Previously: Like King David, we creators and dreamers will have to face giants and weather our own Ziklag moments. But we can stay encouraged — during the tough times — by following the example of “a man after God’s own heart” (Acts 13:22) and tapping into the power of praise and worship. To do so we must honor and exalt God — during those tough times — in spite of less than favorable circumstances, and in spite of how we feel.
By observing the life of David, the legendary dreamer and creator, we can learn several valuable lessons about praise and worship. Remember, before David was a giant-killer, before he became a warrior and a military leader, before he was the greatest king Israel ever had — long before he was a history-maker — he was a worshipper!
David is known as the great psalmist, a poet and musician who was called a “man after God’s own heart” (Acts 13:27) He penned some of the most encouraging and inspiring verses in the Bible; but long before his beautiful psalms were published, to be read and enjoyed by millions of
people throughout the ages, David personally sang them to an audience of One: his loving Heavenly Father, the Good Shepherd of Psalm 23 and John 10:11.
David learned to praise God while he was still an unknown — a “nobody” in the eyes of society — during countless lonely nights spent guarding his sheep. So, when he finally faced his greatest challenge at Ziklag, he knew exactly how to encourage himself in the Lord. Here are the lessons David learned firsthand about praise and worship:
- Do the right thing! When all hell seems to be breaking loose, when we’re still waiting for God to answer our prayers, when we feel like crying and throwing in the towel, even if we feel God has let us down, we need to do the right thing and praise the Lord anyway. In fact, it’s during these Ziklag moments, when nothing seems to make sense, that we should (in the words of John Gray) “give Him a crazy praise!” That’s faith in action!
- Take time to worship God when we’re all alone. Corporate praise and worship are important, but private praise parties — when it’s just you and the Lord — help to build your faith, and strengthen your relationship with God. Praise Him in the midst of pain and disappointment; when your heart is broken and eyes filled with tears.
- Praise and worship God when you feel “stuck”: when your best efforts
fail and your plans fall apart; when you still haven’t achieved your goals or fulfilled your dreams — and you just don’t get it!
- Praise when you’re prayed out. Although we personally continue to pray in faith and expectancy, claiming God’s promises and waiting for our own breakthrough, we’ve had days when we felt “prayed out” and more than a little tired of asking. Perhaps you’ve been there. Like Elijah, in 1 Kings 19, we dreamers and creators can grow tired of “fighting the good fight of faith.” (1 Timothy 6:12) We can grow weary in well doing. (Galatians 6:9)
No matter how optimistic, energetic, faith-filled and steadfast we are, there will be times when we get just plain tuckered out! It’s during times such as these that we can still tap into the power of praise and worship, when we stop asking and just keep on exalting. It’s easy: we simply…
- Praise God for who He is — NOT for whichever prayers He’s answered lately. Vicki Yohe’s song “Because of Who You Are” captures this truth perfectly. Check it out.
The next time you feel the blues coming on, slide a praise and worship CD into your car or home stereo system, and have a private praise party. Listen to songs of faith that minister to you — and sing along. Get out and participate in a corporate praise and worship service with a local faith congregation. Come back home and watch a DVD featuring praise music.
Or pull out an old hymnal and sing a few of those wonderful latter-day “psalms” such as “Great is Thy Faithfulness” or “A Mighty Fortress is Our God” or “It is Well with My Soul.” And for even more encouragement, Google the backstories of the creators who composed these classics — you’ll be amazed and blessed when you read of their trials and ultimate triumphs!
Fellow creators and dreamers, something supernatural happens when we praise and worship the Lord: God shows up and makes Himself at home! Because He inhabits the praises of His people. (Psalm 22:3)
And when God shows up, sadness, discouragement, and depression must leave! To quote a few more lines of Paul Wilbur’s “The Shout of El Shaddai”: In your name powers of darkness tremble; Jericho tumbles to the ground! In your name chains of death are broken; Lord of Hosts, pour your power out!
So praise and worship the Creator of the Universe, who gives us every good thing from above, including our gifts and talents, dreams and creativity — not to mention life itself! (James 1:17) No matter how you feel, no matter how your plans are going, it’s always the right thing to do.
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