach a new song

There are times for teaching a new song, but it is certainly not at the beginning of the meeting. Only after the meeting has overcome its difficulties is it convenient to teach a new song. It is also not a good idea to teach more than one new song in the same meeting or a new song in every meeting.

Don’t overly use the same song

If you use the same songs week after week, they will lose their freshness and meaning to those who come to worship. Later, you can return to these same songs, but seek to continually introduce new and different worship songs. There are hundreds of good songs; there is no need to sing the same one every meeting.

Use silence effectively

In all deep worship music, there are moments of silence. There will be times when total silence is desirable. Lead the church in worship with no instrument playing, in a quiet and expectant atmosphere of His presence (Hebrews 2:20; Zechariah 2:13; Revelation 8:1).

It is better not to reveal the mechanics of leading praise in front of the congregation, such as we are doing here. This will only attract attention to the leader. Avoid saying things like: “I feel…” or “I saw in a vision” to lead a meeting. Simply follow the direction that you feel or hear to accomplish what God want you to do.

How to lead a worship meeting

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how to lead a worhsip meetingThe best way to learn how to lead praise and worship is to serve under another person who has more musical leadership ability than you do. Simply because a person has been designated as a praise and worship leader does not mean that the person is sensitive to the Holy Spirit and is able to immediately sense the direction that the Spirit moves within a worship meeting. Above all, minister in submission to your pastor or to any leader that is more sensitive to the move of the Spirit than you are. Worship meetings generally follow a “bell” pattern in spiritual intensity and depending on your leadership ability in worship you should do everything necessary to stretch out the level of spiritual intensity.

It is not enough to be submissive to your leader, it is also necessary to minister in unity. It is much more important to maintain unity among the leadership in a meeting than to insist on doing something merely because it is the correct way to do things. Discord in the leadership quenches the Spirit and renders our best efforts useless.

Before commenting about the rules for the worship leader, it is important to say that they are merely general comments and not rigid principles without exceptions. Occasionally the Lord works outside of the ordinary and the customary, but such occasions are an exception and not the rule.

Remember that the majority of the following points represent the ideal. God allows a lot of room for errors. The worship service will not fail just because we have not exactly reached our goals and objectives through the meeting.

Begin the meeting

Begin with light songs – begin with something light (preferably something that the musicians already know how to play). Have the musicians play songs that give light and joyful testimonies (concerning God but not to or for Him yet). While the people are entering into the church building, even if there is not yet an atmosphere of faith, there must at least be an atmosphere of hope. Unless the people have hope, they cannot attain faith. One thing is certain; stay away from devotional songs or songs that call for consecration in the beginning.

Use well-known songs – always begin with songs that everyone knows. Few things destroy a meeting from the start like choosing a song that the people do not know.

Begin where the people are spiritually – maybe you have already prayed sufficiently and are ready to enter into praise, but the people may not be. Move slowly until the majority of people are with you.

Start on the right musical note – the correct key of the song is necessary so that the congregation can sing in the best manner. Make sure that the musicians are already playing in the key that you want to use for the song that you plan to use to begin the meeting. In morning meetings, it is better to sing songs in a lower than usual key. In the morning, people’s voices not yet warmed up and it is hard to reach the higher notes.

Do not be mystical concerning the right song to begin the meeting with – the majority of people will not be able to remember what the first song of the meeting was anyway. The beginning of the meeting is the period of involvement and the first three songs should serve only to get the people to think of God. Maybe you feel that the Lord has given you a song, but it is better to use it later or you will waste it. Look for songs with the emphasis that you feel the Lord wants to stress for a given meeting.

The climax of the meetings

If we try to lead the people into spiritual songs too early in the meeting, the atmosphere will become sentimental and melancholic, on the level of the soul (natural level). The spiritual atmosphere becomes heavy and weaker brothers can even feel condemned because they want to respond but are not able to. Some try to please the worship leader by making movements as if they were worshiping but this just encourages religiosity.

What are spiritual songs? The answer is a full, interior response of the worshiper inspired by the Holy Spirit (Ephesians 5:19). Spiritual songs are expressions of pure love offered in fresh spontaneity (Psalms 149:6; 66:17; Revelation 5:9).

As the meeting progresses, our whole being pours forth thanksgiving. At the end of the song, the leader will lead the group in a spontaneous expression of worship and praise in the spirit, a spiritual song to him who is worthy. If the leader is singing with a microphone, it is important that he sing the song in an intelligible tongue. In the Holy Spirit, each person should independently try to harmonize and mix the musical keys with the worship and praise of the rest of the church.

This new song can eventually appear (sometimes prophetically) through an individual, when the congregational singing diminishes in intensity. After this free and spontaneous expression, it is renewed for the whole church now that the individual spiritual song ends.

Get to know the songs that produce such a climax – not all songs are conducive to spiritual songs. Get to know which songs lead to the climax of worship and perfect them. Try to vary the songs in the meetings and have different songs for each type of emphasis.

Proceed slowly until reaching the high point of praise – reduce the rhythm a little before leading the congregation to exalted praise. This attitude serves as a subtle sign without words to the congregation and to the musicians.

Intensify the refrain – sometimes you can repeat the refrain or use the refrain from another song.

Learn to feel the culminating moment – there are correct moments for elevated praise. In order to find them you must be sensitive. If you wait too long, singing too many times, you can lose the intensity that you could have reached. However, if you do not sing long enough, the praise will not reach the intensity that it could have otherwise reached.

How to lead worship

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Principles for praise and worship leaders

Each worship service is an encounter with God

how to lead worshipThe principal purpose of every worship service is to encounter God and not to meet with each other, or even to have our needs met. In light of this, we must not consider praise and worship as simply preparation for the ministry of the Word, but a means by which a congregation can approach God. Through music, we elevate the level of faith in the people allowing them to become more sensitive to God. As this happens, we establish an appropriate atmosphere for the reception of the ministry of the Word and prayer for the needs of the people.

We must remember that we go to a worship service to praise God and adore Him. The more that a congregation shares such perception, the more glorious the praise and deeper the worship will be.

The normal flow of praise in a worship service

In a church meeting or worship service, the people generally go through three distinct phases of relationship and fellowship with God. The tabernacle of Moses graphically illustrates this:

  1. Outer court – songs that testify to what God has done for us
  2. Holy place – songs of praise, of exaltation to God for who He is
  3. Holy of holies – songs of worship, exaltation, attitude of brokenness, spiritual songs.

God’s purpose is for everyone to enter into the holy of holies in every meeting, but frequently a large part of the congregation never reaches this place of worship.

As we have observed, the worship service in a meeting follows a normal pattern or a specific order: involvement, praise and worship. Because of this, the worship leader should have a list of songs subdivided by topics, by musical notes and by alphabetical order. These subdivisions help us to choose an adequate song for each moment of praise.

A basic subdivision for a topical index could be:

  • Testimony / praise – Sing to the Lord (Psalm 96)
  • Worship – To the one who is seated
  • Victory – I will celebrate
  • Love – What I most desire
  • Faith – We are overcomers
  • Spiritual warfare – He has broken the chains
  • Consecration – Here I am Lord

Praise and worship leadership as an art

Leading worship is an art, this means that it is not a mere mechanical or psychological exercise (this is exactly what we want to avoid since we run the risk of leading worship in such a manner that it becomes mechanical and lifeless). It is important to recognize that leading worship is an art that we can perfect. Learning all of the techniques of painting does not make a person an artist, but the mastering of these techniques gives the person that possesses artistic talent the full expression of his inspiration. The perfection of the techniques for leading praise will allow us to be channels of the greatest master of the expression of inspiration of all time . . . the Holy Spirit whom God has given us.

Needs of the praise and worship leader

Wisdom, knowledge and anointing in the spirit, are among the principal and necessary characteristics that worship leaders must cultivate. Merely one of them will not be sufficient. Knowledge is the sensibility or discernment of a spiritual condition. However, wisdom is the knowledge of how to act in a specific situation, which comes from the knowledge of the principles through which God acts. Perhaps a worship leader knows all of the principles, but if he does not know how to discern the situation, he will not know which principle he must apply. In general, we learn both wisdom and knowledge through years of experience. It is important that we understand that the enemy will attack us in specific areas and it is up to us to discern his activity, and which songs will emphasize the truths that will lead the people to freedom.

Besides wisdom and knowledge, the worship leader and the musicians must be people filled with the Spirit in order to fulfill the purpose of God for the meeting (Ephesians 5:18-20). The following are some examples of targets of attack and the songs that stimulate faith to counteract the attack:

  • Accusation – Songs of Confess of sins
  • Insecurity – He that abides in the shadow of the Almighty
  • Problems – I believe all things are possible
  • Discouragement – Awake for the Lord is coming
  • Religiosity – Cause me to come to your rivers oh Lord
  • Ungrateful spirit – I will enter your gates with thanksgiving
  • Mercy – Examine my paths
  •  Condemnation – By faith we have peace

We should never forget that our objective in praise is to enter into the holy of holies, in worship. As we emphasize some songs over others at specific times, we will help free those who struggle with bondage producing the faith necessary to approach God effectively. We must avoid all possible distractions. There are too many distractions in our fellowship with God. All of us are easily distracted and we should not increase this by calling attention to ourselves. We should not make comments such as “brothers and sisters, I feel an evil spirit attacking our meeting”. If you perceive this, go on the offense and attack the enemy, but you do not need to say this in front of everybody. Lead the people in songs that counteract the enemy, and do this wisely.

The wisest manner of doing this is the smoothest way possible: in the song transition, the transition of musical notes, and the transition of the order of service, etc. to reach the maximum flow of the spirit. In other words, keep yourself away from the center of attention as much as possible so that the attention is always focused on the Lord in order to maintain the flow of praise and worship in his direction since he is worthy of our full admiration and attention.

Barriers to worship and praise

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8 Barriers to worship and praise

barriers to worshipMany Christians struggle with diverse barriers to worship and praise. These believers offer many excuses and put forth great effort in explaining the reason why they fail to adequately worship and praise the Lord. Some people try to excuse themselves based on their natural tendencies or temperament. They claim that they are shy, that they are not naturally “expressive” or that they do not like to demonstrate their feelings.

The truth is that the Bible does not exempt anyone for any of these reasons. David said:

Let everything that has breath praise the LORD. Praise the LORD! (Psalm 150:6).

If you have breath, then you must praise the Lord!

The dead do not praise the LORD, Nor any who go down into silence. (Psalm 115:17)

Many believers encounter difficult barriers to worship and praise, but God wants us to deal with each one of them. We must not accept any of them as valid reasons for failing to offer adequate praise to God. Some of the most common and difficult barriers to praise include the following:

Sin

Sin is perhaps the greatest barrier to praise and the basic reason why many new converts fail to praise God. It is also the reason why some mature Christians experience the same difficulty. Un-confessed sin inhibits us in God’s presence. We do not feel at ease or free in the presence of God if we are conscious of any sin that we have not yet dealt with in our lives. David said:

If I regard iniquity in my heart, The Lord will not hear. (Psalm 66:18)

Sin and iniquity separate us from God (Isaiah 59:2); it will cause us to lose the fellowship that we may have enjoyed before. The perception that we have sin in our lives binds our tongues before the Lord. The only thing that we really feel free to speak of in these circumstances is confession of our sin.

There is an obvious answer to the problem of this barrier: sincerely confess your sin to God and accept His forgiveness and purification so that a correct relationship can be restored and the flow of praise can once again be released (1 John 1:9).

Condemnation

Even though the Lord has forgiven us, we do not always accept this forgiveness completely or succeed in forgiving ourselves. Many Christians live in condemnation. Even though God has graciously forgiven them, they cannot forgive themselves, which in general is the result of feelings of unworthiness. The freedom to worship has been blocked. The sensation of the presence of God tends to make them more conscious of their unworthiness than of His mercy and grace which has been freely granted to all of us.

Generally, this attitude develops when someone becomes overly conscious of himself, instead of being conscious of God. If we are constantly weighing our hearts with a negative attitude, always searching for weaknesses and guilt, it is obvious that we will find them. Nobody is perfect. This ultra-critical self-examination is extremely unhealthy. It always focuses its attention on the ego and not on Jesus.

The Bible exhorts us to “look to Jesus the author and finisher of our faith” (Hebrews 12:2). This involves at least two things:

In the first place, the more we look to Jesus, the more we think of Him, meditate on Him, and occupy our thoughts with Him, the more we desire to praise him. Praise begins as we look to Jesus and as we continue to contemplate him our admiration and appreciation for Him will continually grow and our awareness of his value will increase thus promoting more thoughts of praise and worship to him.

Worldliness

Oliver Cromwell once defined worldliness as “anything that chills our affection for Jesus Christ”. Worldliness is the opposite of spirituality; it is the predominant condition when we centralize our minds and thoughts on the things of this world instead of on the things of God and his kingdom.

People with worldly minds think that the praise of God is extremely embarrassing and offends their carnal feelings and dignity. The cure for this problem is to become more and more focused on Christ. In the measure that our consciousness and appreciation for Him increases, worldliness will decrease proportionately.

One of the symptoms of worldliness is the obsession of maintaining “dignity and decency”, an excessive consciousness “of what people will think”, or too much concern over what people’s reactions might be. Our first interest as Christians is to please the Lord, which will not always be agreeable to the carnal man. If we are too concerned about pleasing man and gaining his approval, we will certainly run the risk of displeasing God.

A wrong concept of God

A wrong concept of God is a strong barrier to praise. Many have a completely negative vision of God. They see Him as someone who is constantly trying to catch them in some fault in order to condemn them, someone who is against everything that they do. They think that there is little chance of pleasing Him and of enjoying His approval. They see God as a boogeyman, someone determined to prevent people from having any fun. How can anyone think of praising a God like that?

Praise begins to rise up in our hearts only when we receive the correct concept of God. The Holy Spirit must show Himself to us as He really is. The reading of the Word of God is a marvelous cure for the wrong concepts we have of God, but this only happens when we are open and permit the Holy Spirit to reveal the truth to us. Many people read the Bible with their minds closed to the truth. A true consciousness of God, of whom and what He is, will certainly lead us to praise and worship.

Religious traditions

In the days of Christ, many people allowed the vain traditions of man to invalidate the Word of God (Matthew 15:6). Unfortunately, many people do the same thing today. Many Christians who grew up in Christian traditions disproved of praise and worship, since traditions condemn praise as a mere manifestation of emotions.

Remember, “Religion oppresses, but redemption liberates”. In general, those who have been imprisoned by the traditions of men also have wrong concepts of God. To them, God is extremely negative, severe, totally devoid of emotion and a deity that prohibits everything.

Those who believe in a god like this become people with these same characteristics. The cure for this condition is to have the courage to expose human traditions boldly with the Word of God and an open heart and mind. Whenever the Holy Spirit reveals the errors of tradition, we should be willing to abandon them and embrace the Word of God in their place.

Pride

This is a difficult problem to deal with because of the lack of willingness to recognize pride in our own hearts. Our own selfishness does not allow us to do this! God however can break this type of pride and free the imprisoned.

Pride refers to the concern with self-image, the constant desire to maintain a good reputation, to be seen doing what is considered right and appropriate.

Fear of man

Proverbs 29:25 tells us that the fear of man is a trap. The fear of man, his thoughts and opinions creates a dangerous trap that imprisons many.

The fear of the Lord is the beginning of knowledge (Proverbs 9:10).

If we truly reverence the Lord, we will never have to fear man. One of the things that we most fear is the rejection of others. The great majority of people have a great fear of being ridiculed and the despised by others. When we praise the Lord, we must have within us the same spirit that David had when he brought the Ark of the Covenant to Jerusalem. He danced and gave praise to the Lord with all of his strength without being concerned with the opinions of others (2 Samuel 6:12-22). We cannot live like slaves to the expectations of others, seeking to please them all of the time. We must seek to please God first.

We should always seek to please the Lord in all things, and logically we must praise Him in order to do this. If others do not like this, it is their problem. Never allow man’s opinions to get in the way or hinder your desire and intention to give God the praise that is due Him.

Satanic repression

The most serious barrier to praise is a satanically inspired repression of it. It is difficult to understand the deep hate that Satan has towards God and how much he hates it when people praise the Lord.

Satan’s fall was due to his deep jealousy of God. In his pride, he sought to be greater than God was. He burns with irrational envy whenever we praise and exalt God. Therefore, he tries to discourage and suppress all praise of this type.

When someone is under the direct control of Satan or one of his demons, the person can hardly even speak the name of Jesus. When encouraged to do so, their throat becomes paralyzed and they simply cannot speak the words. When someone mentions the name of Jesus in the presence of such people, the demons within them become furious. Satan always reacts negatively at the simple mention of this name. Sometimes his victims foam at the mouth, begin to convulse, rail and blaspheme, so violent is this reaction to the praise of God or Jesus.

Conclusion

Whenever the Christian becomes aware of any aversion to praise, he should make a sincere examination of his heart. We must ask God in prayer to reveal the nature of our problem and whatever restricts or blocks the flow of praise. After we discover the problem, we must repent and abandon the cause of the interference. Then we need to direct our heart in obedience to God and give praises to Him.

If the flow of praise still seems impossible, we should seek the help of a spiritually mature and sensitive brother or sister in Christ. There may be satanic repression in some of us that must be broken. Until we take care of this, we will never be able to serve God adequately.

The inability to praise and worship God indicates rebellion in some area. Obviously, we must deal with the problems that such rebellion causes in order to release the flow of praise and worship in the lives of believers with this difficulty. We must continue to seek God until we get the victory overcoming all barriers to worship and praise and until the Spirit releases rivers of worship and praise within and through us!

Worship as portrayed in the Tabernacle

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Allusion of Worship in the Tabernacle

worship as portrayed in the tabernacleOne of the basic principles of biblical interpretation is the “law of multiple mentions”. This principle states that the number of times the Bible mentions or gives space to a certain subject indicates its importance. When we consider how much space is devoted to the description of the tabernacle (51 chapters in the whole Bible: Exodus 15; Leviticus 18; numbers 13; Deuteronomy 2 and Hebrews 3), we can perceive how important this subject is. Since the principal purpose of the tabernacle was the worship of God, we see that God is transmitting to us the vital nature of worship and the tremendous importance that He gives to it.

The first part of the tabernacle that God describes is the Ark of the Covenant, which was placed in front of the mercy seat. God said, “And there I will meet with you, and I will speak with you from above the mercy seat” (Exodus 25:22). The holy of holies, which contained the Ark of the Covenant, was the place where God met and had fellowship with man face-to-face; it was a place of worship.

In the Old Testament system, only the high priest could enter into the Holy of Holies and then only once per year on the Day of Atonement. How blessed we are under the terms of the new covenant by having the privilege of continuous access to God’s presence by the blood of Christ.

The basic teaching for us Christians implicit in the tabernacle is that of worship. God had taken his people out of Egypt “with great strength and a strong hand” (Exodus 32:11). Once the deliverance from Egypt was complete, the first thing that he did was to command Moses to build the tabernacle. God’s first desire, after our freedom from Egypt (sin and its slavery), is to place us in the ministry of worship.

The tabernacle teaches us the order and progression of worship. As we enter into the outer courts of the tabernacle, the first thing that we see is the altar of bronze for the sacrifices. It is here that our sins and iniquities are treated and we receive God’s forgiveness.

The next piece of furniture was the bronze laver, which symbolizes the purification through the “water” of the Word. The potential worshiper had to pass through these two experiences before arriving before the veil of the holy place.

Inside the holy place, was the table of showbread, the golden lampstand and the golden altar of incense, all of which have a deep meaning in the teaching of worship.

Finally, we arrive in the holy of holies, a sanctified place of fellowship, which typifies the most elevated and pure forms of praise and worship. This is where the Holy Spirit wants to take us. There is a definite progression in learning the abilities of worship. God wants to lead us through all the phases until finally we are qualified to enter into the last stage of holy worship the place within the veil, the Holy of Holies where the fullness of His presence abides.

How to lead a time of praise and worship

Here are some suggestions to help you introduce your church or cell to the ministry of anointed music with praises to God:

Begin all meetings with thanksgiving and praise in the form of songs

Enter into His gates with thanksgiving, And into His courts with praise. Be thankful to Him, and bless His name. (Psalm 100:4)

Ask the Holy Spirit to remind you of appropriate songs

God has a theme or message for each meeting. In general, the appropriate songs prepare the way for the theme or the message.

Don’t be afraid to repeat worship songs

Many times God begins to move through a specific song, so do not be afraid to repeat the song several times. Sometimes you should repeat a specific part of a song that manifests a special anointing or blessing.

Exhort the people to “Sing to the Lord” from the heart

Many times, we sing hymns because it is part of our tradition and custom. There is however, a much more valuable purpose than this, to worship God through song, or to direct our attention to heaven through songs.

Begin with songs of praise and thanksgiving

Allow the people to express their praises through the songs. The songs are not praises in themselves. They are mere vehicles through which we can express our praise. It is possible to sing many hymns and songs without expressing any true praise.

Praise songs inspire the people to worship

In general, we begin with praise and progress as people move through various levels until entering into worship, the most elevated level of praise.

Don’t rush the time of praise

Many pastors consider this part of the meeting as something merely “preliminary”, a tedious and traditional need. Allow this time for singing, praise and worship. These are important acts in our meetings.

Give the congregation an opportunity to participate

Encourage spontaneous expressions. Someone can lead the congregation in prayer, which can result in the direction for the meeting. Perhaps someone else will prophesy and the exhortation can supply the theme for the rest of the meeting.

Practice the gifts of the Spirit in the Church worship meetings (1 Corinthians 12:8-11)

Do not “quench” the Spirit (1 Thessalonians 5:19). Encourage the expressive participation through spiritual gifts. However, the designated and anointed leader should retain the spiritual authority at all times over the meeting.

Do everything to attain mutual edification

All biblical manifestations are legitimate and appropriate, but everything that is done and the way that it is done must serve for the edification of the whole congregation (1 Corinthians 14:26).

Avoid “contributions” that cause confusion

“God is not the author of confusion” (1 Corinthians 14:33). If the meeting begins to become confused, take control and remove the confusion. If necessary, pause and explained what is happening to the congregation, clarifying the situation. Use such situations to teach the right and the wrong manner of doing things.

Do everything for the Lord and for his glory

Remember that the goal of all meetings is to glorify God and edify the believers not to display musical talent and ability. Naturally the worship team must possess talent and gifting and flow in their abilities but the purpose is to focus attention on God and his Spirit and usher his presence in the place of worship.

Use a songbook or projection media so that the people can participate

Do not be afraid at any given moment, to put aside the songbook or the lyrics of the song and simply worship the Lord through the heart.

At all costs, avoid becoming mechanical or formal

Be flexible and allow freedom. Do not insist on following the program. Always be sensible to the direction of the Spirit and be willing to follow Him. In order to direct praise and worship through songs much more is necessary than moving your arms and making gestures even though this can be done correctly. The freedom of the Spirit and spontaneity are more important than technical precision.

Strive to manifest the presence of Jesus not that of the worship team (Matthew 17:8)

The cry of God’s people is “we want to see Jesus” (John 12:21). We should always remember that the people do not come to see us or to hear us. They come to see and to hear Jesus. Our task, with the help of the Spirit, is to open the veil, so that all eyes can see the Lord and worship before Him. This should be the most valued objective of all the servants of Christ that lead worship meetings.

Praise and Worship

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Differences between praise and worship

praise and worshipTo give praise means to speak well of someone or something, to express admiration, to greet, to complement, to congratulate, to applaud, to brag about, to exalt. To worship means to express reverence, to have a feeling of reverent admiration, to prostrate oneself before an object of adoration, to venerate.

Worship is a higher form of praise. In general, we begin with praise and then enter into worship. The word worship means to appreciate the value of something and respond appropriately to this value.

Worship is above all, an attitude of the heart. It is a reverent occupation of the human heart toward its creator. Worship begins with an interior contemplation of the heart, a deep meditation of the greatness and dignity of God. Worship is an intense admiration for God and an inner feeling of reverence and respect to the all-powerful God.

Worship also expresses the overflowing of the previously mentioned, spontaneously flowing thoughts and emotions. They should not be “pumped” or forced out. Our cup, as that of David must overflow with joy.

Finally, worship is the pouring forth of the soul in profound expressions of reverence, admiration, amazement and adoration.

The first biblical references to worship

One of the principles of biblical interpretation is the “law of first mention”, according to which the first mention in the Bible of any subject gives us a clear indication of its meaning and importance, wherever it occurs in the Bible. It is the key to the understanding of the meaning of this word or subject in the entire Bible.

The first mention of the word worship is in Genesis 22:5.

And Abraham said to his young men, “Stay here with the donkey; the lad and I will go yonder and worship, and we will come back to you.” (Genesis 22:5)

The word used here is shachah, which means “to prostrate oneself before, to bow down with humble reverence, respect and honor.” We will now examine some of the implications of this first mention of worship.

God commanded Abraham to be a worshiper

Praise and worship are not options that we decide whether to practice or not according to our own tastes. God commanded His people to praise and worship Him. When the Bible says, “praise the Lord”, this is not a suggestion or a request, but a commandment. There are no exceptions. Any and every child of God must praise and worship God.

Abraham responded in obedience

This obedience was an essential element of his covenant relationship with God. Abraham and God had entered into a covenant that demanded absolute obedience and total commitment of Abraham to God. God was testing the sincerity and integrity of Abraham’s commitment. He demanded the sincerity and integrity of Abraham’s commitment. He demanded the sacrifice of that which Abraham considered most precious: his promised son Isaac.

Worship is costly

This act of worship would cost Abraham his best and most precious possession. It had to really be “a sacrifice of praise” (Hebrews 13:15). A life of worship demands everything that we are and possess (Romans 12:1, 2). It is necessary that there be a total surrender of our ego to God so that we can become true worshipers. David also understood this principle when he said, “should I offer to God that which cost me nothing.” (2 Kings 24:24 – paraphrased)

Worship is an act of faith

Every step that Abraham took on that day was a step of faith. While he climbed Mount Moriah, knowing that God had demanded the offering of his beloved son, he knew by faith, that somehow he and Isaac would return together (Genesis 22:5).

Worship – surrender of the ego

Abraham was not only prepared to offer up Isaac, but he was also prepared to offer his own plans, desires, ambitions and will for the future. His future was unavoidably tied to his son. He was the one that God had promised and through which all the promises of the covenant would be fulfilled. To surrender him in obedience meant to surrender the expectation of everything for which he hoped and dreamed. Abraham not only surrendered Isaac but he surrendered all that he was and all that he had.

We can never enter into true worship until there is a total surrender of our ego to God. Our ego always imposes itself on our worship; therefore, we must surrender it completely to God.

Praise glorifies God

The high price that Abraham paid in worship glorified God. A normal reaction would be, “how great and glorious must be the God for whom Abraham was willing to sacrifice his beloved son in order to offer worship in obedience and faith!” God said, “Whoever offers praise glorifies Me.” (Psalm 50:23). Every true act of worship glorifies God.

The worshiper is also blessed

God’s answer to the active worship of Abraham indicates His great pleasure and desire to bless all worshipers.

And said: “By Myself I have sworn, says the LORD, because you have done this thing, and have not withheld your son, your only son — blessing I will bless you, and multiplying I will multiply your descendants as the stars of the heaven and as the sand which is on the seashore; and your descendants shall possess the gate of their enemies. In your seed all the nations of the earth shall be blessed, because you have obeyed My voice.” (Genesis 22:16-18)

The story of Mary, who anointed the feet of Jesus with precious perfume, is a beautiful symbol of worship (John 12:3). John tells us that later she “dried his feet with her hair.” Imagine the sweet fragrance that must have remained in her hair. Wherever she went, people would be aware of the sweet scent. This is also true of worshipers. Their lives carry a sweet fragrance wherever they go. It is the fragrance of the presence of the Lord!