Enter his gates with thanksgiving, and his courts with praise! Give thanks to him; bless his name! (Psalm 100:4, ESV)
I have had the privilege of leading worship for many different churches, concerts, conferences, and retreats. Sometimes the Spirit of God manifests Himself in amazing ways far beyond anything that I could have hoped for or imagined. Other times I wonder if the Spirit of God was really even present (even though I know that He was).
In any event, I have noticed that people typically come to a time of worship with one of two main thoughts.
The first thought goes something like this: “Wow me. Your job as the worship leader is to get me excited about God. If you can find a way to do that, then I will worship.”
Thankfully for these people, God is good and is more than capable of wowing them. I cannot move these people, but God can.
To me, this mentality seems to be far too similar to thoughts such as: “If you are the Son of God, tell these stones to become bread” or “Come down from the cross, if you are the Son of God!” (see Matthew 4 and Matthew 27).
Certainly the Bible is clear about not putting the Lord our God to the test. No wonder people who come into a time of worship with this mentality often leave as empty as when they came.
The other prevalent thought is one that is much more in line with the psalmist who wrote Psalm 100. Verse 4 tells us to enter His gates with thanksgiving and His courts with praise!
When God’s people enter into a time of worship with thanksgiving, praising God before the worship leader can even encourage them to, the Spirit of God tends to move in truly powerful ways.
Perhaps we should spend less time asking God to give us reasons to be thankful, and spend more time thanking him for the countless blessings He has already given.