God has been speaking to me lately. The season of grief is not over from losing my mom, but it is changing. Fewer moments hit with tears. I am able to handle more. When a person cussed in conversation with those close to me and a rift in my family became more pronounced, I dreamed of ministering to their anger, and I woke to pronouncing blessing over them.
Bless them that curse you, and pray for them which despitefully use you. Luke 6:28
With the blessing came praise: praise to the Father for everything he has so blessedly laid in my lap. In the midst of mistreatment, we are called to give thanks to our wonderful God. That praise breaks the enemy. It breaks yokes. And it keeps our eyes fixed on eternity instead of fixed on the enemy. We look to heaven instead of a cursed earth. It brings God closer to us. He sits enthroned in our songs of worship.
“But thou art holy, O thou that inhabitest the praises of Israel.” Psalm 22:3
And Sunday’s worship service encapsulated the message God has been speaking to me. Our small congregation sounded like 3x more people had joined the singing. My daughter fell under the power of the glory. I was wrecked by “I’ll Fly Away”. I’ve seen that heavenly shore. And I know I’ll fly to it one day to embrace Jesus and my mother. It was so much more powerful than it had ever been before.
The pastor was led to praise for a large portion of his sermon. He stood with a fellow member of the congregation and sang hymns about how wonderful Jesus is before doing a long altar call.
“Some of you would need a bomb set off before you would move from your seat!” he called. I yelled in agreement. During this time I also saw a vision. It was faint, but I clearly knew in my heart what was transforming before me. A person rose up, arms out in praise to our God, and then he became the green center of a flower. Petals grew from his arms. His head and body stood in the center like the stamen in a flower. Like a tiny seedling sprouting two white leaves with green stripes down the center, God clearly showed how praise makes us flower outward and grow. Then two more petals appeared as the song continued. They shifted and changed every so slightly until the flower transformed into a white bird. Praise gives us a new form and ability.
I shared the vision with the congregation, and then my daughter shared that she also had a vision during the singing. She saw water pouring into the sanctuary as we sang, and then it built and built until it rushed like waves over the people. There were balls of worries over the peoples’ heads. The waves crashed through and broke some; others remained despite the living water flowing by.
Suddenly my oldest son was hugging me hard and crying. His sister’s words hit with God’s glory and power. He felt and experienced God in a way he had never known before. The one pastor and members of the church came around him and a mantle of pastoring and evangelizing was called onto his shoulders. As I spoke what seemed like simple words to help him remained rooted in the powerful presence of the Father, God gently impressed upon my heart in the same moment. I didn’t hear the words, but I felt them.
“You are prophesying over him.”
It didn’t feel special. Nothing felt different about the words spoken and they didn’t feel delivered from God, but I knew He was teaching me as He was ministering to my son and as He was speaking to the people around me. Isn’t our God incredible?
The events of last Sunday make me question: Do we soften to His will or do we harden? Do we move in praise, or do we remain rigidly stuck to our seats? And do we speak His words of life, or do we curse?
Never discredit the power of praise to bring life and revival within you and those around you, and never be afraid to move closer to God. Give Him the praise. He certainly deserves it!