Let Us Keep on Praising Together

(Translated version, original article written on May 4th, 2020)

Brothers and Sisters, Shalom.

Has everyone seen any messages or video(s) promoting stretching exercises or on how to boost up our body immunity lately against the pandemic?  I remember a long time ago, there are brothers and sisters who encouraged me to try “Body Worship” – just an exercise with worship songs, as I recalled.  At that time, I always reminded myself to stay active through frequently stretching my body and muscles and avoiding sitting in front of my lap computer for too long. By the same token, what could we do to build up our “spiritual immunity”?  Let us put our focus on “praises” together!

When we Christians come together, we would often praise God with hymns. Ephesians 5:19 (ESV) said “addressing one another in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing and making melody to the Lord with your heart”.  Every time we worship, our worship apparently is for the one – our Lord, our God!   “Hallelujah!”, often heard in hymns”, means “Praise “ye” the Lord!”. Halle” means “praise” and “lu” means “you”.  And “jah” is the abbreviation of the Lord God (in Hebrew). The complete word “Hallelujah”, with the tone of command, is actually to remind the people of God: You “shall” praise God!

When we sing to God and praise the Lord, we will be drawn near to God and will have a stronger feeling of God’s presence and His supremacy. In the Bible, the Book of Chronicles recorded the history of how Jehoshaphat, the King of Judah, encountered the attack of his enemy. This is how it ended:

“And when he had taken counsel with the people, he appointed those who were to sing to the Lord and praise him in holy attire, as they went before the army, and say, “Give thanks to the Lord, for his steadfast love endures forever.”  And when they began to sing and praise, the Lord set an ambush against the men of Ammon, Moab, and Mount Seir, who had come against Judah, so that they were routed.” (2 Chronicles 20: 21-22)

What a surprise.  As they just began singing and praising God, their enemies were crushed by God immediately!

Another remarkable example was written in the New Testament during Apostle Paul’s second missionary trip to Philippi with Silas.  For the sake of the gospel, Paul and Silas had been first beaten and then thrown into prison, with their feet fastened.  Per the Scripture,

“About midnight Paul and Silas were praying and singing hymns to God, and the prisoners were listening to them, and 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 bonds were unfastened.” (Acts 16: 25-26)

The most amazing part was that a jailer and his whole family have all heard and believed the gospel of Jesus and were baptized in the name of the Lord!

In time of difficulties, never would we have forgotten to cry out to God in our prayers.  Yet, it was very likely that some of us may be lacking strength and energy and fail to open our mouths for singing praises and worshipping.  Yet, Paul and Silas were able to sing hymns and praise God at midnight while the jailers there were in sleep. How did they do it? By no means would they have used “singing praises” as a way to escape.  In fact, they did not run away even after the doors had been opened and their bonds had been unfastened.  I’ve really admired them, but I am even more amazed by God’s wonders!

If prayers are called the sounds of our cry, praises would be like our voices of triumph – knowing that we  are standing on God’s side and we can certainly do it!

“Do not be afraid and do not be dismayed at this great horde, for the battle is not yours but God’s.” (2 Chronicles 20:15b)

In the face of known or unknown challenges, let us sing praises to God loudly each time and fix our eyes upon our Almighty Father who is able and will lead us to victory!

Hallelujah! Praise (Ye) the Lord!

In Christ,
Pastor Hsiao