Why 24/7 Worship?
Worship that never ceases – 24/7 worship – is clearly a hallmark of heaven:
Day and night they never stop saying:
"Holy, holy, holy
is the Lord God Almighty,
who was, and is, and is to come."
It is also clear that the Lord desires this continuous, day and night worship on the earth. When the Lord gave instructions concerning the offering with fire on the altar of the tabernacle (the fire represents worship), he was very specific and clear that the fire needed to be kept burning on the altar day and night. In fact he said it three times:
The burnt offering is to remain on the altar hearth throughout the night, till morning, and the fire must be kept burning on the altar....
The fire on the altar must be kept burning; it must not go out....
The fire must be kept burning on the altar continuously, it must not go out.
Jesus taught his disciples to pray, "your kingdom come, your will be done on earth as it is in heaven." Part of the fulfilment of this prayer is that worship on the earth is as it is in heaven, that is, unceasing, day-and-night worship. In fact, whether we realize it or not, each time we pray this prayer, we are praying for 24/7 worship on earth!
But why does the Lord desire, in fact, require continuous 24/7 worship on the earth? I believe I have been given to understand three fundamental reasons for this:
First, it blesses heaven.
Worship is natural in heaven. It is without hindrance or obstacle; it is perfect, holy and beautiful. Worship on earth comes with sacrifice. It is not without hindrance or obstacle – from our flesh or our circumstances. That is why it is called a "sacrifice of praise."
Through Jesus, therefore, let us continually offer to God a sacrifice of praise. (Heb. 13:15)
As we offer our sacrifice of praise through Jesus, it ascends as a pure and holy offering to God. Our continuous worship through the atonement of Jesus brings great delight to the heart of God and fills all of heaven with joy. In fact, I believe the greater the sacrifice in our worship – the more difficult our circumstances or the harder we need to deal with the weaknesses of our flesh – the greater and more precious our offering of worship becomes in heaven.
As our worship emulates and joins with the worship in heaven it releases great joy among the angels and the saints who have gone before us. I believe the angels respond to our worship and we respond to theirs. Sounds of worship are released in heaven and echoed on earth; and songs of worship are released on earth and sung in heaven. Together we form a great antiphonal chorus blessing all of the heavens.
But our worship not only blesses heaven.
Secondly, our continuous worship blesses the earth.
As we set our hearts to bless the Lord with our continuous day and night worship from the earth, the Lord’s heart is moved to bless the earth and all that dwell on it. Yahweh is a God of overflowing love and compassion, and as we pour our hearts out in love to him, it only gets magnified in his immeasurable, unfathomable love for us.
Our day and night worship ascends as vapours and droplets of water seeding the heavens. As this worship ascends 24/7 from around the earth, it fills the clouds with moisture until abundant showers fall on all mankind and cover all the earth.
He draws up the drops of water,
which distill as rain to the streams;
the clouds pour down their moisture
and abundant showers fall on mankind.
Who can understand how he spreads out the clouds,
how he thunders from his pavilion?
See how he scatters his lightning about him,
bathing the depths of the sea.
This is the way he governs the nations
and provides food in abundance.
How does the Lord govern the nations and provide food in abundance? In response to the measure of our worship across the earth which fills the clouds of heaven with moisture. It is known that water droplets in the atmosphere can transverse the entire circumference of the globe before descending. In a similar way, our worship ascending in one place can come down as blessings in a totally other part of the earth. Also, the vapour ascending into the atmosphere can remain there for an undetermined length of time before descending as rain. However, we also know that the more the clouds are filled with moisture the sooner and the heavier the rainfall.
As Paul and Silas sang praises during the night in the darkness of a Macedonian dungeon, it so moved the heart of God that he caused the foundations of the prison to be shaken (Acts 16:25-26). Our sacrifice of continuous, day-and-night worship touches the heart of God like nothing else. It releases his mighty hand and powerful voice.
Listen! Listen to the roar of his voice,
to the rumbling that comes from his mouth.
He unleashes his lightning beneath the whole heaven
and sends it to the ends of the earth.
After that comes the sound of his roar;
he thunders with his majestic voice.
When his voice resounds, he holds nothing back.
God's voice thunders in marvelous ways;
he does great things beyond our understanding.
He says to the snow, 'Fall on the earth,'
and to the rain shower, 'Be a mighty downpour.'
So that all men he has made may know his work.
We find the same in Psalm 29:
Ascribe to the LORD, O mighty ones,
ascribe to the LORD glory and strength.
Ascribe to the LORD the glory due his name;
worship the LORD in the splendor of his holiness.
We simply ascribe to the Lord the glory due his name with all that is within us, worshipping him in the splendor of his holiness, and this releases his awesome and majestic voice to alter the face of the earth and his powerful hand to bless his people:
The voice of the LORD is over the waters; the God of glory thunders,
the LORD thunders over the mighty waters.
The voice of the LORD is powerful; the voice of the LORD is majestic....
The voice of the LORD strikes with flashes of lightning.
The voice of the LORD shakes the desert;
the LORD shakes the Desert of Kadesh.
The LORD sits enthroned over the flood;
the LORD is enthroned as King forever.
The LORD gives strength to his people;
the LORD blesses his people with peace.
Our worship is directed to heaven, not to the earth. Our hearts are first of all to bless the Lord. But as we do, as our vapours arise 24/7 across the face of the earth, it fills all of heaven and moves the heart of God to release his powerful hand to bless the earth. Not only does our continuous worship change the atmosphere around us, but it affects the natural environment, the plants, animals, waterways and the earth itself, and it moves the hand of God to change the hearts of men and govern the course of cities and nations.
Thirdly, our 24/7 worship prepares the way of the Lord.
God’s intention and desire throughout history has been to dwell with his people, to be near to them, to walk with them, to have fellowship and intimacy with his beloved ones in harmony with his creation. This has been his purpose from the beginning of time in Genesis where he walked with man in the cool of the garden to the culmination of time where we read,
"And I heard a loud voice from the throne saying, ‘Now [finally] the dwelling of God is with men, and he will live with them. They will be his people and, and God himself will be with them, and he will live with them.’" (Rev. 21:3)
Through our continuous worship we minister to God’s Presence. As we draw near to him with hearts of love and adoration, he draws near to us. (James 4:8) As we gaze upon his beauty and seek his face (Ps. 27:4,8) he makes his face to shine upon us. The Lord desires to be near to us and dwell in the midst of us (Lev. 26:11). It is our continuous worship that prepares the way and opens the door wide to his continued Presence with his people.
In Is. 40:3 we are called to prepare the way for the Lord.
In the desert prepare the way for the LORD;
make straight in the wilderness a highway for our God....
And the glory of the LORD will be revealed,
For the mouth of the LORD has spoken.
and all mankind together will see it.
God’s desire and intention is that everyone will see his glory, that the whole earth be filled with the knowledge of the glory of the Lord as the waters cover the sea (Hab. 2:14) and all the ends of the earth will see his salvation (Is. 52:10)
In Psalm 50:23 we read,
He who sacrifices thank offerings honors me,
and he prepares the way
so that I may show him the salvation of God.
In other words, it is our sacrifice of praise and worship that prepares the way of the Lord, so he may show forth his glory and reveal his salvation. As our worship increases across the earth we provide a welcome place for his Presence among us, and a platform for the display of his glory.
Our 24/7 worship fills the skies with moisture and as it increases, the Lord responds,
"In that day I will respond," declares the LORD—
"I will respond to the skies, and they will respond to the earth...
and the earth will respond to the grain, the new wine and oil
I will show my love to the one I called 'Not my loved one.'
I will say to those called 'Not my people,' 'You are my people';
and they will say, 'You are my God.' "
Our worship opens the way for the Lord to respond and show his salvation to the earth with grain, new wine and oil, and his outreaching love to the people he has created.
All of creation is groaning in anticipation, waiting for the fulness of its redemption and the full revelation of who we, God’s children, are in Christ (Rom 8:23-24). Yahweh will come, he will surely come to judge the earth and show forth his salvation. But his coming is in response to the fulness of our worship and praise coming from all of his creation:
Sing to the LORD a new song;
sing to the LORD, all the earth.
Sing to the LORD, praise his name;
proclaim his salvation day after day.
Declare his glory among the nations,
his marvelous deeds among all peoples....
Worship the LORD in the splendor of his holiness;
tremble before him, all the earth...
Let the heavens rejoice, let the earth be glad;
let the sea resound, and all that is in it;
let the fields be jubilant, and everything in them.
Then all the trees of the forest will sing for joy;
they will sing before the LORD, for he comes,
he comes to judge the earth.
He will judge the world in righteousness and the peoples in his truth.
We find the same thing again in Psalm 98 where worship arising from all the earth, all peoples and all creation, at all times, day and night, precedes his coming to the earth.
In Isaiah 42 we read how worship and songs of praise will emanate from every corner of the earth:
Sing to the LORD a new song, his praise from the ends of the earth,
you who go down to the sea, and all that is in it,
you islands, and all who live in them.
Let the desert and its towns raise their voices;
let the settlements where Kedar lives rejoice.
Let the people of Sela sing for joy;
let them shout from the mountaintops.
Let them give glory to the LORD and proclaim his praise in the islands.
As glory, honour and praise ascends from all places around the globe, from all peoples and nations, at all times around the clock. It prepares the way for the Lord to come and manifest his power and glory. We read in the immediate next verses:The LORD will march out like a mighty man, like a warrior he will stir up his zeal; with a shout he will raise the battle cry and will triumph over his enemies. (Is. 42:13)
As he hears the worship and feels the waves of love poured out on him, it’s as if he cannot contain himself any longer:
"For a long time I have kept silent,
I have been quiet and held myself back.
But now, like a woman in childbirth, I cry out, I gasp and pant.
I will lay waste the mountains and hills and dry up all their vegetation;
I will turn rivers into islands and dry up the pools.
I will lead the blind by ways they have not known,
along unfamiliar paths I will guide them;
I will turn the darkness into light before them
and make the rough places smooth.
These are the things I will do; I will not forsake them."
May we offer day and night, 24/7 worship to bless heaven, to release blessings on the earth, and to prepare the way of the Lord, the King of Glory.
Lift up your heads, O you gates;
be lifted up, you ancient doors,
that the King of glory may come in.
Who is this King of glory?
The LORD strong and mighty, the LORD mighty in battle.
Lift up your heads, O you gates;
lift them up, you ancient doors,
that the King of glory may come in.
Who is he, this King of glory?
The LORD Almighty— he is the King of glory.