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We have so much to praise God for, there's great power in giving honor to Him. And many of you live that truth out, every single day of your lives. The Bible is filled with examples of praise when we see His power released - life-changing miracles, dramatic stories of the enemy being halted or defeated, hearts being changed and drawn closer to Him.
Yet reality is that way too often, daily struggles or constant life demands can crowd out our praise to God. 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.
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.
There’s power in our acknowledgement that He is worthy, above all else, of our worship and praise.
His Spirit urges us onward, to press in close to him. Doesn't matter how good or "not so good" we feel like we can sing, doesn't matter if we like upbeat worship, more reflective songs, or traditional hymns. Doesn't matter if we're alone, with a few, or in a big group. Doesn't even matter whether we "feel" like it or not. What matters is this - our hearts in tune with our Creator and King.
What the Power of Praise Can Do - 8 Things:
1. Praise gets our focus off ourselves and back on God. 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.
“Praise him for his mighty deeds; praise him according to his excellent greatness!” Psa. 150:2
"And my tongue shall speak of your righteousness and of your praise all the day long." Psa. 35:28
2. Praise brings us to a place of humility. 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.
“Let us come into his presence with thanksgiving; let us make a joyful noise to him with songs of praise! For the Lord is a great God, and a great King above all gods.” Psa. 95:2-3
"I will give you thanks in the great congregation: I will praise you among much people." Psa. 35:18
3. Praise makes the enemy flee. It pushes back the darkness the surrounds, and blocks the attacks and hissing lies over us. Evil will not stick around if we’re praising our God, who will fight our battles for us. In the story of Jehoshaphat, we see God miraculously defeat the enemy, because of the people’s obedience to praise Him.
“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” 2 Chron. 20:22
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.
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“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.” Psa. 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." Heb. 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!” Psa. 100:4
"Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us with all spiritual blessings in heavenly places in Christ:" Eph. 1:3
6. Praise invites His presence. God dwells close to us when we praise Him. He lives there. He looks for it.
“He inhabits the praises of His people.” Psa. 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 Pet. 2:9
7. Our spirits are refreshed and renewed in His presence. 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.” Psa. 16:11
"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." Psa. 63:3-4
8. It paves the way for God's power to be displayed, miracles happen. 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
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.
We praise you today with our hearts and songs, we praise you for your faithfulness, we praise you for your great power and love. We confess our need for you, our lives don't go so well when we just spin around on our own. We struggle and worry, get weary and worn. Yet you never leave us. Thank you for your presence. Thank you for your care over us, thank you that you breathe renewal right into our souls. We ask for your spirit to fill us, to draw us close to yourself, and to work your purposes through us, as we set our eyes on you.
In Jesus' Name,
Debbie McDaniel is a writer, pastor's wife, mom to three amazing kids (and a lot of pets). Join her each morning on Fresh Day Ahead's facebook page, https://www.facebook.com/DebbieWebbMcDaniel, for daily encouragement in living strong, free, hope-filled lives.