Lives That are Not Built on the Prayerful Direction of God Struggle.
We might check the worship box at church and somehow think we’re good for the week. And all the while, with souls distant and cold, we sing words, we listen to music, then we go home.
Sometimes it really is a sacrifice to offer praise. We may not feel like it. We’re struggling. We're weary. Or maybe, we feel like He let us down. We think God seems distant, like he's far away, or doesn't really care about what's troubling us. Painful life blows and losses might have recently sent us spiraling.
People That Thrive Have a Proper Perspective on God.
Here’s what can make a lasting difference. When we make that decision to fix our eyes on Him, and daily give Him praise, no matter what's staring us straight in the face, we suddenly realize that God has already begun to release the grip those struggles can have over us.
8 Things the Power of Praise Can Do:
In our often “selfie” focused world, we need this constant reminder - life is not all about us. We may know that in our heads, but yet our hearts think differently so often. We're prone to selfishness, He desires our eyes be set firmly on Him, because that's where our true hope is found. He is worthy of our praise, no matter what we face from day to day.
When we praise we understand that:
We Own Our Perspective and Let God Own Our Circumstances.
Praise him for his mighty works; praise his unequaled greatness!
Psalms 150:2 NLT
Then I won’t be able to hold it in—everyone will hear my joyous praises all day long! Your righteousness will be the theme of my glory-song of praise!
Psalms 35:28 TPT
2. Praise Brings Us to a Place of Humility.
C.S. Lewis said:
True humility is not thinking less of yourself; it is thinking of yourself less. -C.s. Lewis
We remember our dependency on God, as we acknowledge our need for Him. As we praise Him as Creator and King of this world, we admit and recognize that we’re not in control, but He is. He is above all.
James 4:10 says
Humble yourselves before the Lord, and he will lift you up. James 4:10
3. Praise Makes the Enemy Flee.
Praise pushes back the darkness that surrounds, and blocks the attacks and lies over us. Evil will not stick around if we are praising our God, who will fight our battles for us.
In 2 Chronicles 20, we find the account of one of many mighty miracles performed by God for His people. It’s an exciting story that holds a wonderful lesson for us.
During the reign of King Jehoshaphat, word came that the armies of the Moabites, Ammonites, and some of the Meunites had declared war against Judah. The messenger brought the daunting news that the enemy was marching out with a vast army, ready to attack. Though the king was terrified, knowing his tiny army didn’t stand a chance against such a monumental force, his humble response is what ultimately secured the victory. Rather than allying himself with other surrounding nations, counting on them for help, Jehoshaphat bowed low before the Lord and pleaded with Him for guidance and rescue. He also ordered all the people of Judah to fast and seek the Lord.
Early in the morning they left for the Desert of Tekoa. As they set out, Jehoshaphat stood and said, “Listen to me, Judah and people of Jerusalem! Have faith in the Lord your God and you will be upheld; have faith in his prophets and you will be successful.” After consulting the people, Jehoshaphat appointed men to sing to the Lord and to praise him for the splendor of his[c] holiness as they went out at the head of the army, saying:
“Give thanks to the Lord, for his love endures forever.” 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. The Ammonites and Moabites rose up against the men from Mount Seir to destroy and annihilate them. After they finished slaughtering the men from Seir, they helped to destroy one another. 2 Chronicles 20:20-23
When we acknowledge who it is that fights for us, it will both terrify the enemy, and strengthen our resolve.
Only by Your power can we push back our enemies; only in Your name can we trample our foes. I do not trust in my bow; I do not count on my sword to save me. You are the One who gives us victory over our enemies; You disgrace those who hate us. Oh God, we give glory to You all day long and constantly praise Your Name. Psalms 44:5-7
4. Praise Leaves No Room for Complaining and Negativity.
Sometimes even within our prayers, we can tend to complain about our problems. God knows our hearts. And He cares about all that concerns us. But through praise, we’re focused on Him, no longer allowing too much attention to be centered around the struggles. We’re reminded of what He has already done in our lives. We’re reminded that He knows what concerns us, and is capable of taking care of all that burdens us and all that stretches us, all that grows us.
Henry Kissinger said “A diamond is a chunk of coal that did well under pressure.”
Let all that I am praise the Lord; may I never forget the good things he does for me. He forgives all my sins and heals all my diseases. 4 He redeems me from death and crowns me with love and tender mercies. Psalms 103:2-4 NLT
Therefore, let us offer through Jesus a continual sacrifice of praise to God, proclaiming our allegiance to his name. Hebrews 13:15
5. Praise Makes Room for God’s Blessings Over Our Lives.
He will not hold back His goodness, praise opens the gateway of blessing as we come into the Presence of our King.
Enter his gates with thanksgiving, and his courts with praise! Give thanks to him; bless his name! Psalms 100:4
I see praise as planting seed in preparation for the harvest.
When we praise in our prayer time we are declaring the outcome of the harvest.
This is how you begin preparing for your blessing. Whatever you are believing God for, plant seeds in the ground for the harvest you’re expecting. You must also tend to your seed by watering them. Every gardener understand that you must water your seed even when you don’t see the growth. They know if they water it consistently it will produce a harvest.
Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us with all spiritual blessings in heavenly places in Christ: Ephesians 1:3
6. Praise Invites His Presence and Brings Us Joy.
God dwells close to us when we praise Him. He lives there. He looks for it. He inhabits the praises of His people.
But you are not like that, for you are a chosen people. You are royal priests, a holy nation, God’s very own possession. As a result, you can show others the goodness of God, for he called you out of the darkness into his wonderful light. 1 Peter 2:9
We're strengthened by His peace and refueled by His joy. Through a heart of praise, we realize that God doesn’t just change our situations and work through our problems, He changes our hearts.
In His presence, there is fullness of joy. Psalm 16:11
Our Source of Joy Should be a Mixture of Gratitude and Expectation.
"Because your love is better than life, my lips will glorify you. I will praise you as long as I live, and in your name I will lift up my hands." Psalm 63:3-4
7. Praise Gives Us Unwavering Confidence.
There is oftentimes a gap between the prayers and the answers. During that gap it’s important to spend it in praise. Praise keeps your confidence that God is working on your behalf and to keep trusting and keep believing.
This is the reason I urge you to boldly believe for whatever you ask for in prayer- be convinced that you have received it and it will be yours. Mark 11:24
So keep your thoughts continually fixed on all that is authentic and real, honorable and admirable, beautiful and respectful, pure and holy, merciful and kind. And fasten your thoughts on every glorious work of God,[a] praising him always. Philippians 4:8 TPT
8. Praise Paves the Way for the Miraculous.
One of the best pictures of how praise can allow God’s power to be displayed is the story of Paul and Silas in Acts chapter 16. (set the story up)
People's lives are affected and changed. God shakes things up through praise. As Paul and Silas sat in prison, shackled, and chained, they kept right on praising God. And God sent an earthquake that shook the cells and broke the chains. The jailer and all his family came to know Christ that very night.
About midnight Paul and Silas were praying and singing hymns to God, and the prisoners were listening to them, 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
Build a Gratitude List
There is something about taking the time and energy to write down all you are grateful for. Seeing it triggers something in us.
Once you have your list then start your prayer time praising Him for all that you have and all that he is doing in your life.
-Start Your Prayer Time with Praise.
We have a choice every day in this life. To live absorbed in worry and stress, on the fast track of busy, focused only on what surrounds us, tuned into the roar of the world.
Or, we can ask God to help us take our eyes off all that may be swirling around, our problems and mess, or the voices of others. And we can look up...to Him, the One who holds it all together, and who holds us in his hands.
God desires our whole heart. He waits for us to return. He longs for us to know the power of His presence over our lives. He desires to bless us more than we could imagine. His Spirit urges us onward, calling us closer.
May He help us to look up...open our mouths...and sing.