How often do you pause and praise the Lord? Daily, hourly, minute by minute? Or is it sometimes more like weekly—when the pastor’s sermon reminds us of just who He is? Do we let the circumstances of our life dictate whether or not we praise Him?
It is easy to praise God for the good things. The sunshine, a child’s laughter, a loved one’s recovery from illness (both physical and spiritual). These and situations like this are bound to remind us to praise Him.
What about times of sadness or frustration? Do we remember to praise Him when life is not going the way we think it should? When we are feeling despair over situations in our life, do we forget that the Lord is right there with us, feeling our pain, walking with us through whatever circumstances are overwhelming us? Just as He is with us in the good times, He is with us in the not-so-good times as well.
Lately I have been going through a stressful time. Unfortunately, once again, I have failed miserably at being the loving, compassionate Christian I desire to be. How do I react you ask? I withdraw. I build a wall around myself, not letting people in and not reaching out to others. My attention dwells on my circumstances and my relationship with the Lord suffers. Why? Because I distance myself from Him as well. I let the distractions of life disrupt my focus from where it should be. My morning quiet time has suffered; I struggle to find what “I” feel is enough uninterrupted time, so I just don’t make the effort. I don’t spend time in His word because I’m busy doing other “things.” I don’t feel inspired to write which means I’m not encouraging others which is usually very important to me. I don’t go to our ladies’ Bible study or our weekly church prayer meeting because I don’t want people to see how “un-Christian” I truly am. In fact, I don’t really want to visit with people because I fear my self-pity and frustration will “spill out” of my mouth and their eyes will be opened to how selfish I really am. These are not characteristics of the Christian woman I wish to be.
Fortunately, I have been forced to admit to others where I am at with this struggle. (Praise God that He has given me Christian women who are willing to listen and empathize with me!) Because of their understanding and encouragement, I woke up this morning, opened my journal and proceeded to have a quiet time with the Lord.
During my prayer time, I try to follow the ACTS model for prayer (Adoration, Confession, Thanksgiving, Supplication. I started off reading Psalm 150. This is a powerful Psalm that really emphasizes how we are to praise the Lord in all things. The good and the bad. Even in the difficult times. And we are supposed to praise him loudly, enthusiastically, and continually. (This is difficult for a conservative Southern Baptist girl—but I’m improving!)
1 Praise the Lord! Praise God in His sanctuary; praise Him in the heavens of His power!
2 Praise Him for His mighty acts; praise Him according to the abundance of His greatness!
3 Praise Him with trumpet sound; praise Him with lute and harp!
4 Praise Him with tambourine and [single or group] dance; praise Him with stringed and wind instruments or flutes!
5 Praise Him with resounding cymbals; praise Him with loud clashing cymbals!
6 Let everything that has breath and every breath of life praise the Lord! Praise the Lord! (Hallelujah!)
Psalm 150 (AMPC)
Why do we praise Him? Because He is with us always in every situation. And He can use us no matter what our circumstances if we are following His will. In the good times, He is celebrating with us. During the hard times, He is loving us and growing us. We don’t know what lies ahead—but God does. We can begin by praising Him for that assurance first and foremost. I have also learned, when I stop and start praising Him, things keep popping into my head to continue to praise Him for!
Next time you are discouraged, hurting, or stressed, praise the Lord! Don’t pull away and try to hide from Him (you can’t). He knows your heart.
So, grab those cymbals and make a joyful noise! Lift up your praises to His glory!
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