The Power of Worship in Prayer

on Thursday, 04 July 2013.

Worship in heaven

There's a description of worship in heaven to be found in the fourth chapter of Revelation. John was taken up through a door to behold a scene that must have been mind blowing. He would need the help of the Holy Spirit to describe the heavenly scene in earthly language. I remember reading how, when they first saw a steam train travelling across the plains of the United States, native Americans described it as an 'iron horse'. They had no language or experience to comprehend the sight they beheld. How much more difficult is John's task, to convey the wonder of the throne of God, the sights and sounds around it, the four living creatures covered all over their bodies with eyes, and the 24 elders encircling the throne.

There are signs of great power – the flashes of lightning, the thunder, the glorious light, the sevenfold Spirit of God, the sea like glass that allows heaven to see perfectly through to the earth below, the four living creatures equipped with wings that allow them to circle the One at the centre of the throne. They are totally covered with eyes so they can see as much of God as possible and speak of each new revelation of his holy nature. Then there are the 24 elders, who were once sinners just like we were, and redeemed by Jesus the Messiah, just as we were. And each time the living creatures reveal some new aspect of God's holy nature, the elders fall down in worship. The 'wow' factor is out of this world! Now that's a worship meeting! Who would not be able to worship in that place?

Holy, holy, holy
is the Lord God Almighty,
who was and is and is to come.

Worship in the wilderness

Now let's turn to the fourth chapter of Matthew and we find ourselves in the wilderness. Jesus is there. Following his baptism, the Holy Spirit has led him there and he's been fasting for 40 days. His body has reached the limit of endurance and he needs food to stay alive. Now enter Satan. He has some ideas for Jesus to deal with his needs. Jesus is the Word made flesh, so he can speak to a stone and turn it into bread for his stomach. But Jesus has eternity in mind and the bread of the word of God is life feeds you forever. (Deut 8: 3 & John 4:34).

Next, he offers an idea for Jesus to get his message across. A squadron of angels catching him as he plummets from the temple will really draw the crowds. But testing God is not on Jesus' agenda (Deut 6:16). He will do this God's way. (God only asks us to test him in one thing: bringing the whole tithe, so that he can open the floodgates of blessing – Malachi 3:8-10).

And finally a short cut to becoming king of the earth and all its kingdoms. Just worship me, says Satan and I'll give it all to you. So now we come to worship again.

But Jesus proclaims that only God is to be worshipped (Deut 6:13). Jesus' reply is a double whammy against Satan. Lucifer, as he once was, was in charge of worship in heaven, until he thought that he should himself be the object of worship (Isaiah 14:12-15 & Ezekiel 28:11-19). And for his arrogance and pride he was cast from his role and position. Now all he has is what Adam gave him in the Garden of Eden, and Jesus has come to take that from him and leave him with nothing. Absolutely nothing!

And as Jesus turns to worship God, Satan is reminded of what he once had, but threw away and of what he is about to lose. In the fellowship of worship between Jesus and his Father, Satan is pushed out and excluded and has to leave.

You are worthy, our Lord and God,
to receive glory and honour and power,
for you created all things,
and by your will they were created and have their being

Worship only God

And God spoke all these words:
"I am the Lord your God, who brought you out of Egypt, out of the land of slavery.
"You shall have no other gods before me.
"You shall not make for yourself an idol in the form of anything in heaven above or on the earth beneath or in the waters below. You shall not bow down to them or worship them; for I, the Lord your God, am a jealous God, punishing the children for the sin of the fathers to the third and fourth generation of those who hate me, but showing love to a thousand [generations] of those who love me and keep my commandments.". - Exod 20:1-6

God's word is unambiguous. He commands us to worship him alone, and have no other gods.

Some think that God is a big egotist, demanding that we worship him, giving him all the attention, that he 'feeds' off our worship. Is he really like that? What a monster he would be if that were true.

The reality is that God is jealous for us, not wanting any harm to come to us. We were created in his image so he knows what's good for us and what isn't. That's why he warned Adam in the garden to stay clear of the one tree whose fruit would take his life. (Genesis 2:15-17)

Worship – a community of love

'Worship', or 'worth-ship', is the expression of the worth of someone or something. Our thoughts, what we say and what we do, show what we give worth to. Whatever is in our hearts, that is what is important and central at any point in time.

The same applies to God. The Bible makes it clear that our wellbeing is at the centre of God's heart. He knows how valuable we are, our worth or, if you like, God worships us!

We are so important to him that he gave his Son to win us back. "For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life." - John 3:16. That is not the action of an egotistical god, but the ultimate expression of love of a Father who loves us beyond reason. The word used in the New Testament for God's love, agape, means to cherish, to esteem, to value, to see the worth of.

Now, we see the worth of God to each and every one of us. His command to worship him is not to feed his ego, but to draw us into the understanding of his love over us, his deep concern for our future.

"For I know the plans I have for you, plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future. Then you will call on me and come and pray to me, and I will listen to you. You will seek me and find me when you seek me with all your heart. I will be found by you..." Jeremiah 29:11-13

What is man that you are mindful of him, the son of man that you care for him.
You made him a little lower than the heavenly beings and crowned him with glory and honour. - Psalm 8: 3-5.

The Lord your God is with you, he is mighty to save. He will take great delight in you, he will quiet you with his love, he will delight over you with singing – Zephaniah 3:17.

Yet you are enthroned as the Holy One, you are the praise (inhabit the praise) of Israel - Psalm 22:3.

These are just a small sample of the words in the Bible that describe his love for us, his call to intimacy.

How can I not worship my beautiful Lord who rescued me from the pit of hell, from all I deserve, who did not even wait for me to cry out to him before he came to save me (Romans 5:6-8)

Every time we come before God in prayer and worship,he strengthens

our understanding of his will for us and excludes the schemes of the enemy.

Holy, holy, holy is the Lord God Almighty,
who was and is and is to come.

You are worthy, our Lord and God,
to receive glory and honour and power,
for you created all things,
and by your will they were created and have their being.

© PRAYERHUB MINISTRIES

Bible quotations from The Holy Bible: New International Version.