I remember a self proclaimed “atheist” who visited a small church I was at. After the service, I shook his hand and will never forget his remark. He said, “you all have mastered the hypnotic effect and use of music to ‘make us’ feel something. Even I felt something and wanted to praise God.” My response was simple, “What you felt was God, not us. There’s not a person in here who has been educated in hypnosis. And this sort of praise is biblical, that’s why you feel led to do it, so feel free to jump in!” Certainly, the first exposure to an authentic Spirit-filled church service will be new, lively, and powerful. Rest assured though, that the ecstatic and heartfelt praise exhibited is indeed biblical.
Old Testament Examples
2Ch 5:13-14 It came even to pass, as the trumpeters and singers were as one, to make one sound to be heard in praising and thanking the LORD; and when they lifted up their voice with the trumpets and cymbals and instruments of musick, and praised the LORD, saying, For he is good; for his mercy endureth for ever: that then the house was filled with a cloud, even the house of the LORD; (14) So that the priests could not stand to minister by reason of the cloud: for the glory of the LORD had filled the house of God.
Psa 150:1-6 Praise ye the LORD. Praise God in his sanctuary: praise him in the firmament of his power. (2) Praise him for his mighty acts: praise him according to his excellent greatness. (3) Praise him with the sound of the trumpet: praise him with the psaltery and harp. (4) Praise him with the timbrel and dance: praise him with stringed instruments and organs. (5) Praise him upon the loud cymbals: praise him upon the high sounding cymbals. (6) Let every thing that hath breath praise the LORD. Praise ye the LORD.
Jos 6:20 So the people shouted when the priests blew with the trumpets: and it came to pass, when the people heard the sound of the trumpet, and the people shouted with a great shout, that the wall fell down flat, so that the people went up into the city, every man straight before him, and they took the city.
2Sa 6:14-16,20-23 And David danced before the LORD with all his might; and David was girded with a linen ephod. (15) So David and all the house of Israel brought up the ark of the LORD with shouting, and with the sound of the trumpet. (16) And as the ark of the LORD came into the city of David, Michal Saul’s daughter looked through a window, and saw king David leaping and dancing before the LORD; and she despised him in her heart. […] (20) Then David returned to bless his household. And Michal the daughter of Saul came out to meet David, and said, How glorious was the king of Israel to day, who uncovered himself to day in the eyes of the handmaids of his servants, as one of the vain fellows shamelessly uncovereth himself! (21) And David said unto Michal, It was before the LORD, which chose me before thy father, and before all his house, to appoint me ruler over the people of the LORD, over Israel: therefore will I play before the LORD. (22) And I will yet be more vile than thus, and will be base in mine own sight: and of the maidservants which thou hast spoken of, of them shall I be had in honour. (23) Therefore Michal the daughter of Saul had no child unto the day of her death.
New Testament Examples
Acts 16:25-26 And at midnight Paul and Silas prayed, and sang praises unto God: and the prisoners heard them. (26) And suddenly there was a great earthquake, so that the foundations of the prison were shaken: and immediately all the doors were opened, and every one’s bands were loosed.
Acts 3:2-9 And a certain man lame from his mother’s womb was carried, whom they laid daily at the gate of the temple […] (6) Then Peter said, Silver and gold have I none; but such as I have give I thee: In the name of Jesus Christ of Nazareth rise up and walk. (7) And he took him by the right hand, and lifted him up: and immediately his feet and ankle bones received strength. (8) And he leaping up stood, and walked, and entered with them into the temple, walking, and leaping, and praising God. (9) And all the people saw him walking and praising God:
Acts 14:9-10 The same heard Paul speak: who stedfastly beholding him, and perceiving that he had faith to be healed, (10) Said with a loud voice, Stand upright on thy feet. And he leaped and walked.
Acts 2:4-33 And they were all filled with the Holy Ghost, and began to speak with other tongues, as the Spirit gave them utterance. […] (6) Now when this was noised abroad, the multitude came together, and were confounded, because that every man heard them speak in his own language. […] (13) Others mocking said, These men are full of new wine. (14) But Peter, standing up with the eleven, lifted up his voice, and said unto them, […] (33) having received of the Father the promise of the Holy Ghost, he hath shed forth this, which ye now see [(Praise)] and hear [(Speaking in Tongues)]
Why do we Worship Like This?
- We pray together aloud because in the Bible we read, “They lifted up their voice to God with one accord” – Acts 4:24
- We lift our hands in praise because in the Bible we read, “Lift up your hands in the sanctuary, and bless the Lord” – Psalm 134:2
- We sing with all our hearts because in the Bible we read, “Make a joyful noise unto the LORD, all the earth: make a loud noise, and rejoice, and sing praise” – Psalm 98:4
- We play musical instruments because in the Bible we read, “And all the house of Israel played before the LORD on all manner of instruments” – 2 Samuel 6:5
- We clap and shout unto God because in the Bible we read, “O clap your hands, all ye people; shout unto God with the voice of triumph” – Psalm 47:1
- We dance before the LORD because in the Bible we read, “Praise Him with the timbrel and dance: praise Him with stringed instruments and organs” – Psalm 150:4
- We testify publicly because in the Bible we read, “I will declare thy name unto my brethren; in the midst of the congregation will I praise thee” – Psalm 22:22
- We anoint with oil for divine healing because in the Bible we read, “Is any sick among you? Let him call for the elders of the church; and let them pray over him, anointing him with oil in the name of the Lord” – James 5:14
- We allow the operation of the spiritual gifts because in the Bible we read, “When ye come together, every one of you hath a psalm, hath a doctrine, hath a tongue, hath a revelation, hath an interpretation” – 1 Corinthians 14:26
- General References (Praise/Worship) – Gen 22:5, Exo 34:14, 2Sam 6:5, Ps 2:12, 29:2, 47:1, 98:4, 134:2, 150:1-6, Matt 2:2, 4:10, Jn 4:24, Acts 4:24, 1Cor 12:1-11,31, 14:1-30, Phil 3:3
- Praise, Bowing in – Ps 95:6, 72:9, Exo 34:8, 1Chr 29:20, 2Chr 7:3, Neh 8:6, Isa 44:23, Rom 14:11, Eph 3:14, Php 2:10
- Praise, Clapping in – Ps 47:1, 98:8, Isa 55:12
- Praise, Crying in – Ps 5:2, 9:12, 17:1, 18:6, 28:1-2, 34:6,15-17, 39:12, 40:1, 55:17, 56:9, 57:2, 61:1-2, 66:17, 86:3, 88:2, 107:19,28, 119:145,169, 141:1, 142:6, 145:19, Prov 8:1, Isa 12:6, 19:20, 24:14, 54:1, 58:1,9, Joe 1:14, Zech 1:14, Mat 14:30, 15:22, 20:30-31, Mark 10:47-48, Lk 18:7, Lk 19:40, Gal 4:27
- Praise, Dancing in – Ex 15:20, Ps 149:3, 150:4, 2Sam 6:14, Eccl 3:4, Jer 31:13
- Praise, Instrument used to – 2Sam 6:5, 1Chr 15:16, 16:42, 2Chr 5:13, 7:6, 29:27, 30:21, Psa 33:2, 68:25-26, 87:1-2, 6-7, 92:3, 144:9, 150:1-6, Isa 38:20, Mt 5:16-18, Lk 15:11-25, 24:44-45
- Praise, Lifting Hands in – Ps 28:2, 63:4, 134:2, 119:48, 134:2, 141:2, 1Kin 8:22-23, Lam 2:19, 3:41, Neh 8:6, 1Tim 2:8, Heb 12:12
- Praise, Shouting in – Ps 5:11, 32:11, 35:27, 47:1, 132:9,16, Lev 9:24, Jos 6:5-20, 1Sam 4:5-6, 2Sam 6:15, 1Chr 15:28, 2Chr 13:15, 15:14, Ezr 3:11-13, Isa 12:6, 42:11, 44:23, Jer 20:16, 31:7, Zep 3:14, Zec 9:9
- Praise, Singing in – Ps 7:17, 9:2,11, 28:2, 34:17, 145:19, 1 Chr 6:32, 2Chr 5:13, 23:18, Ezr 3:11, Isa 38:20, Rom 15:9, 1Cor 14:15, Eph 5:19, Col 3:16, Heb 2:12, James 5:13