Thursday, February 17, 2011


A Supernatural Cloud of Glory

“It came to pass, when the trumpeters and singers were as one, to make one sound to be heard in praising and thanking the Lord, and when they lifted up their voice with the trumpets and cymbals and instruments of music, and praised the Lord…that the house of the Lord, was filled with a cloud, so that the priests could not continue ministering because of the cloud; for the glory of the Lord filled the house of God.” 2 Chronicles 5: 13-14, (See also Luke 9:34-35)

My wife Laurel and I once witnessed an unusual manifestation of God’s presence during praise and worship at a conference in California in the early seventies. There were about 300 people standing with hands lifted to the Lord and singing praises in tongues. It was a beautiful harmonious blend of voices rising to the Lord like a symphony orchestra. As I looked about I saw what appeared to be a misty cloud that filled the room. My initial reaction was to rub my eyes thinking there was a problem with my vision. But then I saw the leaders excitedly moving about on stage and pointing out over the congregation. Everyone at that moment realized we were witnessing the cloud of God’s glory being manifested in response to the praise. This was an awesome experience. Ralph Mahoney, the director of World Missionary Assistance Plan (World MAP), wrote about this event in a subsequent publication of the organization’s magazine.
Our experience that night reminded us that praying and singing in tongues can be a significant instrument of praise.

An Appreciation of Praise
To appreciate tongues as an instrument of praise you must first have an appreciation of praise itself. Otherwise, the discussion remains in the realm of dry technicalities. Therefore, I would like to briefly discuss praise before discussing tongues as it relates to praise.

Praise can be quiet reverence speaking silently from the heart, but should also include outward expressions of exuberant and joyous enthusiasm. It is not simply a feeling or ritual, but is an act of worship in which the human spirit expresses itself through voice and body to give thanksgiving, honor, and glory to God. Praise should not be limited to inner silent thought but should be an expression of the whole person verbally and physically reaching out to God. We should have the same enthusiasm for God that fans show to their sports teams. Why should we “make the rafters ring” for a ball team but remain lifeless and frozen when we approach God?

We see many various expressions of praise in the Bible. We see the children of God lifting their hands and voices in praise. We see them dancing before the Lord, clapping their hand, leaping for joy, and singing songs to God, sometimes a cappella and sometimes with every form of musical instrument. We hear them reciting to the Lord all His wonderful deeds and mighty acts. We see the people spreading palm branches before Jesus as He makes His triumphant entry into Jerusalem.

Worship is not a cold solemnity we call reverence, but a living and joyous expression of honor and love to the living and very present God before whom we stand and to whom we lift our voices. It should not be a passive audience listening to a worship team on stage, nor just a collection of people worshipping as isolated individuals, but a body of believers joined as one, as a family, to make one sound rising to God as a beautiful symphony.

Praise is more than warm Sunday morning songs we sing prior to the sermon. It is the people of God dynamically entering the presence of God and touching Him with their spirits and pouring forth love and honor to Him, and in turn experiencing the presence of God that inhabits those praises. Like prayer it is also a means by which God allows His people to be dynamically involved in the release of His awesome work upon the earth. This is evident in many of the Psalms and in the praise paragraphs that are interspersed throughout the book of Revelation. Praise is an acknowledgment of the King and His coming kingdom. No wonder Jesus said, “If these were to keep silent, the very stones would cry out!”

 “And I heard, as it were, the voice of a great multitude, as the sound of many waters and as the sound of mighty thundering, saying, ‘Alleluia! For the Lord God Omnipotent reigns!’” Revelation 19: 6.

This post is meant to stir our hearts toward praise. The next post will give the specific scripture verses that describe tongues as an instrument of praise.


Lydia's Heart said...

Thanks, Billy. This really does stir my heart toward praise.

Anonymous said...

Hey Billy,
Thanks for the blog. I have been concerned for the last 15 years or so over a lack of emphasis on the Holy Spirit and His gifts. I think out of a motivation to be one with the evang. world and not offend anyone we tend to forget our roots and the Spirit's purposes in our lives. We have many people who speak in tongues but are totally untrained in the biblical emphasis. Glad to see you are visiting this. If someone wants what we have they must get what we got. Love you Dude.

Anonymous said...

This is excellent. Eva

Michael Kane said...

I remember in 1969 attending a World Map conference at Warm Beach Conference grounds in Wa. State. Hearing men speak like Ralph Mahoney, Costa Dier, Judson Cornwall and Bob Mumford. I had only been saved a couple of months and I had never experienced anything like this. The worship, the worship, the worship just blew my mind. Hundreds of believers with hands raised praying in tongues. I shall never forget it. The worship was so intense. This just doesn't happen anymore. The highlight of services now is getting wacked on the forehead and falling backwards. A great disconnect between then and now.