Witnessing a magnificent fireworks display, hearing a stunning symphony, or seeing a glorious sunset can evoke a response of praise. But often, it's easier to praise a sunset that the Creator of the sunset. In that same way, the difficulties of life often cloud our vision and keep us from praising God. What can we do to restore a heart-attitude of praise?
THE NATURE OF PRAISE
Praise, according to the Scriptures, is an act of our will that flows out of an awe and reverence for our Creator. Praise gives glory to God and opens us up to a deeper union with Him. It turns our attention off of our problems and on the nature and character of God Himself.
As we focus our minds on God and proclaim His goodness, we reflect His glory back to Him. The results can fill you with peace and contentment (Isaiah 26:3) and transform your outlook on life.
REASONS TO PRAISE
Very simply, we praise God because He is worthy of our praise (1 Chron. 16:25; Rev. 5:11-14). He is the Alpha and Omega, the Beginning and the End, the King of kings and Lord of lords. He is our Creator, Provider, Healer, Redeemer, Judge, Defender and much more.
Another foundational reason to praise God is simple obedience. The Bible says God is a "jealous" God who demands and desires our praise. "You shall have no other gods before Me," says the first commandment (Deut. 6:7). As the psalmist said, "Let everything that has breath praise the Lord" (Psalm 150:6).
As we praise God, we will discover incredible benefits for our lives. That's because human beings were created by God to praise Him (Isa. 43:7, Matt. 21:16). Due to man's original sin, however, this relationship was disrupted. Praising God helps restore us to that right relationship, for God actually dwells in the praises of His people (Psalm 22:3). As we draw near to the Father in praise, He draws near to us (James 4:8).
Praise is also our ultimate destiny. When the Lord Jesus Christ returns again to earth, all creation -- including prideful mankind -- will recognize His glory and praise Him (Phil. 2:9-11).
PRAISE FOR PROTECTION
God also gives us assurances of additional blessings as we praise Him. When we praise God, He honors us as His children, and provides His loving protection (2 Sam. 22:47-51). Failure to praise God, however, leaves us out of fellowship with God and out of His divine protection (1 Samuel 2:27-32).
Our praise can also serve as a powerful witness to those who do not know the Lord (1 Peter 2:9). Also, God can work miraculously through our praises. The ancient walls of Jericho came crashing down, giving victory to God's people, as a result of shouts of praise (Joshua 6:1-21). The prison doors shook open when Paul and Silas praised God (Acts 16:25-26).
OBSTACLES TO PRAISE
Praise is both important and powerful. So why is it so difficult at times to praise God? The Bible explains that, even with the power of the indwelling Jesus, our hearts are still "more deceitful that all else" (Jer. 17:9). We sometimes forget that we are always dependent on God to live victoriously in this life.
Satan therefore tries to persuade us that we will eventually reach a point where we can "do it ourselves." The Scriptures are clear that Satan "prowls about like a roaring lion, seeking someone to devour" (1 Peter 5:8).
Disguised as an "angel of light," the devil and his host seek subtly to subvert the praises the children of God owe to their heavenly Father.
God, however, has given us grace in times of need, provided we humble ourselves (Matt. 23:12; James 4:5-10). Praising God allows us to defeat the strategies of the enemy. As God's adopted children, we no longer have to remain slaves to sin (Gal. 4:6-7). We have a powerful spiritual weapon in praise, and it is guaranteed to be effective (II Cor. 10:4-5).
LIVING A LIFE OF PRAISE
It is vitally important to live in an attitude of praise toward God. But what can you do if you are having difficulty maintaining a life filled with praise?
- Commit your life to Christ. First, be absolutely sure that you have placed your complete faith in Jesus Christ as Lord and Savior of your life. The Bible says that "if you confess with your mouth Jesus as Lord, and believe in your heart that God raised Him from the dead, you shall be saved" (Rom. 10:9). The life of praise begins here, with the confession of your mouth that "Jesus is Lord."
- Confess sin and repent. Sin, including prideful self-reliance, separates us from God and from His love and protection. But we have the assurance of forgiveness if we come to Him in repentance (1 John 1:9). Confess any known sin and ask God to search your heart. Then, receive His forgiveness.
- Praise God anyway! Despite your present feelings, it is important to offer praise to God, what Hebrews 13:15 calls a sacrifice" of praise. Despite our feelings or circumstances, God often asks us to take the first step, especially when He is trying to help us grow in our faith (James 1:2-4).
- Join together with other believers. Sharing your struggles with another brother or sister in Christ is not only good idea (Ecc. 4:9-10), it is commanded (James 5:16). Uniting with other believers in regular worship is also a key to being able to praise God (Heb. 10:24-25).
AS YOU PRAY
Are you living a life filled with praise for God? If not, take a few moments to examine your life and your relationship with Jesus. If you have not made Him Lord of your life, start there. Then, confess any known sin and receive His forgiveness. Ask Him to renew you and refresh your spirit.
"Lord, You have made me and You love me. Forgive me for failing to give You the praise which You deserve. I confess my need of You in all things. I desire to walk in joy and praise. Release me now into a deeper understanding of who You are, so that I may truly praise You. I ask all this in Jesus' name. Amen."
GOD'S WORD ON PRAISE
"Sing to the Lord, all the earth; Proclaim good tidings of His salvation from day to day. Tell of His glory among the nations, His wonderful deeds among all the peoples. For great is the Lord, and greatly to be praised; He also is to be feared above all gods" (1 Chron. 16:23-25).
SCRIPTURES FOR STUDY
1 Chronicles 16:7-36, Revelation 5:11-14 -- God is worthy of our praise
Psalm 34:1-9 -- Promised protection and praise
1 Peter 2:9-12 -- Praise as a witness to unbelievers
Hebrews 13:15-16 -- Perseverance in praise
Copyright 2000 by The Christian Broadcasting Network, Inc.