It’s no secret among Christians that we are in the midst of a major battle. Our battle is not physical but is instead made up of emotional, mental and spiritual challenges in the areas of relationships, health, finances, and even our faith. Ephesians 6:12 puts it this way: “ … our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms.” Now that’s serious business.
We often hear our battle referred to as spiritual warfare for which we must equip ourselves with the full armor of God—an armor of truth, righteousness, peace, faith and salvation, and the Word. But today I want to talk about a secret spiritual weapon which some may never have considered: Praise.
Praise? Really? Yes, praise!
Praise is one of the most powerful weapons that God has given us–but what makes it so? Why should we consider packing praise in preparation for spiritual warfare? Well, consider that praise:
• Shows that we are giving God honor and glory as the one who has the power to help us. (Psalm 148:11-13)
• Shows our appreciation for what He has done and what He is about to do. (Psalm 107:21)
• Reminds us that God is with us. (Psalm 22:3)
• Causes God to show up on the scene. (2 Chronicles 5:13-14)
• Confuses the enemy and stops him in his tracks. (2 Chronicles 20:22, Psalm 8:2)
So, we can see how beneficial praise is for us. But what does God get out of it? Doesn’t He already know that He is the greatest, and doesn’t He know that we as Christians already know that, too? Well, of course He knows all, so then what is the purpose of praise?
Think about it from the perspective of your own experiences. Don’t you love when others tell you you are doing a great job or when they appreciate your bright ideas? And isn’t it refreshing when others tell you that you look amazing or seem younger than your years? I mean, who among us doesn’t like to receive praise?
The best praises are those that come with no ulterior motives. Sometimes such praise seems hard to come by, so we become very suspicious. But those times that we feel like we are being praised “just because” definitely feel the best. As an example, think about the times when our children come to us, snuggle in our laps, and say “I love you.” That, too, is a form of praise, and definitely exhibits that we are being loved for who we are.
Well, our God is no different. He loves for us to shower Him with our praises. He is thrilled when we recognize the wondrous things He does for us. He is simply tickled when we get up close and personal and let Him know we love Him “just because.” Spending time with God and talking to Him every day, not just when we want something, definitely gets His attention.
But let’s take it up a notch. In our Sunday morning worship, we are expected to sing our praises, and are sometimes encouraged to clap or even dance—aspects of praise with which some may be uncomfortable. “Is all that really necessary?” some might ask.”
Praise can occur just through conversing with God, but praising through singing, clapping, dancing and other expressions can’t hurt either. And in fact, I would suggest that such expressions even help to elevate the level of praise.
Biblically speaking, Psalm 150 speaks of praising God wholeheartedly with timbrel, dance, trumpets, harp, cymbals … “let EVERYTHING that has breath praise the Lord,” this Psalm commands. (emphasis mine) Furthermore, the Bible is filled with many examples in which God’s people are instructed or inspired by Him to praise Him in advance of their blessing.
Look at Paul and Silas whose praises to God burst the jail doors wide open. (Acts 16:23-26) And what about Joshua, who was instructed by God to use trumpets and shouting as part of the plans to bring down the walls of Jericho? (Joshua 6) So setting our praises to music seems to be a huge, although seemingly unconventional, key to our breakthrough. But who ever said that God was conventional anyway?
Based on those examples, it seems that submitting high praise to God with every fiber of our beings is in order. Yet, how can we sing, clap or dance when we are going through difficult trials? We can do so eagerly and boldly because we know that God is on our side. He has already won the victory over every situation in our lives and we just have to trust, have faith, persevere and believe in order to win our battles. Now, just knowing that ought to give us the desire to praise Him continuously.
Make no mistake, in the midst of our spiritual warfare, the enemy is out to steal, kill and destroy as it says in John 10:10. But the remainder of that verse says that Jesus came that we might have life and have it more abundantly. So should we not expect that our God is going to give us the very weapons we need in order to succeed against the wiles of the devil? God is a good Leader, and He would never send us into battle unprepared.
So let us proceed with confidence, knowing that the weapons that God has provided will help us defeat our problems, tear down strongholds, and conquer our giants. Go ahead, suit up with your full armor of God. Certainly, check your hand and your heart for empowering scriptures to war by. But just as importantly, make sure you have at the ready your secret weapon, your powerful, passionate praise. Lift your hands, focus on God and boldly state—no, boldly SING–to the enemy “You’d better watch out ‘cause I’m packin’ praise.”
How have you experience the power of praise in spiritual warfare?