One of the more interesting practices of the Primitive Methodist movement is the practice of shouting. They would have a “shout” as part of their gathered times for prayer and this became one of the practices that became a consistent feature of the movement. William Clowes says “Shouting and praising God I did from a principle of duty; God had done great things for me, and I was constrained to give him glory”. He describes preaching at Englesea Brook in 1826 “the glory was great, and the shouts of praise and thanksgiving were loud and general among the people”.
Such was the vehemence of their noisy cottage prayer meetings and loud singing and shouting they were asked if God was deaf! The psalms are full of exhortations to shout to God – here are just a few examples.
We will shout for joy when you are victorious
and will lift up our banners in the name of our God. (Psalm 20:5)
Sing to him a new song;
play skillfully, and shout for joy. (Psalm 33:3)
Clap your hands, all you nations;
shout to God with cries of joy. (Psalm 47:1)
Shout with joy to God, all the earth! (Psalm 66:1)
Sing for joy to God our strength;
shout aloud to the God of Jacob! (Psalm 81:1)
Come, let us sing for joy to the LORD?
let us shout aloud to the Rock of our salvation. (Psalm 95:1)
Shout for joy to the LORD, all the earth,
burst into jubilant song with music; (Psalm 98:4)
Shout for joy to the LORD, all the earth. (Psalm 100:1)
It is interesting in the Hebrew context of the Psalms, that the community of God’s people are exhorted to sing for joy and shout aloud. Shouting was often an alternate way to declares God’s praises. How about us?
In our culture we tend not to shout as a group – except at sporting events. We are, perhaps, a little fearful of causing offence. I venture to suggest that we could try a “shout” as part of our combined worship services, or gathered prayer meetings. We are used to loud music, so why not lift our voices in praise to our creator and redeemer God who is worthy of adoration, glory and worship?
When was the last time you practiced a “shout” to the Lord?