The Children of Judah in 2 Chronicles 20 lifted this motif as they marched toward their enemies: “Praise the Lord for His mercy endures forever.” For years I couldn’t quite understand why Jehoshaphat chose those particular words for the choir and musicians to sing. I realize this was a familiar doxology for them. But if he could give them only one statement to repeat, why not make it something they could say straight to God? Why not sing “Praise You, Lord, for Your mercy endures forever”? Perhaps Jehoshaphat and the musicians wanted their praise to influence those who heard them. Based on what they were proclaiming, they obviously desired that everyone “praise the Lord.”
The question we need to consider is this: How effective were they? Did they influence all those in ear shod of them? Did, in fact, everyone praise the Lord because of their urging? Certainly some did. Many of those soldiers who followed no doubt chose to worship. And it’s safe to assume that several who gathered watching them along the route were motivated to join them in praise to their God.
However, even though many did decide to worship, the answer to our question is still “no.” No, they didn’t influence everyone. No leader will ever have a 100% following. That is precisely why influence can’t hold first place in our goals as worship leaders. The enemy armies, for example, most assuredly did not choose to worship Israel’s God. When they heard the echoing sounds of praise coming from over the hill, they reacted in an opposite manner: Rather than turning to God and giving thanks, they turned on each other! Despite their passionate plea, the Children of Judah simply could not get everyone to follow them. The same is true of us…
There are at least two reasons why influencing others should never be our highest goal as praise leaders: First of all, we are setting ourselves up for failure. We will never lead everyone in the room to praise. The lost can’t worship God, and some Christians simply won’t! A second reason is this: When we make influencing people our top priority we give ourselves too much credit. When we believe it’s our fault if they don’t worship, we’re really saying that we cause and control their praise. But the fact is, we’re just not that good! That old saying holds true: “You can lead a horse to water but you can’t make him drink.” And even if our motives are pure, would you really want that much responsibility?
*Except from Praise More Powerful: Insights to Transform Our Worship by Dwayne Moore © 2006 Next Level Worship, LLC.