I don't have a prophetic word about the coronavirus. I do, however, have a very clear word from the Lord about a supernatural key that will help the church silence the all-consuming roar of fear right now, starting with our own lives.
When fear boasts loud, it should be a convicting call for the praises of God's people to become even louder.
Back in the 1990s, when I first came to the Lord, contemporary "praise and worship" was just emerging onto the scene. Believe it or not, it was quite controversial and sometimes divisive to have guitars and drums playing during a church service—and calling it "worship." It's hard to believe now, considering that even some of the more traditional Christian denominations have embraced contemporary worship. But in the last few years, we have neglected something that was absolutely revolutionary in the 1990s—the roar of praise.
I present this prophetic word with confidence and clarity, believing 100% this is a word of the Lord for right now. Will it demolish the coronavirus and our global crisis? I have no idea. I do know it will get our focus where it should be.
Just as Paul and Silas had no idea how their prayers and praises would be followed by a supernatural earthquake, I have no idea what supernatural response our praise will initiate from heaven to earth. We don't praise God for a result; we praise Him because He is worthy—no matter what is going on around us.
The Lord Is Restoring the Roar of Praise!
I prophesy that the Lord is restoring the roar of praise, for the roar of praise and the shout of the King will empower the people of God to war victoriously against the prevailing spirit of fear that is contaminating the earth.
Wash your hands, yes. Buy appropriate supplies and food (and toilet paper!), absolutely. Be prepared and operate in wisdom. But there must be a sound of praise roaring once again from the church. For the last 10 years, praise and worship has become increasingly mellow. We've neglected the "breaker" praise songs of the 1990s and early 2000s. Remember those days? I sense the Spirit of the Lord say "Go back to the breaker!" In other words, we need to go back to those songs that carried that "breaker anointing."
Praise God for how Hillsong and Darlene Zschech pioneered in these areas, with "My Redeemer Lives," "All Things are Possible," "Hear Our Praises" and "The Shout of the King." Hallelujah for Darrell Evans' revolutionary acoustic album Let the River Flow, with prophetic anthems like "New Song Arising," "We Will Embrace Your Move," "Kingdom Song" and "Spirit of Revival." Song after song comes to mind: "Garments of Praise" from Robin Mark, "Enemy's Camp" from Lindell Cooley, "Did You Feel the Mountains Tremble" by Delirious, "Stand Up and Praise Him" from the Smithton Outpouring and so on.
It's time for the songs of praise to come forth again! Go back to the old ones and sing them. Press into heaven and start writing them: explosive songs of faith, victory and breakthrough! The earth needs the shout of the King.
I will never forget pastor and worship leader Darlene Zschech making the following declaration: "The enemy cannot stand in the midst of a praising people—so praise Him!"
Praise Silences the Devil
"Through the praise of children and infants you have established a stronghold against your enemies, to silence the foe and the avenger" (Ps. 8:2, NIV).
Fear is the language of hell. Right now, the enemy is speaking loud and wide, with nations paying close attention to his voice. When the enemy's voice seems to be amplified in volume, it should be a convicting invitation for the body of Christ to raise the volume of praise. Just as fear is the language of hell, praise is the language of heaven.
Praise is one of the greatest expressions of faith, for it declares who God is, regardless of what circumstances are taking place around us. It does not deny reality; that's being goofy.
True, mature Bible faith acknowledges what's going on around us. It recognizes the doctor's report or the bank account deficit or crumbling relationship or prodigal child or the global outbreak of fear. It's aware and wise, yes, but it answers to a higher power, a higher authority.
Faith empowers us to sing about who God is even when hell is breaking out all around us because who God is never changes. The earth needs stability right now; the world needs a bold church loudly proclaiming the excellencies and praises of the one who called us out of darkness (1 Pet. 2:9). Why? That same God can also call them out of darkness, too. When fear gets loud, may our praise get louder! That roar of praise will silence the racket of the devil.
Praise and Thanksgiving Usher Us into Deeper Places of God's Presence
"Enter His gates with a song of thanksgiving
And His courts with praise.
Be thankful to Him, bless and praise His name" (Ps. 100:4, AMP).
Thanksgiving and praise are not simply spiritual concepts; they are gateways into realms of God's presence. Psalm 100:4 might be one of the most familiar passages of Scripture on praise—and therein lies the danger. We've become familiar with a concept at the expense of entering into real places of proximity to God in the spirit.
Hebrews 10:19 tells us that because of Jesus' blood, we have been granted access to "holy places." Hebrews 12:22 reminds that we have already come to a real place in the spirit called "Mount Zion," which is a place of heavenly proximity in the spirit.
Often, we settle for excitement and emotion in our worship because we don't recognize how thanksgiving and praise actually take us places in the spirit. I've heard Pastor Bill Johnson put it this way: "Thanksgiving responds to God's acts while praise is a response to God's nature."
When we begin to erupt once again in thanksgiving, loudly boasting in the miraculous acts and mighty works of God through song, we enter "gates." When we begin to praise Him, declaring His unchanging nature and steadfast character, we enter "courts."
Bottom line: Expect thanksgiving and praise to actually take you to places of greater proximity to God in the spirit. They aren't simply happy-clappy songs; they are escorts into realms of encounter with the Lord.
Praise Releases the Breaker
"At midnight Paul and Silas were praying and singing hymns to God, and the prisoners were listening to them. Suddenly there was a great earthquake, so that the foundations of the prison were shaken. And immediately all the doors were opened and everyone's shackles were loosened" (Acts 16:25-26, MEV).
Paul and Silas were not implementing some charismatic formula to get victory; they weren't praising God to get something. They were praising in and through their circumstance (being in jail). The text does not indicate they anticipated an earthquake because of their prayers and hymns. And yet, this is the very kind of praise that invites God, the breaker, to come in and move supernaturally. We entrust the miraculous details to the Lord; our assignment is to praise Him through it all.
In conclusion, praise is certainly not the only solution for what's going on right now. However, I believe it's one of those "foolish things that confound the wise" (1 Cor. 1:27b) that the Lord is reminding us of in the midst of this critical moment where the devil's voice of fear is amplified.
"Let the high praises of God be in their mouths, and two-edged swords in their hands" (Ps. 149:6).
Responses: What Can We Do?
Praise and worship leaders, it's time to go back to "old praise songs." Go back to those old wells of anointing. We so quickly neglect the old in favor of the new, the cool, the trending, but I promise you, in the 1990s, there was a breaker anointing being released through those songs of praise. Go back to old albums by Hillsong, Darrell Evans, Paul Wilbur, Robin Mark, Vineyard, Passion and others.
It's time to write songs of praise and thanksgiving again! Remember—they focus on the character and acts of God. Pray specifically that the Spirit of God would release "breaker" songs again to His people. And songwriters, I encourage you to lean into heaven and listen intentionally for these songs. It's not about writing songs that fill albums or have radio hits—it's writing songs that shift and establish atmospheres, placing them under the dominion of King Jesus.
You, Christian: Choose to praise the Lord in the middle of it all! Don't let anyone try to tell you that faith means pretending away your problem or acting oblivious to the global crisis. Not at all. True faith means acknowledging what's going on around you, while lifting your eyes and your voice to the one who is seated upon the throne. And praise God, His throne will last forever! (Ps. 45:6).
Larry Sparks is co-author of the book, The Fire That Never Sleeps, with Dr. Michael Brown and John Kilpatrick. Larry's mission is to help teach all believers how to experience and sustain personal revival—enjoying a deep relationship with God through encountering the presence and power of the Holy Spirit. To this end, he maintains a blog through Charisma magazine, is a published author, teaches revival seminars and is the co-founder of Renewing South Florida, an organization committed to uniting the local church for regional outpouring. Larry holds a Master of Divinity from Regent University and presently serves as vice president of publishing for Destiny Image Publishers.
Larry Sparks is co-author of the book, The Fire That Never Sleeps, with Dr. Michael Brown and John Kilpatrick. Larry's mission is to help teach all believers how to experience and sustain personal revival—enjoying a deep relationship with God through encountering the presence and power of the Holy Spirit. To this end, he maintains a blog through Charisma magazine, is a published author, teaches revival seminars, and is the co-founder of Renewing South Florida, an organization committed to uniting the local church for regional outpouring. Larry holds a Master of Divinity from Regent University and presently serves as vice president of publishing for Destiny Image Publishers.
You can receive daily empowerment for personal revival from Larry on Facebook (facebook.com/larryvsparks).
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