Maman Believe Hamuli
Praise and worship are core elements of any believer, and understanding their difference and similarities gives you a better appreciation of the two. Many people are stuck with the idea that praise and worship are songs that are sung to God, and some go to the extent of thinking that praise refers to fast-beat songs and worship refers to slow songs. However, that is only part of it, because praise and worship involve more than just music. Simply put, worship is when you tell God who He is, and praise is when you express gratitude. Praise and worship may be similar in some ways, and although they complement one another, they are two different things.
Praise and worship are not something that you only do at church once or twice a week, but an everyday act that is part of your life. To further differentiate the two, praise is what you do because of what God has done or what He can do, and worship is how you live in response to who God is. Praising can be done in a specific time and space, whereas worshipping is not a time allocated to God, but a life dedicated to Him. And it begins with a motivation of loving and honoring God, it is an expression of adoration and reverence towards Him. You can only truly worship when you have dedicated yourself wholly to God because it is a stance of humility and surrender. Moreover, worship is only reserved for God, and if you ever find yourself worshipping anything than God, then there is something wrong.
Now, praise is a kind of worship, where it is an expression of gratitude and admiration. Furthermore, unlike worship, praise can also be directed to man. Praises to God are an acknowledgment and appreciation of what He has done or can do. In Acts 16:25-34, there is a story about how the authorities were angered by Paul and Silas’ propagation of the gospel and got them arrested. They were imprisoned and at midnight they began to praise and sing hymns to the Lord. You can imagine the conditions they were in; it was a prison cell which is the polar opposite of luxury and comfort.
They could have easily complained and murmured, saying, “We were doing the Lord’s work, is this how we are rewarded?” But they chose to look past their situation and praise God regardless of what they were facing, and as they praised, chains fell off and the door flung open. The prison guard was troubled by what had happened, so he wanted to kill himself because of the amount of trouble he would be in for letting them escape. However, Paul told him that they had not left and that he shouldn’t kill himself. What resulted from this incident was that the guard and his family got salvation. What results from your praises can be grounds for which people will want to know your God.
Psalm 22:3 says that God is enthroned in the praise of His people. God indeed lives in you when you receive him, but your praises enthrone Him [gives Him a seat]. His manifestation is made real in your life when you give Him a sit by your praises. Praises invite God to have His way and do what He does best. On the contrary, complaints are an invitation to demons and misfortune. Look at Numbers 21:1-7, it was because of the complaints of the children of Israel that the Lord sent venomous snakes, and many died. Replace your complaints with praise.
Praise is also a sign of faith; it is the ability to look past present troubles and acknowledge God as almighty – this is what Paul and Silas did. They chose to sing hymns because they had faith in God. You should not complain at every opportunity you get because faith and complaining don’t work together. Praising amid trouble does not mean that you are ignoring the problem, it simply means that your heart is set on something bigger than the problem. Faith also works wonders, look at 1 Samuel 16:14-23 when David was called to serve in King Saul’s house to play the lyre to relieve the evil spirit upon King Saul. It is a mind-blowing phenomenon that an instrument would bring deliverance to a tormented king. Furthermore, your praises are a weapon.
Praise is what you do to secure victory because we transfer our battles to God. King Jehoshaphat was surrounded by three armies, and after praying he sent the worshipers in front, and as they began to praise, the Lord sent ambushes to their enemies [see 2 Chronicles 20].
God is to be praised at all times [see Psalm 34:1], praising God is not a part-time activity for when you feel like it, but an everyday activity. Praising is what sets you apart from those that are going through the same thing as you. What differentiated Paul and Silas from the other prisoners was that they chose to praise during their situation. And their loud praises broke chains and opened the gates of all the prisoners. Your silence could be the reason why those around you remain in chains. Your praise can affect the situation of those around you; because of Paul and Silas’ praises, prisoners were set free, and the guard received salvation. If God is doing it for you, it means that He also wants to do it through you.
If you are looking for reasons to praise God, here are two:
- You are breathing, the Bible says in Psalm 150:6 [NKJV] says, “Let everything that has breath, praise the Lord.
- He is worthy of it, in Psalm 145:3 [NLT] the Bible says, “Great is the LORD! He is most worthy of praise! No one can measure his greatness.” The worthiness of God to receive praise does not depend on your situation but on His goodness.
How should God be praised? To answer this question, have a look at a few Hebrew words that show the different expressions of how God can be praised.
- BARAK: to kneel or bow with reverence in adoration [see Psalm 95:6].
- KARAR: to dance [see 2 Samuel 6:16].
- HALAL: to boast, brag, and rave about how good God is [see Psalm 113].
- SHABACH: to shout, to command, or to address in a loud tone [see Psalm 100:1]
- TAQA: to praise God by clapping of hands [See Psalm 47:1].
- ZAMAR: to praise God with an instrument [see Psalm 150:3-5].
- TEHILLAH: to sing spontaneous praise [see Psalm 40:3].
- YADAH: to praise God with lifted or extended hands [see Psalm 63:4].
Without understanding, all these words are just entertainment. It is a revelation that makes every expression of praise profitable. In everything, keep praising the Lord, and let your hands always remain lifted to the heavens in adoration.