I believe angels are attracted to our praise. When we lift up the name of God, the ears of heavenly beings pay close attention. During tehillah praise, which is a spontaneous outburst of praise, we are singing a new song with the breath of the Holy Spirit on it. And that is the key—our praise and our songs are dead without God's Spirit, just as the Word is lifeless without the Holy Spirit's breath.
God wants our praise to be powerful. After all, He created us in His image to rule and reign. His desire is to see a worshiping bride that enforces His kingdom through its adoration of Him. Often, however, we get used to wrong perspective. We need to praise from heaven to earth, not from earth to heaven. When we praise from heaven, our focus isn't on our current situation but on the outcome of our faith.
I've heard countless people counter with this argument: "If I praise God like that, in the midst of all the junk, then I'm just faking it." Not true at all! Hebrews 11:6 says that "without faith it is impossible to please Him." Real faith is praising God through all the "stuff" and declaring His reality over our own.
I have experienced this ever since I was young. I remember as a kid lying in bed with my dad and mom night after night feeling totally oppressed. I had these demonic experiences when fear would come over me and I felt out of control. The only thing that would help during these times was praise. Sometimes we would sing all night; other times we sang only for minutes. But every time we praised the name of God the oppression broke.
Psalm 22:3 says that God inhabits the praises of His people. There is probably nothing I love more than leading worship and having God show up. I love when a song ends and the people continue to praise and we move into the creative realms of God.
In these kinds of moments lives are changed and people come into true worship. All worship is a response to a revelation of God. It is impossible to truly worship our God without a revelation of who He is and what He has done for us.
When I lead worship I try to paint pictures with the music and the lyrics that portray God. Practically speaking, I connect the lyrics and the music so if there were no words the music would convey the same message or feeling all by itself.
I thinks it's important for us as worship leaders to remember that if we can point people to God and they get a revelation of who God is, we won't have to cheerlead worship anymore. When the atmosphere of heaven is in the room the response will take care of itself.
People want to touch heaven and feel His presence. We have a responsibility as believers to host the presence of God.
A lot of people have this mind-set: "If God wants to show up He will." The truth is, God always wants to show up! He wants to inhabit our praise. If worship feels dry it's not because God is taking a day off and decided not to show up.
We are the conduits of heaven; we are the ones who carry the presence of God.
Brian Johnson and his wife, Jenn, serve as worship pastors at Bethel Church in Redding, Calif. They have written numerous songs that have become favorites in churches worldwide. For more information, visit brianandjennjohnson.com.
Six Bethel Church worship leaders, including Brian and Jenn Johnson, take part on Bethel Worship Live: You Are Good (ibethel.org). Blending raw, spontaneous songs with more produced tracks, this latest CD offers a fresh, anointed worship experience.