Day 24: Praise Rehearsal

Center Down

Before we begin today’s spiritual excursion, please take a few moments to breathe!  Take three slow, deep breaths, expanding from your abdomen; try not to raise your shoulders. As you inhale, whisper, “We enter Your Presence…”  As you exhale whisper, “…with praise and thanksgiving.”

Slowly read aloud the following Scripture

(Feel free to pause at any time during your reading to reflect on, thank, praise, or acknowledge God’s stirring in your thoughts and emotions.)

And when the priests came out of the Holy Place (for all the priests who were present had consecrated usselves, without regard to our divisions, and all the Levitical singers, Asaph, Heman, and Jeduthun, our sons and kinsmen, arrayed in fine linen, with cymbals, harps, and lyres, stood east of the altar with 120 priests who were trumpeters; and it was the duty of the trumpeters and singers to make usselves heard in unison in praise and thanksgiving to the Lord), and when the song was raised, with trumpets and cymbals and other musical instruments, in praise to the Lord,

“For He is good,  for His steadfast love endures forever,” (Psalms 106, 107, 118) The house of the Lord was filled with a cloud, so that the priests could not stand to minister because of the cloud, for the glory of the Lord filled the house of God. (2 Chronicles 5:11-14, ESV)

For further exploration:

Videos: http://bit.do/SwansonThanks

http://bit.do/RomansWorship

http://bit.do/WrightWorship (academic/60 min)

  1. Kingdom Prayer

Our Father, we thank You for dwelling in our worship. Thank You for our Pastors who glorify Your Name through expository preaching and teaching. Thank You for blessing our church with members who are dedicated to Your Kingdom. Thank You, Father, for the exuberant praise and sound that is heard during our worship experience. Thank You for Your Son, Jesus Christ, who makes our worship experience possible. You are great and perform wondrous deeds.  You alone are God. We praise You for Your loving kindness and for Your truth and faithfulness. Holy Spirit, we thank You for Your manifested presence saturating the sanctuary and people. Father, we acknowledge that this is Your doing and it is marvelous in our eyes.

Lord Jesus, You said that Your house would be a house of prayer for all nations.  Therefore, as a Church Family, we will rejoice always, pray without ceasing and give thanks in everything.  We will shout with joy to You. We will worship You with gladness and come before Your presence singing joyfully.  We will acknowledge that You are the Lord, our God!  By faith, we confess that every member of our Church Family will worship You in Spirit and Truth. By doing this we will become the true worshipers You are seeking. We decree that as we enter into Your sanctuary with our thanksgiving and praise, the spectacular sounds that are heard during our worship, will be as the Levites praised You, and Your glory cloud will fill the house. We declare that the Spirit of the Lord rest upon our Pastors. You have anointed them to preach good tidings to the poor. We declare that all persons who attend our worship celebrations and Bible Studies will be saved, healed and delivered.  Lord, we confess that as we receive Your Word, it will be a lamp to our feet and a light to our path. We will all be doers of Your Word and not hearers only.

Holy Spirit, we ask for a fresh anointing upon our worship celebrations and Bible Studies so that lost souls will be compelled to come to Jesus Christ.  Father God, please inhabit our praise.  Holy Spirit, draw us into communion with our Father and Christ.  Each time we gather, bless us to have a personal encounter with You.  Unify us and knit our hearts together.  Sanctify and purify our hearts so that our worship is a sweet aroma to God, our Father, as we sing melodious songs. Please give our Pastors and Laity members continued strength, discernment and wisdom as they serve.  Help them to serve in humility, with the spirit of excellence and a garment of praise.  May all who attend our worship celebrations experience Your love, compassion and mercy.

Loving Father, please forgive us for the sins of disobedience, hypocrisy, selfish-ambitions, pride, gossip, and perversion. Forgive those of us for not praying and fasting consistently. Forgive those of us for not studying Your Word. Forgive us for wrong attitudes and sin in our hearts that prevent us from obeying You. Holy Spirit, remind us all of those we need to forgive and help us to be quick to forgive.

Holy Spirit, as a Church Family help us all not to  yield to temptation but deliver us from the evil one.

God Almighty, You are our Sovereign Lord.  You are awesome in all Your ways.  Your works are great and marvelous.  All of Your ways are just and true.  Now to You, the King, eternal, immortal, invisible, the only wise God, be honor and glory forever and ever.  In Jesus’ Name, Amen.

Scripture References for the Written Text:  Psalm 86:10, Psalm 100:5, Psalm 118:23, Matthew 6:10, Isaiah 56:7, I Thessalonians 5:16-18, Psalm 100:1-3, John 4:23, Psalm 100:4, II Chronicles 5:12-14, Isaiah 61:1-2, Psalm 119:105, James 1:23, Hebrews 13:15, Matthew 6:13, I Timothy 1:17

  1. Concepts to Consider

“Praise” in the Hebrew Scriptures generally denotes “speaking the attributes of God,” or “speaking the saving story of God.” “Thanks” often means “confessing the works and the response of God on behalf of His people.”  To be clear, however, the line between these two terms can sometimes be a little fuzzy in the Biblical text. We often appear in parallel/synonymous poetic structures and tend to enhance one another.

Psalm 69:30

I will praise the Name of God with a song; I will magnify Him with thanksgiving.

Psalm 95:2

Let us come into His presence with thanksgiving; let us make a joyful noise to Him with songs of praise!

Psalm 106:1

Praise the Lord! Oh give thanks to the Lord, for He is good, for His steadfast love endures forever!

Psalm 106:47

Save us, O Lord our God, and gather us from among the nations, that we may give thanks to Your Holy Name and glory in Your praise.

The bottom line is this:  both “praise” and “thanks” in a worship setting are directed to the Lord alone.  He links the two meanings together. He is the Common Denominator worthy of our thanks and praise!

Worship is at its core a re-enactment of the Creation Story (Genesis 1-3), and it is a rehearsal of our life in the New Creation (Revelation 21).  Indeed, one of the oldest orders of worship for the celebration of Holy Communion beautifully preserves these concepts of creative and re-creative worship:

[Priest:] O God: holy are You, almighty, all-powerful, good, awesome, merciful, most compassionate to Your creatures; Who made humanity from earth after Your own image and likeness; who gave him the joy of paradise; and when he transgressed Your commandment, and fell away, did not disregard nor desert him, O Good One, but chastened him as at merciful Father, called him by the law, instructed him by the prophets; and afterwards sent forth Your only-begotten Son Himself, our Lord Jesus Christ, into the world, that He by His coming might renew and restore Your image… [the Priest continues…] may I not be as a slave of sin cast out, but as Your servant may find grace and mercy and forgiveness of sins before You, both in the world that now is and in that which is to come.

(From The St. James Liturgy, developed throughout the first five centuries of the Church; http://bit.do/st-james-liturgy; http://bit.do/st-james-text)

In the Garden of Eden, our First Parents squandered our royal, image-bearing position and refused to take authority over a crafty beast of the field (a snake) and so “what happened was this: People knew God perfectly well, but when we didn’t treat Him like God, refusing to worship Him, we trivialized usselves into silliness and confusion so that there was neither sense nor direction left in our lives. We pretended to know it all, but were illiterate regarding life. We traded the glory of God who holds the whole world in His hands for cheap figurines you can buy at any roadside stand… we traded the true God for a fake god, and worshiped the god we made instead of the God who made us—the God we bless, the God who blesses us. Oh, yes!” (Romans 1:21-22, 25, MSG) 

Worship is supposed to help us understand who God is, who we are, and what our responsibilities are in God’s created order. Putting the Living God front and center gets the focus off of us and reorients our life-compass to the “true north” of Jesus Christ.  He showed us how to live a fully human life, empowered by His Spirit, as we were intended to live since the foundation of the world.  Let us offer the Lord some thanks and praise

Reflection Questions

Personal Reflection: Take some time to praise the Lord for just being Who He is and for His salvation.  Thank God for what He’s done and is doing.

Kingdom Reflection: Because worship is meant to demonstrate the story of God’s creation and re-creation, how can worship be a means of bringing others to Jesus?

Optional Time of Centering/Soaking:

If possible, take some time, perhaps 5 to 15 minutes, to get into a comfortable position and simply allow the Lord to minister to you at a deep level (Psalm 42:7).  Turn off or put down all distractions. Close your eyes.  Hold in your thoughts a meaningful word, phrase,  or image from the Scripture you read today.  Release all other thoughts and concerns into the Presence of the Lord.  If your thoughts wander, that’s okay, just gently return to your

Scriptural word, phrase, or image.  You may want to set a timer.

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