In 1963, prayer was officially taken out of the school system here in the United States. Since that time, we have seen the decline of moral values, and it has impacted every segment of society in some manner. The removal of prayer was calculated, and it was successful.
As we navigate through the pandemic, one of the issues currently being debated is corporate worship. As you read through this word, I ask that we all remember a couple of things.
- As the body of Christ, we need to remember that we have many wonderful people making the best decisions that they can make. Scripture states that our battle is not against each other, but it is against principalities and powers (Eph 6:12). We must extend grace and mercy to those around us.
- We also need wisdom that flows from Heavenly Realms. Matthew 10:16 reminds us to be as "wise as serpents and yet as harmless as doves."
I hear the Courts of Heaven sounding an alarm. Immediately I am reminded of a smoke alarm going off to warn us that there is smoke, and where there is smoke, there is often fire. I hear God saying that “My people are at a critical moment and how they handle this moment, as the body of Christ, will impact whether the church moves forward or becomes silent."
In the letter to the church in Laodicea (Revelation 3:14-22), the Lord points out that the church is lukewarm, neither cold nor hot. I would suggest that through the events of life, this church has become neutralized, ineffective, and harmless to the enemy. By today's standard, you could say that they gather corporately but have no impact from either an earthly nor from a Heavenly perspective. Therefore, they do not model the love, power, or presence of Almighty God.
The body of Christ has done a fantastic shift to on-line platforms through a necessary season; however, in the midst of that, we cannot make other sacrifices that will weaken the church's power and allow it to become just another gathering. For years I have taught that the body of Christ needs to take off their "masks" so they can truly reflect the image of God. A mask covers your features and, when over your mouth, muffles your voice.
At present, there is a battle brewing to silence corporate worship in many areas. Some will argue that worship can take place at home. It can, it should, and it must. However, that can never negate the need for corporate worship. Some will argue that the projected vocal power from singing can spread germs; that may be true, but…what price are we going to pay from a spiritual perspective. The other side is that corporate worship sends demons fleeing, breaks down walls, opens up the Heavens, ushers in Healing, paves the way for God's presence, and more.
Remember, we have health officials all over the world who have been lovingly concerned about the spreading of Covid19, and we need to honor their efforts. Is it possible that the enemy has used good intentions to host another agenda within some aspects of the guidelines that are coming forth? Recall again, that we need to be wise as serpents and harmless as doves. Remember who our battle is against. It is not against each other.
The Lord says, "Satan has changed/disguised himself as an angel of light or of goodness with a mission to take worship out of the church" (see 2 Corinthians 11:14). If Satan can steal worship from the Bride of Christ - He also steals away the fullness of God’s kingdom.
Psalm 100:4 is very clear that we enter His gates with Thanksgiving and His courts with Praise. Psalm 22:3 talks about God being enthroned in the holy place where the praises are offered or inhabits the praises of his people. God desires our Praise. There is power in worship.
In 2 Chronicles 20, we have the account of King Jehoshaphat, a king at war. All the armies of their enemies had banded together and declared war on Jehoshaphat, and he was terrified. His solution, even amid his fear, was to pray. He gathered the people, and they prayed, they fasted, and they listened. Verse 21 tells us that "After consulting the people, the king appointed singers to walk ahead of the army, singing to the Lord and praising him for his holy Splendor." I love that the king consulted the people, it doesn’t say that God commanded them to have the singers lead the way, but that is what they did. They realized the power of worshipping God almighty as they headed into battle. They knew the only way they could win was with His help. This decision created an atmosphere shift that would not happen any other way. The people didn't look at the size of their enemy; they looked at their God's capacity to save them. Verse 22, "At the very moment they began to sing and give Praise, the Lord caused the armies…to fight among themselves."
There is an alarm sounding in the Heavens. The question is being asked, “Is my church going to allow herself to be silenced and stripped of worship? Or, is she going to fight this battle with worship and watch the enemy scatter? Have I not given her a voice? Is she willing to declare the battle cry for worship?”
With this said, I want to give a word of warning. Pastors have a lot to sort out, and difficult decisions to make as churches begin to reopen.
- Pray for them.
- Encourage them.
- Let them know they are not alone.
There is power in prayer. There is power in worship.
Will we allow our voices to be silenced in worship, or will we erupt with the Roar from the Throne Room of Heaven and fill the atmosphere with worship?