Joel has done an interesting post in which he asks if God needs anything.
Easter morning, I went to the meeting of the Presbyterian group that we normally spend Sunday mornings with. Since it was Easter , they went all out with a processional by some of the women wearing bright purple robes carrying and hanging banners. Then the music started and the praising began. I'm not questioning the people's sincerity. I've been around them long enough to know that they love the Lord and many have made great sacrifices for him so that's not even in question. What I'm questioning is the thought that God is honored by all of that pomp and expects it when his people gather.
Joel's questions made me ask myself, Does Father really need our praise and is he more pleased when it's elaborate? When I think about the Simpsonville gathering with Wayne Jacobsen that I went to a few weeks ago, one of the things that stands out is that we never prayed, not even over the food. We just ate and then shared Jesus with one another in a natural setting. No one mentioned praying and I didn't even think about it until I had returned home. Yet, I sense that Father was very much involved in that gathering throughout the entire week-end.
Darin Hufford in his book The God's Honest Truth has a chapter entitled Love is Not Proud and in it he writes, "When we worship, we do it thinking that this is the reason we were put here, as though He created us so we could remind Him of how great He is all the time." That does seem to be the mindset in our "praise and worship" meetings. We continually tell God how great he is so that he'll delight in our praise and show up at our meetings. Sounds like manipulation to me.
Also, as Darin pointed out, "If you wouldn't be friends with a person like that, you won't be friends with a God like that." No one wants to be around a person who constantly needs us to tell them how wonderful they are. That's bondage of the biggest kind and, after a while, we'll avoid that person as much as possible. That will also be our reaction to a god that needs constant praise.
That, however, is not our God. He doesn't suffer from an inferiority complex and needs us to build him up. He knows who he is and is quite aware of his majesty and awesomeness yet, in Christ, he chose to lay that all aside and come as a man so he could have a real relationship with us.
While I don't think it's wrong to tell him how much we love him, if we think that's all there is to worship, we're sadly mistaken. True worship and praise is based on a relationship that is real. We praise him because we love him and it's an overflow of that relationship. It can't be planned and boxed into a certain time on a certain day. True worship is lived out in the daily circumstances of life as we walk and talk with our Father. Occasionally, we might stop and sing to him but we need to remember that he also sings to us. My post, God is not angry with you, talks about this.
Does Father need our praise? I don't think so. He may enjoy the Sunday morning songfests but I believe his real joy comes as he and his child enjoy their day together doing the activities of the day.