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PASTORS PRAISE NIGHT

Praise as a spiritual enterprise is a serious business in God of Glory Christian Church. Any church built on this pillar of Christianity signs a pact of breakthrough with the covenant keeping God.

Praise, generally speaking, is an expression of approval and admiration. But in spiritual ramifications, it is an elegant medium of worshiping God. David, that great guy called it a sacrifice of joy.

Paul called it the fruit of the lips. Isaiah called it the voice of melody. Contemporary Christians call it gospel music. Call it whatever you like, but surely praise is good, comely and powerful.

Praise has been employed when prayer fails. It has been used as a weapon of war: remember the bizarre military strategy at Jericho ? David, the great psalmist of Israel, a tender and ruddy musician of exceptional skill and reputation, in spite of his weaknesses and atrocity, brought God to the table of everlasting covenant with his family through praise.

David also marched with harp and praise into the presence of King Saul to shake him free from the manacles of distressing spirit that troubled him. Was it not the armour of praise that shook the prison where Paul and Silas were? To the present Christians, when the jaws are locked and hearts buffeted with heavy billows and poignant buffeting, praise has come handy.

The bible is replete with great poetic praise songs. The greatest collection of praise songs is called the book of Psalms. This biggest book in the bible constituted Israel 's ancient God-breathed (2Tim. 3:16) hymn book which defined the proper spirit and content of worship. About seven people composed the book of Psalms: King David wrote at least 75 of the 150 psalms. The sons of Korah accounted for 10 and Asaph contributed 12. Other penmen included King Solomon (Psalms 72, 127), Moses (Ps. 90), Herman (Ps. 88). Ethan (Ps. 89)Ezra, the famous chronicler of Israel history is also thought by bible scholars to have authored some.

There are other ten great songs in the bible which are not grouped together in the book of Psalms: these include the Song of Deliverance by Moses ­Ex. 15:1-18, Song of Moses - Deut. 32:1-43, the Song of Deborah - Judges 5:1-31, the Song of Hannah - 1 Sam. 2: 1-1 0, the Song of the Women - 1 Sam. 18:6-7, the Song of David - 2Sam. 22:1-51 and the Song of Hezekiah - Isa. 38:9-20. Others are: the Song of Jonah - Jonah 2: 1-9, the Song of Habakkuk - Hab. 3: 1-19 and the Song of Mary - Luke 1 :46-55.

But what does the Bible say about Praise must always and only be Praise should be offered continually, with understanding, with the whole heart, in psalms and hymns and it could be accompanied with musical instruments. God and the heavenly host engage themselves in praise. Isa. 6:3; Luke 2: 13; Rev. 4:9­11; 5: 12. Praise is a powerful tool to move the hand of God.

Great is the majesty of it that in the contemporary world, the act of praising the Lord has become a straight discipline without precinct. It has been professionalized such that all musical genres have been doctored to accommodate gospel lyrics. From Juju, Fuji, Reggae, Waka, Senwele to High-life, rap, jazz, funk and Apala, many Nigerians, have found a way of "praising" the Lord.

Though various motives could have engendered such stampede into the gospel scene but it cannot be denied that no other genre of music is enjoying the growth rate of gospel music today. In Nigeria, gospel music began in the church. One of the earliest groups to wax gospel record in the country was Evangelical Church of West Africa (ECWA), Igbaja, Kwara State which started broadcasting on a private radio channel, Radio ELWA in the 50's. In 1967, St. Peter's & Paul Catholic Church, Ibadan debuted with a single titled, Mo Ti Kole Mi Sori Apata released on Decca label.

Between 1967 and 1969, Rev. Father Dr. Thomas Ilesanmi released four singles and in 1971, CAC, Oke-Ayo, Ibadan led by Evang. S. O. Akinpelu came up with Teje Re Ni Koro. Also from CAC, Ibadan came the Good Women Choir led by Mrs D. A. Fasoyin and the Splinter Group led by Mrs. F. A. Obisakin. Today, the gospel scene has seen the great works of people like Evangelists J. A. Adelakun, Funmi Aragbaye, Bayo Adegboyega, Ori Okoro, Bola Are, Demos Deniran (now late). Niyi Adedokun and Sola Rotimi. Others are Panam Percy Paul, Godwin Shagaya, Ebenezer Obey and Sonny Okosuns. The scene has also seen the ultra-modernists like Bukky Bolarinwa, Adekunle Fuji, Kingsley Ike, Kenny St. Brown, etc.

It is therefore cheering that in God of Glory Christian Church, children of God have been regaled at various times with wondrous musical ministrations by important gospel acts. Pastor's Praise Night, a programme sponsored by the church, still remains the biggest gospel concert in Nigeria today.

However, it must be said that the gospel acts need a better grasp of the purpose, innards and dynamism of praise. Better discernment and anointing should be prayed for so as to separate entertainment from worship/ministrations. Some of the ultra-modernists who are experimenting with gospel lyrics need to work harder to dish out new and original songs that are laced with prophetic and glorious parameters. Only through this can we "breakdance" into breakthrough.