Thursday, June 29, 2017

The Five Minute Praise Break

Recently I was in Dallas, Texas, and visited "The Potter's House", the mega-church where T.D. Jakes preaches. I always wanted to go to a black church, but never had. It was their passion, excitement, singing, and inspiration that interested me. Well, I wasn't disappointed. Although T.D. Jakes wasn't preaching that Sunday, another preacher was filling in, and he was just as energetic and expressive as T.D. Jakes. And the fantastic worship music! Wow! It was truly the most inspirational worship service I've ever been to. 

What I really enjoyed was a particular moment in the middle of the preacher's sermon. He had gone on for about 30 minutes or so, and worked himself up into a frenzy. And as he was wiping the sweat off his brow, or I should say, his head, he suddenly broke his train of thought, stopped the sermon, and yelled, "I feel a 5-minute praise break coming on!" At that moment, the band broke into an upbeat instrumental, and he started dancing across the stage as the crowd went wild. After several minutes, the band stopped, and he stopped dancing, composed himself, and picked up the sermon where he had left off. 

This praise tangent that he went on was not the first of it's kind, however. It goes way, way back. In fact, the praise break was something the Apostle Paul did! That's right! The Bible records an incredible praise break by Paul himself. Now maybe his praise break wasn't in dance form, but it certainly was a praise break. It's found in the book of Romans. 

In Romans chapter 11, Paul is teaching a very important concept. He explains that because of the grace and mercy of God, salvation through Jesus Christ is offered to all, the Gentiles as well as the Jews, even though they were both disobedient. But suddenly, Paul stops his intense line of teaching and goes directly into a praise rant.  Here it is:

"Oh, the depth of the riches of the wisdom and knowledge of God! How unsearchable his judgments, and his paths beyond tracing out! 'Who has known the mind of the Lord? Or who has been his counselor?' 'Who has ever given to God, that God should repay them?' For from him and through him and for him are all things. To him be the glory forever! Amen." (Romans 11:33-36)

In the very next verse, which is Romans 12:1, he picks back up on his teaching about how we are to respond to the grace and mercy which he outlined in the previous chapter. The praise rant was like an interruption in his train of thought, but a great worshipful interruption at that. 

I just wonder how many times we do that. I bet not as often as God deserves. The next time you see God's hand at work around you or in your life, how about taking a moment, even if it's silently, to take a praise break. 

For example, when you see a beautiful sunset, don't just acknowledge how beautiful it is. Rather, take a moment and say a short praise rant, exclaiming how awesome God's creation is. Or when you realize one of your prayers has been answered, maybe just stop what you're doing, and repeat the words of Paul, "To him be the glory forever!"

Let's all get in the habit of taking a praise break once in a while. Even if it's just a short one. And if it's in dance form, all the better!