Welcome to July, the month of the Power of Praise! God does not need occasional encouragement because He has no ego problem, nor does He suffer from fits of depression. He also does not suffer from any emotional issues that would make Him crave our praise and attention. Hebrews 13:8 says, “Jesus Christ is the same yesterday, today and forever.” Many of us think that when we praise Him loudly enough, God will respond quickly because He is moved.
If God were moved by my praise or a lack thereof, I would be able to determine what kind of day God was having. However, if that were true, He would not be the faithful and unchanging God that He is, because the quality of His day would depend on the quality of my praise. Why praise then? Before answering the question, let us get an understanding of what praise is.
What is Praise?
The Oxford Advanced Learner’s Dictionary defines the word Praise as “words that show approval of or admiration for somebody or something.” It also means “an expression of worship to God.”
Praise is a part of us. The roar of the crowd when their team wins the big game. The cheers at the dining room table as you win the chess game. The thunderous applause as the orchestra performs the symphonic finale. The mom and dad cheering wildly as their son or daughter plays at the kindergarten. The tears and exuberant “YES” as he asks her to be his wife. Praise is inherent in each and every one of us. It is something we were created to do.
SEVEN TRUTHS ABOUT THE POWER OF PRAISE
Now, let us look at seven of the many truths about the power of praise. Books could be and have been written about the power of our praise. Here, we are choosing to focus on seven truths that will encourage you as your inner health becomes audible.
1. PRAISE GIVES US ACCESS TO GOD.
Psalm 100:4 says, “Enter His gates with thanksgiving and His courts with praise.” This verse refers to Moses’ Tabernacle in the wilderness. The gate through which you approach God is thanksgiving and the court you enter is praise. Psalm 100:4 should be so much more meaningful in light of its historical context. It pains me to see people skip the praise and worship portion of a service. Worse yet, Pastor or visiting speaker would skip out on worship and show up at the very end just in time to speak.
Praise and worship is not the opening act to the Pastor’s message! Praise softens the soil of your heart so the seeds of the message can be planted. To have direct access to God, it is essential to come through praise.
Make It Personal: How can you incorporate praise into your everyday life giving you access to God? You can turn on praise music while you clean the house, while you are in the car, while you are cooking in the kitchen, while you are sitting by the pool. Till the soil of your heart with praise, and then allow God to plant His words into fresh soil.
2. PRAISE CHANGES YOU.
Praise can change you if you allow it to. Praise changes relationships, hearts, and mindsets. In praise, our focus shifts from us to the LORD; from problems to The Solution, from pain to promise, and from hurt to hope.
Proverbs 27:21 says, “As the fining pot for silver, and the furnace for gold; so is a man to his praise.” Judson Cornwall says it this way in Let Us Praise, “So often, when we have heated our spirits in worship . . . thoughts, desires, and attitudes rise to the surface.” As we are broken and heated in the Presence of the LORD, those negative attitudes rise to the surface of our hearts. We are then able to bring them to Jesus to be forgiven and cleansed.
Watch the goldsmith pour the melted silver into molds; you will notice the silver before and after the fire’s touch. Before it hits the fire, the silver is rugged, hard, and jagged. Once the fire begins the work of melting away the jagged pieces, the silver becomes pliable and smooth. You can almost see yourself in the melted silver. The silver becomes like a mirror. Only then is it able to be molded.
In the fires of praise, God reaches out and melts down our jagged edges until we become smooth and pliable in His hands. Only then can we be molded into His image. We become so smooth and clear that when others look at us and when we look at ourselves, we see a mirror reflecting the image of Jesus.
Make It Personal: Be patient. God is working to purify you into His image. Let Him do His work.
3. PRAISE IS A RELATIONSHIP; IT IS NOT A RITUAL
Psalm 81:10 says, “I am the LORD, YOUR God . . .”. Isn’t it wonderful to know that He is ours and we are His? Praise brings us into a closer relationship with Jesus. In Exodus 25:8, God tells Moses to build a sanctuary that “I may dwell among them.” He did not want a cathedral shining with jewels to show His awesomeness. He did not ask for massive monuments or statues made of gold. God asked for a simple tent. It was not about the structure. It was about the relationship. He wanted a tabernacle just so He could be with us. That brings such tears to my eyes. The God of all of the earth could be anywhere, could have anything, could do anything, and yet He chooses to be with you, dear friend.
Can God move in the lasers, fog machines, and electric guitars? Of course. Can God move in the rituals of our worship? Of course, He can do whatever He wants to do. He is God. I am not arguing how you should praise. I am stating that if your cultural rituals replace relationship, it no longer becomes praise. True praise does not come from modern culture or a rigid religious system. True praise comes from relationship with Jesus. He inhabits the praises of His people (Psalm 22:3). He dwells in, lives in, and abides in our praise. My dear friends, He just wants a relationship with you.
Make It Personal: Any relationship needs communication. Our relationship with Christ needs communication.
4. PRAISE DEFEATS THE ENEMY.
The first mention of praise in the Bible is at the birth of Jacob’s son, Judah, in Genesis 29:35. Judah means praise. No matter where you see the name Judah in the Bible, it always means praise. Revelation 5:5 tells us that our LORD Jesus, The Lion of the Tribe of Praise (Judah) has overcome! So, do many of us walk around in fear of the enemy? Who are you afraid of? Whether it is “the devil” you fear, your own thoughts, or your next-door neighbor, why walk around fearing our enemy and what he/she could do to us?
In the historical books of the Bible, Judah is always performing. He is always moving. In Judges 1:1-2 we read, “Now after the death of Joshua it came to pass, that the children of Israel asked the LORD, saying, Who shall go up for us against the Canaanites first, to fight against them? And the LORD said, Judah shall go up: behold, I have delivered the land into his hand.” God told PRAISE to go in first to the enemy. Praise entered the battle first.
Make It Personal: Dear Friend, what are you battling today? Fear? An unsaved spouse? A co-worker? Your children? Your weight? Your self-defeating thoughts? Try this; instead of battling in your own power, put on an amazing praise song and start singing! Sing over your situation. Sing over your spouse, your children, your fear, and your thoughts! Rejoice over your life and lift up an encouraging praise. YES, PRAISE DEFEATS THE ENEMY.
5. 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 are focused on Him, no longer allowing too much attention to be centered around the struggles. We are reminded of what He has already done in our lives. We are reminded that He knows what concerns us, and is capable of taking care of all that burdens us.
“Bless the LORD, O my soul, and forget not all His benefits, Who forgives all your iniquity, Who heals all your diseases, Who redeems your life from the pit, Who crowns you with steadfast love and mercy” (Psalm 103:2-4). “By Him therefore let us offer the sacrifice of praise to God continually, that is, the fruit of our lips giving thanks to His Name” (Hebrews 13:15).
Make It Personal: Be reminded that God knows all that concerns you and be assured that He is capable of taking care of all your burdens. In which case, you are free to lift your voice, heart, and hands in praise once you have cast all your cares upon Him (1 Peter 5:7).
6. PRAISE INVITES HIS PRESENCE.
God dwells close to us when we praise Him. He lives there, and so He looks for it. “He inhabits the praises of His people” (Psalm 22:3). “But you are a chosen generation, a royal priesthood, an holy nation, a peculiar people; that you should show forth the praises of Him Who has called you out of darkness into His marvelous light;” (1 Peter 2:9).
Make It Personal: Through conscious effort, start making room for opportunities and instances to praise God in and for your life. Let there be an incremental progression of these praise session over time.
7. IT PAVES THE WAY FOR GOD’S POWER TO BE DISPLAYED, MIRACLES HAPPEN.
People’s lives are affected and changed because God shakes things up through praise. As Paul and Silas sat in prison, shackled, and chained, they kept right on praising God. Then, God sent an earthquake that shook the cells and broke their 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).
Make It Personal: We have a choice every day in this life. We can live absorbed by 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 (Psalms 121:1-8), the One Who holds it all together, and Who holds us in His hands.
Praise fixed firmly upon faith opens the door for God to work for you, in you, through you and for you to turn impossibilities into victories. He is able to handle all that you cannot handle. This was true for one leper Jesus healed in Luke 17:17-19, which tells us of ten lepers that begged Jesus for mercy, but only one returned to thank Him. Praise also followed the faith of the blind beggar who told Jesus he wanted to see (Luke 18:35-43).
- So, what are you waiting for? You need to praise God in the midst of your problems, and you must do it now. Your praise is what attracts God to you, it gets you into His Presence.
- Praise Him because His ultimate goal is that you should bask in His Presence (Psalm 16:11) and eat at His table forevermore (Psalm 23).
- Praise Him because His Presence is more important to you than anything and everything that might have been keeping you from praising Him (Exodus 33).
- Thank You, LORD, for bringing us to the month of praise. We salute your ingenuity, power, love, foresight, insight and hindsight in creating man for praise.
- I thank You for the triumphant songs of victory You gave us in January, February, March, April, May & June until now. Thank You.
- Thank You, LORD, for the testimonies of the past six months in spite of the tests, trials and the pandemic.
- I am grateful for my redemption through the Blood of Jesus.
- Thank You, LORD Jesus, for silencing the adversary, avenger and accuser, who accuses me day and night before my God, by Your Blood.
- Father, I confess that I do not deserve the least of the mercies I enjoyed from You throughout the last six months. For this, I bow to You in humble adoration and appreciation.
- I hereby receive the blessing of a new month with simple thanksgiving to You, my Father.
- As I praise You like the people of Judah and as Jehoshaphat, let all the Amalekites of my life, church and my city be put to shame as You did in times of old, in Jesus’ Name.
- Father, help me so that praise and thanksgiving become my lifestyle. Help me to appreciate God more and to have a heart of gratitude towards every person.
- Father use me in any capacity You desire, in Jesus’ mighty Name.
- May praise and thanksgiving better my life and my relationships with my spouse, superiors, colleagues, subordinates, my children, and everybody I relate with, in Jesus’ Name.
- Thank You, LORD. I will praise You from everlasting to everlasting, in Jesus’ Name.