Praise: express warm approval or admiration of (definition is the courtesy of Google)
I find myself in a place with the Lord where I am beginning to realizing praise is not just about singing a song or just about raising my hands. It is a weapon against the enemy. It is a tactic that wins every time and a tactic I seldomly use. While I am in church I lift my hands, clap, sway and sing during praise and worship but recently that has been the extent of my praise.
When I think of praise and what it means, my mind immediately takes me to the book of Psalms where we find David singing to the Lord. Looking at Psalm 139:14 it says, "I praise you Lord, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made; your works are wonderful, I know that full well". This entire Psalm shows how David is praising the Lord. In this scripture specifically David explicitly says that he is giving praise to God. Reading further I see that David is talking about how God knew him before he was formed and that influenced his praise.
This week I want to challenge myself each day to give the Lord my best praise. I will start with praising the Lord for every hour and then increasing my time as I feel more natural at praising the Lord. As I continued to read Psalm 139 and to look at the other Psalms, I noticed that David praises the Lord for the things He has already done for him and for the things He has hope the Lord will do for him. That is how I want to be. Every now and then I get a praise in my heart and I sing to the Lord or I dance for the Lord as an act of praise and as a way to express my gratitude and admiration of the Lord. Those times are few and far between and I want that to change. In order for me to get into a natural praise posture, I will give the Lord my best praise daily.
All throughout the bible, I read how the heart of man needs to be in the right place when we are doing things, and even more so for the believer. If our hearts are not in alignment with the Lord, then what we are doing and saying holds no value. I do not want to start this challenge with the wrong heart posture and with the wrong intentions, I want it to be pure and pleasing in the sight of the Lord. At the end of Psalm 139 David says, "Search me, God, and know my heart; test me and know my anxious thoughts. See if there is any offensive way in me, and lead me in the way everlasting" Psalm 139:23-24.
Starting this week, I am going to pray this prayer each day before I praise the Lord, so I can be sure to know my heart is in the right place. I am inviting you to join this praise "challenge" with me. I put that in quotes because right now it is to increase my time praising the Lord and savior but I want praising the Lord to become second nature through practice. This week I will also continue reading Psalm 139 each day, meditating on it and asking for a better understanding of praise each day as well. If you want to join me, let's do it!
Here are a few questions I will be asking and answering:
Do I know that the Lord's works are wonderful?
Is praise a weapon I can carry on a daily basis?
What is praise?
Do I really understand the importance of praise?
As the week progresses I hope to have answers to all of these questions. I believe the Lord wants me to increase my praise life and to praise in the good and in the bad. I believe praise is a weapon that I do not pick up enough, therefore my knowledge of how to use it is limited and I want to change that. The bible tells us to be hearers and doers of the word, so this is my start at being a hearer of praise and being a better doer of praise, for without the Lord, I am nothing.
I will leave us with a prayer,
Father I thank You for loving and caring for me. I thank You for this new place You are calling me into. I pray that as I read Your word I would be able to put into practice what You instruct. I pray that I would be able to lift an authentic praise up to You and that it would be a sweet aroma to Your nose and a sweet melody in Your ears. If there is anything in me that is not in right standing with You, I pray that You would bring it to my attention that I may give it over to You and that it would be replaced with love and admiration for You. I ask that as I am being more focused on making praise a part of my daily time with You, I would be reminded of Your goodness when I feel I am running out of words. Would You help me strengthen my understanding and knowledge of this weapon that praise is.
I pray and ask all of these things in Jesus' name,