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song of praise

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Song of Praise

What do you think of when you hear that phrase?

If you're in the UK, then you may have heard of a BBC1 show called 'Songs of Praise' which many people picture as a bunch of mainly older women singing songs you've never heard of, or contemporary songs in a boring way... Sometimes there are great testimonies but Songs of Praise rarely captures the creativity, vibrancy and musical breadth of worship in the UK today!

But songs of praise isn't a programme - it's an attitude of worship!

(NB. There are lots of Youtube links in here. I have put titles in case links expire, plus direct links in case embedding videos doesn't work).

Songs of Praise, myfishbites style

Ok, so here are a few videos of worship hopefully with lots of life in. You may want to choose different ones relevant to you or your group, but here are some examples of some contemporary songs and some others in a different style.

Chris Tomlin & Lecrae - Awake My Soul - http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yOeGB_HIvWw

Ryan Konda - I've Got A Song To Sing - http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GZ4JP5H74Ss

(This song has been slightly updated since this, see from 17mins at http://www.ihopkc.org/prayerroom/#asset/131012_TPR_1800

Cory Asbury and team - Joyful Joyful - http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nUjCFO6w8A0

And for something a bit heavier (probably not heavy or fast enough for some!!)

Kutless - Strong Tower - http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tOxeyj7itJE

Finally, grimey dancey UK hip-hop with Guvna B - Free - http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fr4q92xb93Q

Bible - Isaiah 42.10-13

Sing to the Lord a new song,
his praise from the ends of the earth,
you who go down to the sea, and all that is in it,
you islands, and all who live in them.
Let the wilderness and its towns raise their voices;
let the settlements where Kedar lives rejoice.
Let the people of Sela sing for joy;
let them shout from the mountaintops.
Let them give glory to the Lord
and proclaim his praise in the islands.
The Lord will march out like a champion,
like a warrior he will stir up his zeal;
with a shout he will raise the battle cry
and will triumph over his enemies.

Write Your Own Worship Song

You can do this in one of four ways depending on your group...

1. If someone plays guitar / keys, or you have a band, get them to play a 1-2minute piece of easy music say for example in the Key of G. So maybe G, Em, C, D etc. Get them to loop the tune a few times.

2. Alternatively, you can just get a nice breakbeat going if people can / want to rap. You can download ones off youtube, or I've got a bunch of backing tracks at www.soundclick.com/zerofourhiphop . If people can't rap, they can write a poem and then speak this out.

3. You don't need any music, just give people time to write a worship song, they don't even have to sing it!

4. Use a backing track off youtube eg http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=16cWd3fli6E

At the end, get people to sing (play the backing track as they sing or get your band to play live). Or read / rap their songs (or you read it out if they're embarrassed). Give about 10mins max for this as of course some will enjoy it and some will get bored if this goes on too long!

Worship and the The New Song

Do you realise that God is raising up a worship movement around the world? Often the worship comes with a lot of prayer as well. It's a huge global movement and something that God is doing in the hearts of hundreds of thousands of people. God draws us closer to him and works in our life changing us from the inside out as he "works in you to will and to act in order to fulfil his good purpose" (Philippians 2.13). This is what God is doing in the earth with his church - drawing us closer to him and the church is responding through worship back to God! There are songs rising up around the world, just as the Bible says will happen here in Isaiah 42 and elsewhere in the Bible.

Sing a new song - no it's not just the cry of a church to a worship leader who's been singing the same song for the last half hour, it's something more. If a new album comes out from your favourite band, artist, group - it's exciting to hear new songs. At times the band may create a slightly different sound which communicates they are going in a new direction perhaps to be creative or maybe a lead singer has left the band etc.

Often when God moves in powerful ways, it's accompanied by a passion for prayer, a new found passion for Jesus among young people or a whole new bunch of worship songs that seem to rise up. That's why it's very important the songs we write and sing are truthful and accurate to the Bible. The songs we sing and write need to be fuelled and filled from the Bible and the Holy Spirit. In recent years we've seen some amazing new worship movements and prayer movements rise up. Many religious people don't like them but the truth is people are fed up with doing religion or church and just want Jesus! This is the song we see in Isaiah 42.

We used to run a youth service but gradually the church changed something that was young people led to simply filling adult roles and ways of doing things with young people. The new song that was rising up (from the young people) was crushed and the service died. We can do the same in our churches in worship if we try to hold back what God wants to do. We should always be listening to God and what he is doing and saying. I have a passion that we must always empower / help young people to breathe their life, ideas and give them freedom to follow what God is doing in them.

In Isaiah 42, this new song rises up. The purpose of the song is simple. It's to praise God, to give glory to God and to proclaim his praise. I've got nothing against 'secular music' at all but I find it really hard to learn and remember songs when we play out in cafes. But when it comes to worship, I always remember the parts and feel a passion. If I try and write a song or a rap it's about God within a few words, I can't help it! Why? Because my calling is into directly praising God through song, beats and raps...

This is what is happening in Isaiah 42 and it's contagious... This new sound spreads across the whole earth (just what's happening today!) with one purpose - to praise, glorify and lift up God's great name. Look at where it goes - to the sea and all that's in the sea; the islands and all who live in them; the desert towns; the settlements of Kedar; the people of Sela and from the mountaintops. This isn't just a song but a general song of praise that rises up from God's people across the whole earth and it's amazing! The thing is that it's unstoppable. No-one can stop you from praising God. And we see across the globe that a joy is rising up in God's people more and more in worship!

Ephesians 5.19 talks about singing music from (or in) our hearts. Even if you can't sing or don't like to sing out loud (or maybe you're in a circumstance where you can'y sing out) you can still sing in your heart!

What happens in Isaiah 42 as a result of this song of praise?

The Lord will march out like a champion,
like a warrior he will stir up his zeal;
with a shout he will raise the battle cry
and will triumph over his enemies.

Basically as worship rises up, God moves in power. I heard the true story of a woman in India who saw God move amazingly as she just went out and played her guitar. One day a priest from a local temple came towards her threateningly. But she started singing songs about the blood of Jesus and he suddenly ran away terrified back into the temple. The people around the lady all wanted to know about Jesus because they realised there was a power in the name of Jesus that was awesome and beyond the power of the Hindu priest.

As we sing, God will and does move. We may not see it or understand it. We don't sing to get God to do things. We sing because we love him and we focus our hearts on him, giving him all we are. As we do this, God fights our battles. Matthew 6.33 says that as we seek God and his kingdom and his right way of living and being, he sorts every 'thing' else out.

We need to worship God in these days. We want to shout the glory and truth of God in a world that doesn't believe God and wants to silence God's people. Instead, let's lift up God and see the King of Heaven's armies go to battle in the spiritual world and triumph over the enemy! This means that the evil spiritual forces are defeated - our battle isn't against people!!

Matt Redman on Heart of Worship

Direct link - http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=m83TSHhg-jU

Write Down things you can thank God for

Philippians 4.4-7 - Rejoice in the Lord always. I will say it again: rejoice! Let your gentleness be evident to all. The Lord is near. Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.

Philippians focuses on us rejoicing in the Lord (that means being thankful) and then specifically says that when we pray we present our requests to God with thanksgiving. Thanks is so important in life - it shows we're grateful and appreciate others. When we thank God we're honouring him.

Psalm 100.4 - Enter his gates with thanksgiving and his courts with praise; give thanks to him and praise his name.

Some ideas of things we can thank God for:

For Jesus; for our friends; family; any health with have; stuff that God's done for us; people who've helped us; for answering prayer; that God never leaves us or forgets us; that God loves us so much that Jesus died to free us from sin and give us life; that God has good plans for our life; that God can make a way even when there seems to be no way; that God is our help, strength, refuge, fortress and high tower (place of safety); that God gives us life; that he gives us eternal life...

To End - The global song of praise

Just watch this to end (and sing along!!)

Chris Tomlin - How Great Is Our God (World Edition) from Passion - http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vg5qDljEw7Q

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