Intentional Praise

Mesu Andrews Featured Articles 6 Comments

10-16-15--SIGNS IN ITALIAN (2)I’m generally pretty good with directions. Give me a map; I can follow it. Tell me north, south, east, or west, and I’ll draw a diamond in the air and say my reminder phrase—Never Eat Soggy Waffles. But intentionally preparing to navigate the trip is my husband’s department.

I rely solely on the GPS on my phone. He still has a dumb phone and carries a map in his car. When we ride together I use my phone GPS to direct him, but he still insists on printing a Google Map before the trip—Mr. Intentional.

I was in the habit of rolling my eyes at his caution until a few weeks ago. On this particular trip, I was alone and on my way to a pastors’ wives’ retreat waaaaaay out in the backroads of Oregon. Guess what? No cell reception—so no GPS. Oh, how I wished some of my hubby’s intentionality had worn off on me! Thanks to some very well-placed road signs, I made it to the retreat, but it made me think that perhaps I need to become a little more intentional about other things in my life as well…

The Wisdom of Intentionality

I live with a very intentional man. My hubby moves and breathes on purpose. Few (if any) of his decisions are made on a whim, and he’ll forfeit convenience in favor of efficiency every time. It’s a little infuriating.  😉

King Solomon shows us some of those same traits as he moves the Ark of the Covenant in the Temple he’s just built for the LORD:

“Then King Solomon summoned into his presence at Jerusalem the elders of Israel, all the heads of the tribes and the chiefs of the Israelite families…All the Israelites came together to King Solomon at the time of the festival in the month of Ethanim, the seventh month.” 1 Kings 8:1-2

Notice that Solomon—the wisest man ever to live—coordinated the furnishing of the Temple with a festival that was already on the calendar to maximize participation. Intentionality.

Learning Intentionality

Do you remember when Solomon’s father, King David, tried to remove the Ark from the Philistine’s possession? It was a disaster. He put it on a cart, though the Law specifically dictated God’s presence be carried on the priests’ shoulders, and when the cart hit a pothole and the Ark nearly toppled off, an unconsecrated hand reached out to steady it, and the man was killed. Ugh. David was angry with God, confused, terrified—but finally realized his praise must be intentional.

“When those who were carrying the ark of the Lord had taken six steps, he sacrificed a bull and a fattened calf. Wearing a linen ephod, David was dancing before the Lord with all his might…”                       2 Samuel 6:13-14

Now, look at how Solomon moves the Ark. See what he learned from his father’s mistakes:

“The priests and Levites carried [it] up, and King Solomon and the entire assembly of Israel that had gathered about him were before the ark, sacrificing so many sheep and cattle that they could not be recorded or counted.”         1 Kings 8:4-5

Both David and Solomon show us that intentionality can be learned. Saying, “I’m just not an organized person,” isn’t an excuse. It’s all about where our heart and priorities lie.

The Reward of Intentionality

Praise and worship is an intensely personal experience, but many times it is expressed in a corporate setting. Sunday-morning service is the most traditional example of corporate worship, when we gather together with our church families to minister to one another with the gifts given by the Holy Spirit.

Do we come to worship intentionally, bringing a sacrificial attitude to our God? Are we wholly focused on Him, leaving all other distractions behind? I have to confess that it’s tough to shake off the past week’s baggage, the present distractions, and the coming week’s concerns.

But these verses in 1 Kings 8 have made me determined to offer God a sacrificial attitude when I walk through those doors on Sunday. What does “sacrificial attitude” mean—practically?

For me a sacrificial attitude means giving up my rights to self. Anything that bothers me, distracts me, or otherwise takes my attention away from God is off limits.

David sacrificed every six steps—perhaps he suffered from an ancient version of ADHD and needed the constant reminder.  🙄 I can relate! But Jesus Christ is worthy of my full and unqualified heart.

When we are intentional about unwavering praise, I trust and believe that our God…Will. Show. Up.

“When the priests withdrew from the Holy Place, the cloud filled the temple of the Lord. 11 And the priests could not perform their service because of the cloud, for the glory of the Lord filled his temple.”   1 Kings 8:10-11


Today’s Question:

  • How can you be more intentional in your personal or corporate worship?

Comments 6

  1. Oh my, Mesu, you must know what I’m going through. I find it so hard to have a right attitude on Sunday mornings with all the loud ‘noise’ going on during a time of worship and praise. So it is very difficult to leave distractions behind when they are going on very loudly and offbeat in front of me. I’m praying and your words spoke to me and for that I am thankful….Blessings!

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      I’m so thankful the Lord encouraged you through these words, dear one. Corporate worship can be the best of times and the worst of times, but it helps tip the scales for the good when we keep our focus UP! 😉

  2. This did me so much good! I necessarily worship at home via computer and am dealing with distractions also. In the familiar are still distractions. And yes, I believe Jesus loves my keeping my mind on Him and my worshipping Jesus centered. I am still working on that-thanks for this reminder how much He loves it done right…I don’t want to worship from a ‘man made cart’. ( :

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      It seems no matter whether we’re talking private or corporate worship, there are always distractions, eh? As with everything, however, the Lord sees the heart–and knows our intention to please Him. 😉

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