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Tuesday, July 8, 2008

Connecting with God Part 3

I want to touch on praise and worship again because I used to struggle so much with this and feel there may be some of you that struggle with it as well.

Worshipping and praising God is not just a blessing for Him; it's a powerful gift He has given to us. I believe it’s supernatural somehow. We see this in Scripture when the army of the Lord was able to defeat an enormous foe by simply sending out the worship team ahead of the soldiers.

It may be that praise and worship defeats the enemy over our lives. It may also be that praise and worship unleashes the angels of God to minister to our souls. Maybe it unleashes the Spirit of God to work in our hearts, removing our "baggage" and all the things that hinder us from really communing with the Lord. Maybe it just puts our spirits in the right frame of mind, so to speak. I don't know what it is but, truly, it is amazing how spending time in worship—and maybe even the entire time—transforms your quiet times into what your soul really needs.

In my experience, if I come to my quiet time with worry, anxiety, or an unsettled feeling in my heart—longing for the peace that only God can give—I'm at a loss until I have truly spent time in praise and worship. When I'm especially down, I spend most of my quiet time reading the Psalms aloud.

Psalm 145 is greatly encouraging. If need be, I will read on until the end of the book of Psalms—
out loud. If I still have not entered into that worshipful spirit in my heart, then I'll flip through the Psalms and begin to pour out my soul with the lamenting Psalms. You know, the "Save me!" Psalms. Inevitably, through calling out to God—using the very words of King David—I find rest for my soul. Then, and only then, can I be still before Him in my quiet time.

Sometimes, the worship and praise takes so long that it consumes all the time I had.
 However, if I finally received the peace in my heart that was missing, it was productive. I connected with God.

Other times, there is more that I need to pray about, sort out, and work through. Often, God has a lot He wants to reveal to me in His word and in my spirit. Either way, until my soul has been quieted and stilled through worship, I can't really pray in faith and "in the Spirit." I’m not able to receive direction from the Holy Spirit about how to pray, nor am I able to find inspiration and answers from Him.

Now there are many times that I come to my quiet time with an attitude of worship and I don't need the help of the Psalms; I can almost write my own Psalms as I praise Him with all my heart. Those times are especially wonderful as I am instantly connecting with God in my spirit.

I hope these three blogs have helped you see how praise and worship is vital to our lives. God is so good to offer us this blessing, the blessing of praising His glorious Name. Praising Him accomplishes His purposes in our hearts, enabling us to walk out with peace and joy the calling He has purposed for us.