What does praise look like? I think it has many different faces, sounds, moods. No matter what style, praise always comes first. Praising first in any situation helps us to focus on the one who is in charge, who has the strength to overcome, and who loves us and shares his strength with us.
Many times our worship times are contemplative, prayerful, sincere, and moving. But (there’s always a “but” isn’t there?) I believe that occasionally we should expand our expression of worship to include a blood-stirring, soul-engaging, army-building praise set.
Let’s look at how David praised. At times he fell on his knees in personal confession, in despair, crying for help. God lifted him up and gently soothed and comforted him. But at other times David led the nation in dancing , singing—having a real party to celebrate God’s presence among them. He didn’t hold anything back, but led the way with boisterous singing, dancing, shouting, and praising God. The people didn’t stop and quiet themselves down—this was a time to cut loose.
How about the worship time Miriam led worship when El saved them from the Egyptian army that wanted to put them back in chains? It was a loud, boisterous, cheering sort of event.
And when the praise and worship team led the armies? I would guess it was fast-paced and loud, with rhythm, movement, shouts, and cheers. They were asking God to get them ready to fight for Him. The praise stirred them to new heights of strength and valor.
With these examples in mind, I believe our praise at times should reflect our celebration of freedom from slavery, our delight and wonder at his love and presence in and among us, and fire us up to go out into the battle for His cause.
Sunday gathering time has often been described as a time to regroup, refuel, and prepare to go back out into the world. Sometimes that requires confession, contemplation, and quiet calmness. But sometimes, what we really need to do it cut loose with a major pep rally.