Wednesday, December 22, 2010

The Power of Praise

Years ago I read a wonderful little book called “Prison to Praise” by Merlyn Carothers. In it, he discussed the revelation he had received about praising God in all circumstances, whether they be pleasant or unpleasant, good or bad etc. He also recounted stories of how the sacrificial act of giving God praise in difficult situations somehow turned things around in remarkable ways. It is a book well worth reading.
Last week our beloved cat Tommy ran off. I had opened the sliding door when I got up rather early and the little fellow darted out into the great outdoors to face a world of snakes and bobcats. We waited and waited, walked about calling and whistling for him to come home, but he never came.
Now Tommy is not just an ordinary cat. He is an English Short Hair and has the ability to announce himself with the cutest growl when he comes to visit me in my study or before he jumps up onto our bed for a good night’s rest. Needless to say all joy left for the day and all of us were fighting thoughts of trepidation and attacks of fearing for the worst! Where was he? Was he killed by a bobcat? Was he run over by a car? 
As the long day drew on and the shadows lengthened, feelings of great sadness tried to secure a vice-like grip on our hearts. Of course we all prayed, stood on the word, but that did not seem to help in the battle against powerful feelings. I even printed a “Missing” pamphlet and posted them around the neighborhood.
In the midst of all this I was suddenly reminded of the message of that little book and one of the scriptures it was based on, “I will extol the Lord at all times; his praise will always be on my lips. I will glory in the Lord, let the afflicted hear and rejoice. Glorify the Lord with me; let us exalt his name together.” Psalm 34:1-3
In Hebrews 13:15 we read, "Through Jesus therefore, let us continually offer to God a sacrifice of praise, the fruit of lips that openly profess His name." 

King David was the master of praise. It was I believe, because of this amazing ability and discipline that God had raised him up from a lowly shepherd boy to become the mightiest king that Israel has ever known! Was there a lesson in it for me, to take these scriptures literally? Is there a secret power in praise that we need to apply more in our lives if we want to live in victory? Well, as darkness fell, I immediately started praising God in the situation. I praised Him for who He was, focusing my mind and thoughts on His greatness and awesome power. As I did so and continued for some time, I sensed a change in the spiritual atmosphere.
I had to take my daughter Christine to a youth meeting and as we were driving I was explaining to her the principle of praising God not for a situation, but in every situation no matter how bad things seemed. On the way back home a great sense of being free of all cares settled on my soul. Nothing seemed to matter and that wonderful feeling of closeness to the Creator was all that mattered. I parked the car and as I strolled up to the front door I heard a rustle in the bushes. Bending down under a moving shrub, there was the sweet face of little Tommy! I scooped him up with joy, went inside and together we thanked God for his goodness! I called Christine at the youth meeting and she wept with sheer relief and joy!

This may seem like a simple little story but it does demonstrate a great truth of the Bible, to praise God in all circumstances. On a far grander and more serious scale is the story of King Jehoshaphat in 2 Chronicles Chapter20. Jerusalem was surrounded by enemy armies totaling a million men. The King called an assembly of the elders and as they called on God in their anguish the voice of a prophet rang out. “Do not fear,” he said, “Go out against them, the battle belongs to the Lord!”
The next day the king placed the singers and praise band ahead of the army and went out to meet the invaders and exhorted them to put their trust in God and the words of the prophet. As they praised God the enemy turned on each other, killing and destroying them in their confusion.
Yes, we can indeed face an uncertain future with a mighty weapon in our arsenal, that is to praise the King of kings in ALL circumstances and stand and see the salvation of the Lord! How many battles have we lost because we did not know or apply this wonderful weapon in our arsenal against circumstances that conspired against us?

No comments:

Post a Comment