Rodney Sexton, UK
When, back in the 1970s, the Holy Spirit began a work of renewal in many churches, those of us who were involved had no idea of the changes it would lead to. We could see no biblical reason why the Gifts of the Spirit, listed particularly in 1 Corinthians 12, had ceased; we could also see that the recovery of those gifts was linked to being filled (or ‘baptised’) with (or ‘in’) (the) Holy Spirit (Acts 1:5; 2:1-4). As people were filled with the Spirit, many spoke in tongues, and other gifts began to appear amongst us.
That was just the beginning! We quickly found the style of church worship we had been used to did not adequately express what we were experiencing – the new joy and love for Jesus the Spirit had put within us. This should not have surprised us, as an immediate outcome of the coming of the Spirit on the Day of Pentecost was exuberant praise. “We hear them,” said the crowd that heard this, “declaring the wonders of God in our own languages!” (Acts 2:11); surely praise of the highest order. So, we began to ‘speak to one another with psalms, hymns and spiritual songs’ (Ephesians 4:19). We sang with our spirit; we sang with our mind (1 Corinthians 14:15). Psalm 150 came alive for us! There were times of magnificent praise and awesome silence (compare Habakkuk 2:20). Prophetic words started to flow…
Which brings me to Christian Life Fellowship, Bazna, Romania. On my many visits I have always received as much, if not more, than I have been able to give. God has granted them something unique regarding ‘high praise’. Language has never been a barrier in this.
One memorable evening, following the preaching, many came forward for prayer ministry. The band was loud, the singing enthusiastic, but the ministry seemed to be going nowhere. Then, suddenly, everything changed; people were being blessed, encouraged, and healed.
Afterwards I asked the leader what had happened. He said the band and singers had been praising God until they had reached a point when they knew he would move in power. Then they had prophetically sung, spoken and played their instruments over the people. Both the leader and I could identify the exact moment this had begun. The worship band reminded me of the singers and musicians of 1 Chronicles 25. Here was the link between praise, worship, and the release of the prophetic. (See also 2 Kings 3:15-16).
Whatever our country, location, culture, language, number of people or style of worship there is a principle here: when together we praise and worship God – Father, Son and Holy Spirit – fixing our gaze solely on Him, He comes to meet us with prophetic power.
Worship is two-way – we draw near to God and He comes to us in word, power, and love.