And Mary said: “My soul glorifies the Lord and my spirit rejoices in God my Savior, for the Mighty One has done great things for me — holy is his name.”
They used to be called choir directors. Over the years their title has been revised to music minister, minister of music, worship leader, minister of praise and worship, etc. Their basic function is to get our hearts and minds lifted in praise to God.
They are like cheerleaders, especially in contemporary church settings. They dance, shout, jump, and sing repetitive choruses in an attempt to whip us into a frenzy of praise. Whether that is a right or wrong approach is a debate for another time and place. Let it suffice to say — praise is essential to the life of the believer.
Did you ever say to someone, “You look good in that dress?” Or, “that color looks good on you.” Sometimes we actually mean those words, but often we’re just being nice; programmed expressions without heartfelt meaning.
Unfortunately, this kind of shallow praise can carry over in your relationship to God. You sing along with a favorite hymn or praise song while your mind focuses on another matter.
Praise that honors God must be genuine with the utmost integrity. Disingenuous praise misses the mark.
What I remember most about my first year in high school was crying cheerleaders. That’s because we had the poorest football team in the area and possibly the worst in state history. In an entire season our team was winless. Didn’t score a single point. No. Not one.
Nonetheless, the cheerleaders did their best to get the crowd into the game. How hard it must have been to shout, “Push ’em back, push ’em back, way back,” when they knew it wasn’t going to happen. And they could yell “go team go” all they wanted. But there was no way our team was going to “go,” in the right direction. To their credit, the girls kept cheering, albeit through tears.
Sometimes faith is like that. You still have it, still trust God. But your circumstances have caused inner turmoil and pain.
Have you ever been so overwhelmed by hardship you cried and praised God at the same time? There’s nothing wrong with it. Praise should be genuine welling up from the depths of our being.
Honesty in praise is filled with heart and soul. And when you can praise despite your sorrow, then you know your faith and love for God is genuine.
I have learned that praising God from a broken heart always generates healing and hope. There is no greater stress reliever.
Then there are those times in our lives when God does something incredibly amazing. In the selected scripture for today, Mary launches into a personal symphony of praise at the revelation of what God was doing in her life. “My soul glorifies the Lord and my spirit rejoices in God my Savior, for the Mighty One has done great things for me — holy is his name.”
She didn’t need the motivation of a worship leader. She only needed the realization of the work of God in her life. Her worship was highly personal and genuine, flowing from the depths of her being.
Here’s the bottom line on praise. Praise grows as you mature in your walk with God. The closer you get to the Lord, the more you will be aware of His awesome involvement in your life. Even in your darkest hour, you know His love is unwavering.
As His grace, mercy, goodness, provision, protection, and faithfulness grow in meaning, so will your heartfelt praise and adoration.
Your worship leader will no longer be a man or a woman — but God Himself. He is the greatest worship leader of all time.
For more on this topic, check out this article: The Song in Your Heart
Reprinted from The Forever Notebook, Book 4 (October – December) Get your copy here: Paperback and eBook/Kindle formats.