As a kid I used to wonder why we praised God. Was God so insecure He needed to hear our words of praise all the time? Not at all.
What I’ve come to understand is that praising God is a gift for us. A golden opportunity to be reminded of God’s power, magnificence and all the blessings we have received and often forget to acknowledge. Until we launch into praise.
Let everything that has breath praise the Lord! Praise the Lord! (Psalm 150:6) It’s so easy to take the gift of breath for granted, but it came directly from God. At the beginning of time God breathed into us—and all living creatures—the breath of life. Wow. When you take a deep breath and praise God, you’re giving thanks for that.
Praise the Lord, all nations! Extol him, all peoples! For great is his steadfast love toward us, and the faithfulness of the Lord endures forever. Praise the Lord! (Psalm 117:1-2) Look at all those exclamation points. I loved typing them. It goes against all editorial conventions. You’re supposed to use exclamation marks sparingly.
Not when it comes to praising God. Verses like this give us a chance to access the enthusiastic part of our souls. Praise puts us in touch with the godly part of our being, buoyed by God’s steadfast love and faithfulness.
Enter his gates with thanksgiving, and his courts with praise! Give thanks to him; bless his name! (Psalm 100:4) When I’m feeling out of sorts, burdened and weary, I’ll take out a piece of paper or notebook and write down the things I’m grateful for.
There is healing in that simple exercise. I rediscover peace of mind. You think you’d run out of things to be thankful for. Not a chance. At last count, one notebook of mine lists 162 things I’m grateful for. And I’m only just starting.
About midnight Paul and Silas were praying and singing hymns to God…and suddenly there was a great earthquake, so that the foundations of the prison were shaken. And immediately all the doors were opened, and everyone’s bonds were unfastened. (Acts 16:25-26)
Miracles come about through praise, even the simple act of singing hymns and praying. Of course, I’m drawn to this story because it involves Paul’s friend Silas. Silas is the name of our new grandson, born this summer. (Talk about an event worthy of praise!) I expect to be singing hymns with him very soon.
Let them praise his name with dancing, making melody to him with tambourine and lyre! (Psalm 149:3) Praise isn’t something you just do with your voice. You can get your whole body involved. Raise your arms, clap your hands. Dance!
I will extol you, my God and King, and bless your name forever and ever. (Psalm 145:1) I was feeling kind of glum when I started writing this blog. Not anymore. Praise put me back in good spirits. Back in touch with our Maker.