“Sing praises to the LORD, O you his saints, and give thanks to his holy name.” (Psalms 30:4 ESV)
Did you know that the most repeated command in the Bible is the command to “praise the LORD”?  The book of Psalms is largely responsible for this. But this shouldn’t surprise us, because the ultimate goal of God’s salvation plan is to create true worshippers (see John 4:23-24), who spend eternity in completely fulfilling worshipping the one who is worthy of all praise (see Revelation 5:11-14).
One way we obey this command is by singing together in church. And yet, how often do we forget that singing the Lord’s praise together is actually a command (see Psalm 30:4, 1 Chronicles 16:8-10)? How often do we approach it as an optional extra, something I’ll do if I feel like it, or something for those people who we think can sing or who are more into music than we are?
In Colossians 4:2, we’re commanded, “Continue steadfastly in prayer, being watchful in it with thanksgiving.” But we don’t think that prayer is just for “pray-ers”. We don’t “not pray” because don’t like the prayers we’ve got. We certainly don’t think of praying as an optional extra in the Christian life. And I hope we don’t think of prayer as something we do only when we feel like it.
Why should the command to sing be any different?
Of course, like prayer, it takes work. It will be an uphill battle at times. It may “do nothing for us” emotionally, at times. And yet, like any other aspect of obedience to the Lord, we’ve got to learn to obey him, commit ourselves to him, trust him, and ask for his help to what he commands.
Worship takes work. Remember that even the most accomplished musicians and soul-stirring singers may still have hearts that are cold towards Jesus. But what if every worshipper in our church on a Sunday put in that work, prayed about putting themselves aside, putting Jesus in the centre, and then opened their mouths and sang to their Lord and God, trusting that what comes out (be it a croak, a squeak or an undiscovered Pavarotti-esque tenor) is honouring to him not because of its worldly quality, but because of willing obedience?
Live it: As you begin this year, do you need to reset your attitude to sung worship in church? Take it to the Lord in prayer, and ask him to move your heart to willing obedience, and to give you joy in doing so.
– Clint Lombard