THE POWER OF PRAISE
Excerpts of Pastor Idowu Iluyomade's Sermon at the December 2016 Thanksgiving Service on Sunday, December 4, 2016
The Lord has declared this month as the month of celebrations, and I prophesy that shouts of hallelujah and celebrations will resound in our lives and our homes in Jesus Mighty Name. To celebrate means to rejoice and jubilate. The opposite of celebration is mourning, sadness, grief, sorrow, etc. Celebration is usually demonstrated with praising, worshiping, singing and dancing in an atmosphere of joy.
When Do We Celebrate?
We celebrate when we are happy, victorious, when expectations have been met, or requests have been granted. I prophesy into your life that your celebration and rejoicing will be awesome because God will answer you today in Jesus Mighty name.
When God answers prayers, it is natural for people to rejoice. In 1 Samuel 18:6-7, after David killed Goliath, the women went out singing and dancing saying: “Saul has slain his thousands, and David his ten thousands”. In Luke 2:13, when Christ, our Saviour was born, suddenly there appeared an angel with a multitude of Heavenly Host celebrating and praising God saying: "Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace, good will toward men" (Luke 2:14), because the Saviour had been born.
Celebration is a show of gratitude. It is a way of saying, 'Thank you.’ When David went back to retrieve the Ark of the Covenant (after the previous celebration had been abruptly halted due to the death of Uzzah, who in a bid to stabilize the Ark, touched it), he celebrated by dancing before God. 2 Samuel 6:13-14 says "And it was so, that when they that bare the Ark of the LORD had gone six paces, he sacrificed oxen and fatlings. And David danced before the LORD with all his might; and David was girded with a linen ephod.” David sacrificed unto God in celebration, slaughtering a lot of animals to show gratitude to God. David's priestly garment – a linen ephod, though regal, did not stop him from dancing before God with reckless abandon. The gratitude came from within his heart, as he threw caution to the wind. The significant thing David did was that at every six steps, he celebrated. From Scriptures, we see that when God performed a miracle in the lives of the patriarchs, they built an altar, and they celebrated. This implies that we need to be celebrating every milestone in our lives. In 2016, there were twelve significant milestones in our lives worthy of celebrations, being that God preserved our lives and provided for us – every month from January to December.
For us in the City of David, we have celebrated different milestones starting from January, to show gratitude to God for how He has kept us, fulfilled His promises to us, showed us His mercy, and performed creative miracles, signs and wonders.
This is the order in which we celebrated each milestone in 2016:
January - The LORD's Presence
February - God's Faithfulness
March - Divine Favour
April - Total Deliverance
May - Grace To Help
June - Above And Beyond
July - Remembrance
August - At Last
September - Unending Praise
October - Great Expectations
November - Divine Restoration
December - Celebrations
For some people, celebrating might be tough because of bereavement, negative occurrence, or delayed answers, but the truth is, this should be the best moment to praise God. You should not allow your circumstance to cause you to lose focus, as it is the same God that gives you the reason to celebrate. Satan wants you to lose focus by concentrating on the negatives in your life, Instead of looking through the eyes of faith, knowing that without faith you cannot please God. It Is in the light of this that the Bible says in Isaiah 54:1-2: "Sing, O barren, thou that didst not bear; break forth into singing, and cry aloud, thou that didst not travail with child: for more are the children of the desolate than the children of the married wife, saith the LORD. Enlarge the place of thy tent, and let them stretch forth the curtains of thine habitations: spare not, lengthen thy cords, and strengthen thy stakes." You should prepare for what God has in store for you by trusting Him. The Bible tells us in Romans 4:20 that whilst Abraham was waiting for the child of promise, he staggered not at the promise of God through unbelief; but was strong in faith, giving glory to God. Inspite of the fact that his body and the body of his wife Sarah were dead, he chose to ignore every negative occurrence in his life and focused on God’s promise to give him a child, knowing that with God nothing shall be impossible. The Bible says that Abraham was strong in faith, giving glory to God inspite of his apparent barrenness. Celebrating in such circumstances can only be a sacrifice of praise. It is not easy to do. In such circumstances, David encourages us in Psalm 34:1 that we should bless the Lord at all times and His praise should continually be in our mouths, inspite of our circumstances. We need to understand that God’s ways are different from our ways (Isaiah 55:8). As such, instead of allowing your present circumstance to overwhelm you causing you to having a pity party; God is saying that in such circumstance you need to put the devil to shame by lifting up your feeble hands, rising up, praising God and celebrating the God that can replace beauty for ashes, the oil of joy for mourning, and the garment of praise for the spirit of heaviness (Isaiah 61:3).
Truths About The Power Of Praise
There is power in praising God.
1. When you are faced with the enemy and you need victory, praise God like Jehoshaphat did in 2 Chronicles 20:22. God set an ambush against his enemies, vanquished them and granted him victory. When you praise God, God pays attention to your needs and visits the situation and crushes all your enemies. Psalm 22:3 says "But thou art holy, O thou that inhabitest the praises of Israel."
2. When you are faced with a wall of resistance; if things are tough or if an embargo has been placed on your progress by the enemy, praise God. Praise is what will bring down the walls of resistance and give you breakthroughs as in the case of Joshua and the children of Israel in Jericho, when their praises caused all the walls of Jericho to fall down flat (Joshua 6:20). As you praise God, all the walls that have hindered your progress will come down in Jesus Mighty name.
3. If you want deliverance from the attacks of the enemy, then praise God. When Saul was demonized in 1 Samuel 16:23, David was invited to sing praises to God, bringing healing and deliverance to Saul. As you worship and praise God, whatever might be plaguing you or any spirit causing your problems will disappear in Jesus Mighty name.
4. If you want freedom and all doors to be opened unto you, praise God. When you are hedged in by chains and obstacles and you want to be free, as you praise God the same way Paul and Silas did in Acts 16:25-26, you will receive your freedom and the foundation of your problems and everything stopping your rapid progress will be shattered in Jesus Mighty name.
5. If you want to silence all your mockers and enemies, praise God. Every mocker, foe and avenger shall be silenced according to Psalm 8:2 [NIV] which says "Through the praise of children and infants you have established a stronghold against your enemies, to silence the foe and the avenger" As you praise God, He will silence every mocker, foe and avenger in your life in Jesus Mighty name.
6. If you need a great idea, divine insight or revelation that will give you an edge and cause the operation of the miraculous in your life, then you need to praise God (2 Kings 3:15-20). As you praise God, He will give you great ideas and answer your prayers, because with Him, nothing shall be impossible.
7. If you want judgment upon your enemies and if you want them to stop their operations in your life, then praise God. Psalm 149:6-9 says "Let the high praises of God be in their mouth, and a two-edged sword in their hand; To execute vengeance upon the heathen, and punishments upon the people; to bind their kings with chains, and their nobles with fetters of iron; To execute upon them the judgment written: this honour have all his saints. Praise ye the Lord.” As you praise God, you will not see your enemies again in Jesus Mighty name.
One of the most profound revelations of the power of praise is in the story of Hezekiah. He was a great king who rebuilt altars, restored holiness and did great exploits. He had access to God (Isaiah 37:33-35). He was a good man and had seen the hand of God during his reign. So when he fell ill, he must have been shocked. When he heard Isaiah was around, he must have been happy that God had finally remembered him and sent a word of healing, but surprisingly Isaiah told him in Isaiah 38:1 "...This is what the LORD says; Put your house in order, because you are going to die; you will not recover." Hezekiah then turned to the wall, pleading his cause in accordance with Isaiah 43:26 which says "Put me in remembrance: let us plead together: declare thou, that thou mayest be justified." However, Hezekiah’s case was a bit difficult, not only because the verdict of death was from God, but the fact that the verdict was not because of sin, but that his time on earth had simply expired according to God’s timetable. It would appear that from Hezekiah’s account in Isaiah 38:9, what changed God’s mind was not so much the exploits he had done, which was in his resume, but the fact that he was a worshiper of God, because in verse 18 and 19, Hezekiah changed his prayer that if God allowed him to die, God would have lost a worshiper. He cried to God saying: "For the grave cannot praise thee, death cannot celebrate thee: they that go down into the pit cannot hope for thy truth. The living, the living, he shall praise thee, as I do this day: the father to the children shall make known thy truth."
Praise changes things with God because Jesus says in John 4:23 that God is hunting and looking for worshippers; those that can worship Him in spirit and in truth. There is a difference between when men worship and when angels worship. The thing that can turn the hand of God in any situation is when you praise Him, and that is what Hezekiah did. Even if your problem is coming from God, by the time you remind Him that the dead and the grave cannot praise Him, but only the living can praise Him as you do, God will reverse the verdict. I pray that very sentence of calamity, death, poverty, lack, shame, weeping, or sorrow upon you, shall be reversed as you begin to praise God like Hezekiah did. God will add years to your life and life to your years, and millions of blessings to you in Jesus Mighty name.
As you praise and celebrate God, dancing before Him, He will bless you according to Psalm 67:5-7 KJV, which says "Let the people praise thee, O God; let all the people praise thee. Then shall the earth yield her increase; and God, even our own God, shall bless us. God shall bless us; and all the ends of the earth shall fear Him."
Sin is the hindrance that can cause God not to perform wonders in your life. Isaiah 59:1&2 says " Behold, the Lord's hand is not shortened, that it cannot save; neither his ear heavy, that it cannot hear: But your iniquities have separated between you and your God, and your sins have hid his face from you, that he will not hear." If you are a sinner or you have not surrendered your life to Jesus Christ, when you lift your hands up in praise, God says He will hide His face because of your sins (Isaiah 1:15). However, when you give your life to Jesus Christ, though your sins may be as scarlet, they shall be as white as snow; though they may be red like crimson, they shall be as wool (Isaiah 1:18). If you want sorrow, weeping and struggles to end in your life, and you want God to intervene in your life so that you can celebrate, accept Jesus Christ as your personal Lord and Saviour. Don’t let anything hinder you from celebrating. If you are not sure your name is written in Heaven, then surrender your life to Jesus. If you are willing to repent and surrender your life to Jesus Christ, then pray this prayer right now: LORD Jesus, I come to You right now. I know I am a sinner, please forgive me my sins. With my mouth, I confess that Jesus, from today, I accept You as the LORD of my life. Change my heart from a disobedient heart to an obedient heart. Fill me with Your Holy Spirit. With my new heart, I believe that it is because of me that You came into this world; You died for my sins, You took away my sins, take away my problems, put an end to my struggles, and answer my cry today. Write my name in the Book of Life, and make me brand new in Jesus Mighty Name.
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