Derek Prince - The Power Of Praise
This excerpt is from: Thanksgiving, Praise and Worship
Then again, the seventh in this list of scriptural facts: Praise prepares the way for God's supernatural intervention. Let's look, first of all, in Psalm 50. Are you noticing how many times we're turning to the psalms in this theme of praise? Psalm 50, the closing verse, that's verse 23. God is speaking. And He says: 'Whoever offers praise glorifies me, and to him who orders his conduct aright, I will show the salvation of God.' But you'll notice that in my version the word 'aright' is in italics. It's put in by the translators. There is another legitimate way to translate that. 'To him who offers praise, he prepares a way that I may show him the salvation of God.' He prepares a way for the manifestation of salvation to come in his situation.
Now there's some beautiful examples of that. For instance, in 2 Chronicles 20. When Jehoshaphat was king of Judah, a vast army came marching against him from the southeast. And he knew that he did not have the personnel or the resources to meet that army. But he proclaimed a fast. He called all of God's people Judah together. And as they were fasting and praying, the Lord spoke prophetically through a Levite... and told them what to do. He said: 'You just have to go down to a certain place. You don't have to fight in this battle, the Lord will fight for you.' And Jehoshaphat said: 'Believe in the Lord God, and his prophets, and you will prosper.' So the next day they set out. And this is what happened. We're reading from verse 21 of 2 Chronicles 20. 'And when Jehoshaphat had consulted with the people, he appointed those who should sing to the LORD, and who should praise the beauty of holiness as they went out before the army, and were saying: "Praise the LORD, for His mercy endures forever".
You notice the same reason comes up again? 'Now when they began to sing and to praise, the LORD sent ambushes against the people of Ammon, Moab, and Mount Seir, who had come against Judah, and they were defeated.' And if you read the rest of the story, they didn't have to fight. They didn't have to use one single military weapon. The weapon of praise obtained for them total victory. And their enemies turned against each other and killed one another. And when they came to the battlefield, all their enemies were dead. All they had to do was take the spoil. What a tremendous picture of the power of praise. And then let's look at poor Jonah for a moment. Right in the middle of his problems. You know the story, he's in the belly of the fish and he's praying. And he prays quite a long while.
Jonah 2:2. And he says: 'Out of the belly of Sheol I cried, and you heard my voice. For you cast me into the deep,' etc. And he goes on praying for seven verses and nothing happens. The 8th verse, he starts to thank God, and the fish couldn't hold him any longer. Just read that last verse. Verse 9. 'But I will sacrifice to you with the voice of thanksgiving.' That really was a sacrifice. When you're in the belly of a fish, to start thanking God takes some determination. But it was worth it, it paid off. You see? 'I will pay what I have vowed. Salvation is from the LORD. So the LORD spoke to the fish and it vomited Jonah onto dry ground.' When did the Lord speak to the fish? When he began to praise and thank the Lord.
And then a beautiful example in the book of Acts in the ministry of Paul and Silas. Paul had got into the ministry of deliverance. He'd cast out a demon out of a fortune-telling woman. And the whole city was turned into an uproar. And Paul and Silas were badly beaten and ended up in the maximum security jail. They were at midnight. A brother of mine says they might have talked to each other this way: Silas could have said to Paul: 'Now why did you start to do deliverance? Everything was going all right until you started casting out demons.' But that isn't what they did. Let's read what they did. Acts 16:25. 'But at midnight, (the darkest hour), Paul and Silas, (in the maximum security jail), were praying and singing hymns to God, and the prisoners were listening to them.' They'd never had people like that in that jail before. 'Suddenly there was a great earthquake, so that the foundations of the prison were shaken... and immediately all the doors were opened, and everyone's chains were loosed.'
What released the earthquake? I mean, it was a supernatural earthquake that undid people's chains. It wasn't just an ordinary earthquake. What precipitated that earthquake? Praise, that's right. So the one who offers praise prepares a way for God to show him His salvation. Now let me briefly close with a little list. Without going into... All the references are given in your outline. First of all, when to praise God? And the answer is... every day, forever and ever, at all times, and continually. It leaves no doubt.
Now, how to praise God? With the whole heart, with understanding, with lifted hands, with joyful mouth and lips, lifting the hands, as an evening sacrifice, with the dance, with the timbrel and dance. The scripture references are given. Who is to praise God? Psalm 148 gives a list of 29 different kinds of people who are to praise God. And then, if you're still in doubt, Psalm 150 says: 'everything that has breath'. That leaves out nothing. But there's just one class of people who do not praise the Lord. Who's that? The dead. So you know your problem, don't you? If you're not praising the Lord, you've got your own diagnosis. You're not physically dead, but you are spiritually dead.