John Dickson has a lot of great stories and insights on praise and worship that can help us as we develop our discipline of praising seven times a day. Here is one he shares in our book, The Worship Warrior.
For several years I owned and operated a Christian bookstore. This was a wonderful experience, but there was a time when the store went through a financial crisis. I thought it was going to go under. It was a time of great stress and anxiety. A feeling of dread burned in the pit of my stomach, but the Lord instructed me to go to the store two hours before it opened each day and walk around inside and lift my hands and praise Him. My heart was like wax within me, my hands felt like lead weights, my mouth was like sawdust. Fear and dread were in my thoughts, not praise. But I knew what I needed to do. Job had testified, “Though He slay me, yet will I trust Him” (Job 13:15). I began to walk around, praising at the top of my lungs. Like David, I said, “Bless the LORD, O my soul; and all that is within me, bless His holy name” (Ps. 103:1). Sometimes we just have to tell our soul what to do. Our soul does not always feel like praising Him. As I praised Him as an act of my will, my spirit began to awaken inside me. As my soul began to line up with my proclamations, a flow of anointing began to be released. The oppressive cloud would lift, and the presence of God would come into my store. Over time the business turned around, and I knew it was not because of my keen business acumen. I am a worship leader. I can barely balance my checkbook. I could write three songs in the time it takes me to struggle through my bank statement. It was the Lord. He turned my circumstances around because I praised Him in the hard place.
So what I do as a worship leader was not learned on the stage, but in daily life. That is where our worship should be the strongest and the most vibrant. It is not our musical training that qualifies us as worshipers, but our sold-out hearts for God. In The Unquenchable Worshipper, Matt Redman writes: “The heart of God loves a persevering worshipper, who though overwhelmed by many troubles, is overwhelmed even more by the beauty of God.”
When Paul and Silas were beaten and thrown in jail, they were found praising (see Acts 16:25). Jonah praised from the belly of a whale (see Jon. 2). When they were flogged, Peter and the apostles rejoiced that they had been considered worthy to suffer shame for Jesus’ name (see Acts 5:40-41). Peter later wrote: “In this [our salvation] you greatly rejoice, even though now for a little while, if necessary, you have been distressed by various trials, that the proof of your faith, being more precious than gold which is perishable, even though tested by fire, may be found to result in praise and glory and honor at the revelation of Jesus Christ” (1 Pet. 1:6-7, NASB).
When things are wonderful, we praise Him. When things are horrible, we praise Him. Whether we are happy or sad or terrified or bored, we are determined to offer to God our sacrifice of praise. Everything in us should give praise to the Lord.
Receiving Rest in the Garden
When I flew back in yesterday morning, the first place I went was to the Israel Prayer Garden. Even with the extreme heat, the Garden is just breathtaking. As you watch this video focusing on the tribe of Simeon, I declare you will receive a fresh portion of rest.
Chuck D. Pierce