My teenagers have hit that stage where they stand there during the praise and worship portion of our church service like their lips have been glued shut. And no amount of prompting with my serious mom eyebrows or “You are here to participate” being hissed between my clenched teeth seems to make any difference.
But these days, I can hardly concentrate on my own participation for resisting the righteous urge to yank them both out by their ears and give them a piece of my mind. What in the world? Is this the best you can do to honor God? Don’t you have anything to praise the Lord about?
But then, I look around and see that my kids aren’t alone. A lot of people around me—male, female, young, old, and everywhere in between—have chosen to “opt out” of the time we have set aside to come together as a body and give thanks to God for all that He has done for us. And from what I read, sadly, this trend seems widespread.
So before my two decide to follow the crowd or get into their heads that not participating is okay, here are some truths about praising and and worshipping God I want them to know:
1) It does you good to say those words out loud.
It does you good to proclaim aloud that you love Jesus, that He takes care of you, and that He is great in all His ways. The words that you sing are important. They are an expression of our faith Maybe if you sing, “You’re the one that really matters” enough, you’ll realize that He really is.
Romans 10:10 says
For with the heart a person believes (adheres to, trusts in, and relies on Christ) and so is justified (declared righteous, acceptable to God), and with the mouth he confesses (declares openly and speaks out freely his faith) and confirms [his] salvation.
One of the ways that the word confirm is translated from the Greek is “to make firm, establish, make secure.” Now, we don’t have to confirm anything to God; He already knows our hearts. But making firm and establishing our love for our Lord aloud does have a profound effect on ourselves, those around us, and even our enemy.
As you worship God, praise Him for His goodness, you will find yourself encouraged, your faith strengthened, even your outlook on life changed. Why? Because praising and worshiping God refocuses your attention from yourself (where it shouldn’t be) onto Him (where it should be).
Even David encouraged himself in the Lord (1 Samuel 30:6).
You will be amazed at what you can be freed from by just removing your focus from yourself. And the more you are encouraged and strengthened, the more you are not only able to tackle the obstacles in your own life, but the more you have something to offer others as well.
2) You get out of it what you put into it.
I’ll be honest praise and worship time is just flat out boring if you’re not participating. Standing around watching and wondering what the big deal is will be about as rewarding as… nothing. You have to choose to make this time purposeful if you want it to mean anything.
You have to purpose to enjoy the presence of God. You have to decide to think about the words you are singing and what they mean. You have to choose to sing them from your heart. You have to decide that He deserves it. You have to make room for it.
3) What we’re doing is more important that how you feel.
I get that you have your whole teenage thing going on. We all come into church services on Sunday mornings with a ton of baggage. So your feeling tired, embarrassed, awkward, irritated, or bored is not all that unique. But here’s the kicker. Praise and worship isn’t about you. It’s not about how you feel or look or sound. It isn’t about your circumstances, your problems, what people have or haven’t done to you, or even getting something from God. It’s about really recognizing what Jesus HAS done for us and who we are in the spirit as a result and being so grateful that we can’t help to tell Him how much we love Him.
Operating out of emotions or thinking that praise and worship is somehow tied to our feelings or our need to be entertained is completely immature. And it shows that we are not grown up enough to get over ourselves and understand the bigger purpose of what we’re doing.
True worship comes from your spirit anyway (John 4:24). As a result, praise and worship is a practical time that you can practice walking by the spirit instead of your flesh, or how you feel, by participating even when you don’t feel like it. If you live in how you feel, then you will always miss the blessing (John 6:63).
4) Praising corporately is good practice for praising privately.
Praise and worship is not just “singing time.” When we get right down to it, praising and worshiping God is a way of life, not just something we do on Sunday morning. It is a natural result of a true relationship with Him as we meditate on His goodness and all He has done. And more to the point, praise and worship was God’s idea in the first place. Choosing not to praise and worship is the same as not recognizing that Christ is in us and not allowing His glory to manifest.
So my children, when you look around and wonder why some people seem so “into” corporate praise and worship, don’t think they have something you don’t. If you truly believe what God has said in His Word, then you have plenty to praise and worship God about. You are a celebration because the Hope of Glory lives in you. Aren’t you going to let it show?
Let everything with breath praise the Lord… Psalms 150:6
1 Thessalonians 5:18
Title Photo: Kristen_W