Nothing will ever take the place of prayer.
Praise is a perfect way of expressing our love for a god, but it is only a reaction to a true relationship that is cultivated through the practice of prayer. Having said that, a wonderful, well-executed song or sermon from a prolific and anointed Man or Woman of God can do wonders for uplifting the spirit. A good Word or a corporate praise can miraculously break the bonds of depression or hopelessness and give one encouragement. However nothing – and I mean nothing – can ever supersede the power of prayer.
In recent months, I have heard in recordings, sermons and exhortations things of this nature:
“Praise will bring you out”
“Praise Him and He’ll turn it around”
“your praise will fight for you”
“Praise is your weapon”
…and quite a few more things along these lines.
I am not here to downplay praise, but I have noticed the emphasis being placed on outward displays and the shifting away from the things that were deemed as the foundation of the church that we know today – prayer and fasting.
Praise and Worship alone cannot work unless put in their proper place. When one is outside the friendly confines of church, one still needs to commune with God. In order to make the church experience effective, there must be an underlying bed of prayer laid or else, our efforts are nothing more than pomp and circumstance. Simply put, if we never dance again, if the choir is disbanded and if we never have a Praise & Worship leader, we will always need to pray.
Why, you ask?
For privacy’s sake, there are things I can say in individual prayer that cannot be spoken and may not be appropriate to the ears of others. Some things I need to say to God are for His ears from my lips and no amount of praise leading or pushing can fully express exactly what I need to tell Him. I can be specific in my needs to God and take my time to express how I am feeling without the judgment or condemnation of others.
I can encourage the Body by praying openly (if I have the Gift of Prayer, ) for the things that are needed across the Body. My intercession is to reinforce what is in the hearts and minds of the people and even to speak what they are unable to speak themselves. Along with that, public prayer is a tool to loose the power of God across a congregation to do as He wills for every individual.
In my own life, there were times when I was too weak to solicit God for myself. Drowning in worry of blind-sided by the issues of life, I need an intercessor to go before the throne on my behalf. If we stop praying, who is going to go to God for us?
In conclusion, I was taught that prayer is not a soliloquy but a conversation. It is fulfilling when a God, that rules all, bows down and comforts me with a simple Word, an unction or a mere sensation of comfort.
When I have been in contact with Him regularly, I can more aptly attest to His goodness and my praise is no longer a way to get “over the hump” of emotion. It becomes a confirmed agreement to what is being preached or spoken openly. After prayer, my praise becomes a witness to His faithfulness as well as an abrupt opposition to things that are contrary to His character (and His Word)
Support, guidance, direction, an answer can only be found in constant prayer. Please, let us not forget the importance of prayer and remember its preeminence in our religious experience. I would hate for an entire generation to have lost out on the thing that got us to this point by thinking that a good praise will help us overcome our hurdles. We need to pray now more than ever before. Remember, the enemy desires to sift us as wheat. He seeks to do this by dissension among us as well as separating us from the landmarks we know to be firm. Don’t give any place to the devil. Pray, Christian! Pray!