SHOUTS OF PRAISE

Scripture: Praise the LORD. How good it is to sing praises to our God, how pleasant and fitting to praise him! The LORD builds up Jerusalem; he gathers the exiles of Israel. He heals the brokenhearted and binds up their wounds. He determines the number of the stars and calls them each by name. Great is our Lord and mighty in power; his understanding has no limit. The LORD sustains the humble but casts the wicked to the ground. Sing to the LORD with thanksgiving; make music to our God on the harp. He covers the sky with clouds; he supplies the earth with rain and makes grass grow on the hills. He provides food for the cattle and for the young ravens when they call. His pleasure is not in the strength of the horse, nor his delight in the legs of a man; the LORD delights in those who fear him, who put their hope in his unfailing love. Extol the LORD, O Jerusalem; praise your God, O Zion, for he strengthens the bars of your gates and blesses your people within you. He grants peace to your borders and satisfies you with the finest of wheat. Ps.147:1-14 NIV

I do like the sight of little children trick or treating at my door in their cute costumes, but I have never been a big fan of Halloween for several reasons. One reason in particular is that I do not like to be scared. I pray that you do not take the time to debate the issue of Halloween, but instead I would like to turn this season from scared to sacred thoughts.

Praise is often coupled with giving God thanks. The easiest way to distinguish between  them is to understand that we praise God for Who He is, and thank Him for what He has done. We examine and express His unchanging character and attributes when we praise Him and His actions when we thank Him. Praise is an important part of our prayer life; it places God high and lifted up on His throne and us at His feet in awe of Him. Our praise helps us to understand and voice the awesomeness of His power, love, authority, sovereignty and supremacy. When we praise God, it puts us in the right position of humility and awe which casts away our problems and fears when we compare them against His Mightiness. As we focus on Him, it becomes harder to give attention to our earthly fears; trust grows as we cast our cares on Him, knowing the enormity of His care for us.

Sometimes people struggle with praise, so let’s practice based on today’s Psalm: God we praise You because You are the Builder. You build up nations, communities, relationships; You establish Your will and You are the Author of our days. You are our Rescuer and Healer. You are Creator of all that exists; all things were made by You and Through you. You are Good! You are Great! You are Mighty! You are all-knowing, all-powerful and you are not limited by man or circumstance. You are our Sustainer, the one true Judge, Righteous and worthy of praise. You are our Provider and Protector, Your love is immeasurable and Unfailing. You are Love, Lifted up, the Giver of blessings and the Granter of peace. You are Supreme, Sovereign, and Satisfier of my soul.

Are you getting the idea? It is also important to praise others for who they are and not always focus on what they do. It is important for a child or spouse to be praised, otherwise they will always believe your attention and affection is based on what they do instead of who they are.

Our affection and admiration of God should be based on Who He is and not based on whether or not He does everything we ask Him to. In this practice of prayer, fears are calmed, peace prevails and stress is squelched. Strength replaces weakness and sleep returns to the restless.

I challenge you to practice praising Him in your prayer time every day.

My prayer for you is that you would approach God with affectionate awe and shouts of praise.

Copyright Kathy Branzell.  To connect with the author, email info@christianeducators.org

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