As a worship leader, praise and worship is part of my daily lifestyle. Early in my walk with Christ, I would sing songs of praise during my quiet time with the Lord. I would sing on my way to and from work, and even at home while cooking dinner or getting dressed.
However, as the years have gone by, I’ve learned the beauty of praise and worship apart from singing songs. I believe gratitude is a treasure of the heart that is constantly renewed as we commune with the Father. It’s because of gratitude that we can live in a posture of praise whether music is present or not.
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Praise and Gratitude: A Purposeful Act
Developing a habit of praising and gratitude towards God is a purposeful act. Here’s a secret: it doesn’t always feel good to our flesh to praise God. Sometimes, we will find ourselves in positions where having a heart of gratitude is hard fought for.
I believe that it’s in those moments when we have to truly press through and fight to praise God that we actually develop this habit.
In addition, I would say that the secret place (the place where it’s just us and the Lord) is where our hearts are shaped and molded into storehouses for praise and gratitude.
The more we surrender our expectations and logic that can surround our sacrifices of praise and gratitude, I believe the more we will experience a greater love and appreciation for our God.
Here are 5 ways that you can create a pattern of praise and gratefulness in your own life. I pray that you would come to know the Lord in a deeper way, and that your relationship with him would be filled with new passion and a new wonder!
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1. Praise Him No Matter Your Situation.
There can be this propensity in us to only praise God when we feel like doing so. When our circumstances are on the up and up. When we are having good days. But sometimes, I think we can rely too much on our own emotions when it comes to praising the Lord, instead of the never-ending truth that God is good forever and that he is always worthy to be praised.
In Psalm 145, we read a song of David that says this,
“Every day I will bless you and praise your name forever and ever. Great is the Lord, and greatly to be praised, and his greatness is unsearchable.” Psalms 145:2-3.
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2. Don’t Rely On Your Emotions to Tell You When to Praise God.
I love this because David understood and saw God in the right perspective. God is above all things. We cannot fathom the wonder, majesty, strength, creativity, and love of God. It’s just too much for us! When we approach praise in this way, we quickly realize that our emotions are an ill standard with which to measure our willingness to praise God. We should always be in a state of praise because God is always in a state of being God!
Recognizing this allowed me to praise God with a renewed mind. I was no longer driven to praising the Most High God based on the conditional nature of my emotions and circumstances.
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3. Making a Daily Habit of Praise and Gratitude Will Feel Like a Fight.
Learning to praise God habitually certainly does not come without a cost. Because we are human, we have to wade through all of our human emotions and thinking. We have to view our circumstances as things that God can influence, infiltrate, and shift at any given moment!
Otherwise, we will praise our Father only when it is convenient for us.
We shouldn’t be surprised when we find ourselves having to press in and fight to praise the Lord, because these moments will come. I believe that these moments are tests to see if we truly value God above everything else! We praise and give thanks to God not because of anything that we may be going through. We do it out of honor and love and recognition that he is Alpha and Omega.
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4. Examine Your Views on God.
The word praise in Greek means accurate and enthusiastic acknowledgement. If you are having a difficult time praising God, I would encourage you to soberly think about how you view him! Our focus can become pulled towards things in our lives that seem incredibly important and pressing. However, choosing to give our attention to God is so much worthwhile. We start to magnify him above the things we are dealing with and before we know it, that situation that looked so big doesn’t seem so big anymore!
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"God inhabits the praise of his people."
When I think about the difficult moments in my life when I chose to praise God, I was changed as a person. I was able to look at my situation and navigate it with peace and a sound mind. Scripture tells us that God inhabits the praise of his people (Psalm 22:3). Because of this, when we praise God, we bring him into our situations. When we fail to praise him and instead choose to complain or sulk in sadness, we give room for the enemy to overwhelm and intimidate us with our circumstances.
If you are at a point in your life where it is difficult to see the end of a situation, be encouraged to lean into praising God and showing him gratitude. This can look like singing, shouting, or simply telling him that you acknowledge his presence. Do it with enthusiasm and honor, and watch how your life begins to change!
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5. Get to Your Secret Place.
Do you know what my favorite time of sitting before the Lord is? It’s when I pull myself away from the distractions of life and simply come before the Lord. My favorite time with him is when it’s just he and I.
Life moves so fast! The days might seem to drag on slowly, but the years fly by. I cherish my time with the Lord because more often than not, it’s in those quiet moments when I lower the volume on everything going on around me, that I hear his voice more clearly. I grow in my relationship with God in the secret place. I receive fresh revelation about him in the secret place.
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Be Encouraged: As Your Work on Gratitude and Praise, Your Relationship with God Will Grow
Cultivating a lifestyle of praise and gratitude grows as our relationship with the Lord grows. If you think about it, this makes sense. Why would praise and give thanks to a God who is invisible to us, if we do not know him? We wouldn’t. Or at least, I wouldn’t!
There is something about the sweet communion that happens in the quiet place that fills our hearts and minds with the knowledge of God’s goodness and love. We pour out in the secret place, and we get filled up there, too.
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God Reveals Himself Loudly and Softly
There seems to be two extremes to the way the Lord speaks and shows himself to us. We can see him all around us when we look at the beauty of creation (Psalm 19). We see him in people, the mountains, produce, rivers and the sky. God speaks about himself so loudly through these things.
We also hear him in the stillness and softness of life. The seemingly mundane things. The moments where we are in between one space and another. We can find him there.
He wants to speak to us and show us his glory not just in the big things, but also in the little ones.
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When it's Easy and When it's Not: Lean In to God
After I spend time with God in the secret place, I come to appreciate his majesty over the big and wonderful things he’s created. I view the life around me in right perspective after I’ve been in my quiet time.
I am much more able and willing to love as he loves, to be grateful, and to walk in a posture of praise after I’ve been intentional about meeting with him.
Lean in to God when it is easy and when it’s not. Spend time with God. Get to know him intimately. Allow him to fill you in the secret place. These are some of the very best ways to create a habit of praise and gratitude towards him!
Britnee Bradshaw is a free-spirited, Old Navy-wearin', coffee-shop lovin', wife and momma. She serves in the worship ministry with her husband at their home church in Glendale, AZ and writes with the sole purpose of pointing others to Christ. You can catch up with her on her blog, On The Way Up, or via social media @b_brdshw!
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Originally published Wednesday, 10 April 2019.