The beast of the field will honor Me,
The jackals and the ostriches,
Because I give waters in the wilderness
And rivers in the desert,
To give drink to My people, My chosen.
This people I have formed for Myself;
They shall declare My praise Isaiah 43:20-21
Prayer is Important, but Praise is More Important
It’s amazing. There are so many books, CD’s, DVD’s, conferences, seminars, teachings and preachings about prayer, and you don’t see anything that emphasizes the importance of praise! I’m not belittling prayer. I have to put together 5 prayer-related posts and listed them in the prayer category. There is, in fact, one more thing about prayer that I have not posted, and it’s the kind of prayers that hit straight into the spirit realm! Did you know there are some prayers that never reach the heavens? To be able to grow in any and every aspect of the Christian walk, there is a great need for understanding. Want to grow in the Word? Gain understanding. Want to increase your prayer life? Gain understanding. Want to bask in the glory of His presence in your moments of praise and worship? Gain understanding.
You may wonder, why is praise more important than prayer? The first reason is because it’s the first command from the King found in Psalm 100:4:
Enter into His gates with thanksgiving,
And into His courts with praise.
Be thankful to Him, and bless His name
God desires to be praised. This is why the seraphim praise 24/7! Those are the angels that are directly by God’s throne and the first of the 9 orders of angels. They continually declare His praise as we see from both Isaiah and John’s vision:
In the year that King Uzziah died, I saw the Lord sitting on a throne, high and lifted up, and the train of His robe filled the temple. Above it stood seraphim; each one had six wings: with two he covered his face, with two he covered his feet, and with two he flew. And one cried to another and said:
“ Holy, holy, holy is the LORD of hosts;
The whole earth is full of His glory!” (Isaiah 6:1-3)
The four living creatures, each having six wings, were full of eyes around and within. And they do not rest day or night, saying:
“ Holy, holy, holy,
Lord God Almighty,
Who was and is and is to come!” (Revelations 4:8)
I love how it says, “the train of His robe fills the temple,” now because He is robed in majesty (Psalm 93:1), that means His majesty fills the temple! Talk about remaining in the glory of God! Now the cherubim are a little bit further from the seraphim and they come in second from the 9 orders of angels. The seraphim have a love for God no one else can compare! The cherubim have knowledge of God so great that it is only surpassed by the love of the seraphim. They stand on either side of God:
The LORD reigns;
Let the people tremble!
He dwells between the cherubim;
Let the earth be moved!
The LORD is great in Zion,
And He is high above all the people.
Let them praise Your great and awesome name—
He is holy (Psalm 99:1-3)
So you can see here that the angels continue to praise Him all the time! My favorite picture of heaven is painted in John’s vision in Revelations 5:11-12
Then I looked, and I heard the voice of many angels around the throne, the living creatures, and the elders; and the number of them was ten thousand times ten thousand, and thousands of thousands, saying with a loud voice:
“ Worthy is the Lamb who was slain
To receive power and riches and wisdom,
And strength and honor and glory and blessing!
That’s a 100 million plus angels singing praises around the throne! Imagine how many there are in the rest of heaven? We have established that the heavenly beings praise God and as his chosen generation, royal priesthood and holy nation (1 Peter 2:9), we should do the same in order to usher ourselves into His presence. Thanking Him is another crucial thing to do because it leads to praise. When you read on how to develop a heart of gratitude, you begin to understand why God values that so much.
The second reason is because He is enthroned on our praises:
But You are holy,
Enthroned in the praises of Israel (Psalm 22:3)
Now Israel is the nation God established to be different from other nations and to be holy just as He is holy (Leviticus 19:1-3). Since we are set apart (which is what holiness is) to be His people too, Israel is a picture of us. Therefore we should lift Him up so He is seated on His throne by our praises:
I will bless the LORD at all times;
His praise shall continually be in my mouth (Psalm 34:1)
David praised more times a day than he did pray:
Evening and morning and at noon
I will pray, and cry aloud,
And He shall hear my voice (Psalm 55:17)
Seven times a day I praise You,
Because of Your righteous judgments (Psalm 119:164)
Why did he do that? He had an understanding of praise and exalted God as often as he could! What I love most about David is not the amount of times he praised but the reason he praised. He did not do it when things were good and neither did he do so when things were tough. He did it all the time. He says, “I will bless the Lord at all times.” the important thing to note is that he never praised because he felt like it. If he did he would hardly ever praise.
The scary thought about the number of times we praise
Let’s say we only meet on Sundays and praise and worship for 30mins (even for a Sunday service that’s too little). For most of us that’s the case. What that means is that 30mins x 4 weeks = 120mins/month (2hrs/month). Now taking 2hrs x 12 = 24hrs/year! Suppose there was a huge praise and worship conference (that would be awesome) and it ran for a straight 24hrs. That would mean gathering for that event and then never praising again for the rest of the year! How dare we expect God to be obligated (the audacity) to answer our prayers at the neglect of all the honour, glory, praise and worship due Him! That’s why we are to praise and worship first then pray. Fortunately there are some of us that meet more times a week so we have the opportunity to praise and worship for more than just 30mins/week. We should all really be in praise and worship for 30mins/day!
The third reason is because of who answers our prayers:
And the smoke of the incense, with the prayers of the saints, ascended before God from the angel’s hand. Then the angel took the censer, filled it with fire from the altar, and threwit to the earth. And there were noises, thunderings, lightnings, and an earthquake. (Revelations 8:4).
We also see it in Daniel’s experience before engaging in the warfare fast:
Then he (Gabriel) said to me, “Do not fear, Daniel, for from the first day that you set your heart to understand, and to humble yourself before your God, your words were heard; and I have come because of your words. But the prince of the kingdom of Persia withstood me twenty-one days; and behold, Michael, one of the chief princes, came to help me, for I had been left alone there with the kings of Persia (Daniel 10:12-13).
From these two passages we understand that angels take our prayers to God and delivers His answers to us. The problem with the delivery process is that it can be delayed. There are opposing angels known as demons who try to stop the angels from delivering our answers just like Gabriel’s experience. Many people don’t actually understand this. They are so ignorant of the way prayer works that their flesh (or sinful nature) takes over. They become impatient and allow doubt to creep in. God told Cain when his offering was not accepted:
“Why are you so angry?” the Lord asked Cain. “Why do you look so dejected? You will be accepted if you do what is right. But if you refuse to do what is right, then watch out! Sin is crouching at the door, eager to control you. But you must subdue it and be its master,” Genesis 4:6-7 (NLT)
What that means is that when we get tempted to be impatient and inconsiderate of what God deserves from and expects of us, we still have the opportunity to overcome. He will not let temptation conquer us (1 Corinthians 10:13). We obviously have no excuse for falling into sin. We simply have to be persistent with prayer.
Now when we praise, because our praise go straight to God, He will answer us! What can stop God? Your prayer is guaranteed to be answered. There is a catch, though Luke 6:38:
Give, and it will be given to you: good measure, pressed down, shaken together, and running over will be put into your bosom. For with the same measure that you use, it will be measured back to you.”
If you want God to be passionate about answering your prayers, be passionate about praising Him! David was declared a man after God’s own heart:
And when He had removed him, He raised up for them David as king, to whom also He gave testimony and said, ‘I have found David the son of Jesse, a man after My own heart, who will do all My will (Acts 13:22; 1 Samuel 13:14).
If he praised God more than he prayed, how much more do we need to do the same?
The fourth reason is because people in the Bible were victorious through praise. Let’s take a look at Judges 7:
Then the LORD said to Gideon, “By the three hundred men who lapped I will save you, and deliver the Midianites into your hand. Let all the other people go, every man to his place.” (v7)
And when Gideon had come, there was a man telling a dream to his companion. He said, “I have had a dream: To my surprise, a loaf of barley bread tumbled into the camp of Midian; it came to a tent and struck it so that it fell and overturned, and the tent collapsed.”
Then his companion answered and said, “This is nothing else but the sword of Gideon the son of Joash, a man of Israel! Into his hand God has delivered Midian and the whole camp.”
And so it was, when Gideon heard the telling of the dream and its interpretation, that he worshiped. He returned to the camp of Israel, and said, “Arise, for the LORD has delivered the camp of Midian into your hand.” (v13-15)
So Gideon and the hundred men who were with him came to the outpost of the camp at the beginning of the middle watch, just as they had posted the watch; and they blew the trumpets and broke the pitchers that were in their hands. (v19)
When the three hundred blew the trumpets, the LORD set every man’s sword against his companion throughout the whole camp; and the army fled to Beth Acacia, toward Zererah, as far as the border of Abel Meholah, by Tabbath (v22).
There you go, through praise and worship, Gideon emerged victorious. Now let’s see Paul and Silas in Acts 16:25-26:
Around midnight Paul and Silas were praying and singing hymns to God, and the other prisoners were listening. Suddenly, there was a massive earthquake, and the prison was shaken to its foundations. All the doors immediately flew open, and the chains of every prisoner fell off!
They both prayed and praised, and they were set free. Clearly from these examples we see that praise and worship is not to be taken lightly. The same measure you give will be measured back to you. It all depends on how badly you want your prayers to be answered! I think it will go in proportion to length. The more desperate you need an answer, the longer you will spend in praise and worship.
Why are People not Teaching and Engaging in Praise and Worship More?
In addition to lack of revelation and understanding, people tend to put more value on what costs them something. Praise and worship is the cheapest way to getting God’s attention but it’s not valued much because you don’t have to do much. You just praise! With prayer, there is a lot of teaching because it is hard work. Imagine praying for 30mins. Most people can’t even go past 5mins! That is so sad. They would be amazed at anyone who could go close to an hour. But it’s so much easier to praise and worship for 15mins. At times that would feel like 2mins!
Make next year a year of praise and worship. Instead of praying about your request, praise about it. Get your favorite Christian group together, Hillsong, Israel & New Breed, Mercy Me (my personal favorite), Casting Crowns; or get the compilation CD’s like WOW and iWorship. Then play and sing along to them for at least 30mins. The whole album would take you an hour which is wonderful, but you want to maintain consistency. If you can’t sing, hum to the song. Singing alone where you know no one can hear you is easiest. There is one thing I did not mention about those two passages I mentioned above. Both events took place at midnight! That’s the best time to pray, fast and praise and worship. Why? Gates and doors open and close at midnight. You cannot enter into the next day, week, month or year without passing the midnight hour. The same is true in the spirit realm. I will cover this next post.