Psalm 150:1 – Praise the Lord. Praise God in his sanctuary; praise him in his mighty heavens. (NIV)
I visited a church gathering recently called a Praise Service. The leader opened the service with the reading of Psalm 150, and then as the video screen came alive, he invited the audience to sing along. Soon the sounds of drums, cymbals, and tambourines could be heard. People were beginning to clap along with the singing. Some were raising their arms above their heads and tapping their feet to the beat of the music.
This type of worship was new to me, and I began to feel "out of place". At my church, praise meant singing Halleluiah choruses, "How Great Thou Art", and other similar music. We prayed "Thank You, Lord", quietly bowed our heads, and meditated on the many ways we could think of to praise his name. Stillness and silence were the ways I approached God, even in my prayers of praise.
Looking around me at the expressions of joy, enthusiasm, and earnestness on the faces of the worshippers, I had a new thought. These people were not only praising God for his goodness, they were receiving a blessing from their worship. They were as sincere with their movements and noise as I was with my silence.
Psalm 150:3-6 – Praise him with the sounding of the trumpet, praise him with the harp and lyre, praise him with tambourine and dancing, praise him with strings and flute, praise him with the clash of cymbals, praise him with resounding cymbals. Let everything that has breath praise the Lord. Praise the Lord. (NIV)
This psalm tells me that there are many different ways to praise. Could it be telling me to loosen up, clap, dance, and make some noise? God's ear hears all types of worship. When Jesus walked the earth, he spoke in a "small voice" for those who needed that approach — but in the days before amplifiers and television screens, he had to raise his voice to the crowd so that they might hear.
The Lord just wants our praise — he's not particular about the form we use.
Prayer: Lord, teach us how to praise your name. Help us to know that you accept different forms of praise. Praise your name! Amen.