“ But the hour is coming, and now is, when the true worshipers will worship the Father in spirit and truth; for the Father is seeking such to worship Him.– John 4:23 New King James Version (NKJV)
People often say, ” let’s do praise and worship” and that’s fine, but praise can be shallow and done out of tradition rather than a real desire to know God. As scripture says, “These people honor me with their mouth but their hearts are far from me” (Matthew 15:8 ) or the Contemporary English Version translates it,“ All of you praise me with your words, but you never really THINK about me”. It’s obvious that people can give thoughtless praise to God, and never come to the realization of who God truly is, and how their hearts need transformation. So…what if we replaced thoughtless “ Praise ” with thoughtful “ Prayer ” and Worship?
Prayer and Worship is something of revelation and transformation. It’s built on the ACTS Prayer model which is Adoration, Confession, Thanksgiving, and Supplication.
With Adoration, we buy into God and realize his sovereignty over everything just as Jesus taught us to pray “ Our Father in Heaven, Holy is your name…” that’s why I like starting off with songs like “ Father, Jesus, Holy Spirit ” by Fred Hammond, and “Greatness of Our God” by Newsboys because it’s through adoration we separate God from idols, and come before him with the understanding that He is the answer.
Then we Confess our need for him as the scripture says, “ Blessed are the poor in spirit ” (Matthew 5:3) meaning those who “ realize, their “ spiritual depravity ” as John Stott put it… “ for theirs is the Kingdom ”. In confession, I sing songs like “ Heart of Worship” and reflect on how much I need God. I can also confess “ Who You Say I Am” and the other promises of God.
Then with Thanksgiving, we remember God’s providence, and how he brought us out before. We, humans, have a bad habit of forgetting, but when we remember what God did for us in the past, we don’t freak out about the present or future, because what God did before he will do again. Songs like “ You Made a Way ” by Travis Greene go perfect here.
Finally in Supplication we ask God to fill us with the Holy Spirit so that our thoughts will be aligned with his thoughts , and our perspective aligned with his perspective. It’s in this attitude that we ask for Kingdom things, and God supplies his power so that we produce them.
” Prayer and Worship” is powerful because it makes us to realize who God is ( Adoration ), who we are, where we are, and where we need to be ( Confession ). Then it helps us to think of God’s providence, and solutions ( Thanksgiving ). Finally, it gives us transformative power through the Holy Spirit ( Supplication ) so that the Kingdom of God reveals itself through us on earth as it is in heaven.