We all embrace praise as a gift from God and to God, but it is one thing to praise God when life is going well and another when things seem to be falling apart. That is the challenge. Terry Law states, ‘Praise says, “You are the Most High.” It puts the world back into orbit around God.’ I forget that sometimes and I bet you do too. The sacrifice of praise brings glory to God!
2 Chronicles ch 20 has an inspiring lesson for us all. King Jehoshaphat along with his people are faced with impending disaster. In desperation they sought the Lord for answers:
‘After consulting the people, Jehoshaphat appointed men to sing to the Lord and to praise him for the splendour of his holiness as they went out at the head of the army, saying: “Give thanks to the Lord, for his love endures forever.” Can you imagine what faith that took! “As they began to sing and praise, the Lord set ambushes against the men of Ammon and Moab and Mount Seir who were invading Judah, and they were defeated (verses 21,22).
Praise during hard times is irrational, unnatural, but powerfully effective.
- Praise generally is expressed through speaking, singing and proclaiming. It extols, affirms and treats God with high honour.
- We do not praise God for sinful situations, but we must learn to praise Him in sinful situations. In doing so we start to get God’s perspective.
- During the Lord’s supper Jesus was able to give thanks to His father for the bread and bring words of encouragement to others on the eve of the cross (Matt 26:26).
- Everyone carries burdens but only some people manage to hand them over to God. Practising praise is a habit that truly helps our spirit become free of heaviness.
- A declaration in the heavens wins battles. I was pastoring a deeply divided church as an interim pastor for 10 months. Due to the deep conflict and largely not knowing what else to do, I would regularly go early to the empty church building and sing out praises to God for 30 minutes with volume and conviction. My favourite song was simply ‘Hallelujah’. Other times I made up songs. I did the same at the beach when I was alone. Not only did this change my mental and spiritual disposition, but I believe it eventually brought great release to the church. Try it if you haven’t done so already. The joy of the Lord is your strength.
- Isaiah 61:3 is a prophecy about the coming work of Jesus, ‘to bestow on them a crown of beauty instead of ashes, the oil of joy instead of mourning, and a garment of praise instead of a spirit of despair.’ That is God’s gift to you. By faith choose to wear that garment!
- Learn to praise in prayer and set an example for your team. Don’t simply ask God for what is needed.
- The Psalms speak praise, but a careful read shows that there is not a denial of heartache (e.g. Ps 142). Quite often I read and even memorise parts of Psalms as a means for contemplation and declaration.
- When feeling down, inspiring worship music from the Internet can lead us into an atmosphere of praise.
- Again, I like Terry law’s statements on praise:
- Praise silences the devil – ‘Through the praise of children and infants you have established a stronghold against your enemies, to silence the foe and the avenger’ – Psalm 8:2
- Praise leads us into Christ’s triumph – ‘But thanks be to God, who always leads us as captives in Christ’s triumphal procession and uses us to spread the aroma of the knowledge of him everywhere’ – 2 Corinthians 2:14
- Praise prepares us for miracles – ‘About midnight Paul and Silas were praying and singing hymns to God, and the other prisoners were listening to them. Suddenly there was such a violent earthquake that the foundations of the prison were shaken. At once all the prison doors flew open, and everyone’s chains came loose’ – Acts 16:25,26
- Praise leads us into God’s presence – ‘Enter his gates with thanksgiving and his courts with praise; give thanks to him and praise his name’ – Psalm 100:4
I challenge you to time yourself and set aside 5 minutes a day to praise God in whatever way is most suited to you. It will make a difference.
‘The power of praise and worship’ by Terry Law. (An inspiring book and cheap to purchase from (Amazon.com)
‘The Psalms’ by worshippers of God
Inspiring worship music.