Since Thanksgiving is coming up this week in the U.S., I wanted to share a message I posted last Thanksgiving titled:
The Reason Behind Praise
I recently pulled out my journal I have been writing in since 2002. As I was flipping through it, I noticed on every page I wrote about some trial I was going through at the time. Recalling some of the trials brought me to tears, and I wanted to go back and tell myself, “Look ahead! Stop worrying! It works out on the next page! God got me through it!”
If we could write down our problems today and then flip the page ahead and write down: “It all worked out. God got me through it.” how much more would we find ourselves praising God instead of worrying.
…give thanks in all circumstances; for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus.
1 Thessalonians 5:18
I used to wonder why God tells us to praise Him. I remember thinking, “Does God say that because He needs our praises?” But I knew in my heart that wasn’t the reason. I knew it had to be for our benefit.
God eventually revealed to me why He desires our praises. Years ago, I created an online praise report group where people could come and share how God was working in their lives. When I wasn’t seeing God work in my life, it often encouraged me to see Him work in the lives of others. I knew God was not partial to anyone, so it helped me keep the faith, believing He would work in my life as well. So I created the praise report group to bring encouragement to others.
The site started out well, but then slowly came down to only me posting. During that time of praise, I noticed there was a significant difference in my life. Another woman who had shared her praises during that time expressed the same thing. She felt more joyful when she lifted her heart in praise.
We often wait to praise God until something good happens in our lives, when we should be praising Him before it happens. Praise keeps us looking expectantly to God instead of focusing on our problems.
I will praise you, O LORD, with all my heart; I will tell of all your wonders. I will be glad and rejoice in you; I will sing praise to your name, O Most High.
I believe praise shows God that we trust Him. When we trust Him, we won’t be stressed out trying to solve our problems on our own. Philippians 4:6 says, “Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God.”
We tend to share with God our prayer requests more often than our praises. Jesus said in Matthew 6:9-10 this is how we should pray, beginning with: “Our Father in heaven, hallowed be Your name, Your kingdom come, Your will be done, on earth as it is in heaven.”
We are also told in Psalm 100:4 to: “Enter his gates with thanksgiving and his courts with praise; give thanks to HIM and praise HIS name.”
Our prayers seem to mostly be, “Father, help ME … give ME … provide for ME … what about ME ….” I had a revelation of this at a church play one year. In one scene, all the individuals on the stage were crying out to God at the same time, each separately sharing their own troubles. Being in the front row, after about a minute of listening to their moans, it started to get overwhelming and I thought, “My gosh! Is that how we sound to you, Lord?”
If I had created a prayer request group, I don’t think it would have ended like my praise report group did. We are gladly willing to share our requests, but not as willing to share our praises.
With Thanksgiving coming up, we often think about what we are thankful for. What if we challenge ourselves to be thankful the other 364 days a year?
I believe we would see our lives dramatically change for the better. We would be content and enjoying our lives, instead of depressed and worried all the time. In Matthew 6:25-34, Jesus told us not to worry about our lives. He said in verse 33, “seek first HIS kingdom and HIS righteousness, and ALL these things will be given to you as well.”
If we spent our days praising God and seeking Him we would find our needs being met. When I am filled with praise and enjoying God, my faith grows and I start trusting Him to provide for my needs. Praise strengthens our faith which opens the door in our hearts to receive what Jesus died to give us.
For no matter how many promises God has made, they are ‘Yes’ in Christ. And so through him the ‘Amen’ is spoken by us to the glory of God.
2 Corinthians 1:20
Everything God has promised in His Word has been given to us through Christ. So when a situation comes up, we should praise God that He has already provided the solution through Jesus.
The solution may not always be what we think it should be, but it will be what we need. In my journal, all my trials didn’t necessarily work out on the next page the way I wanted them to. They did, however, work out for my benefit. I may not have seen the good right away, but looking back now, I can see how God used those trials to teach and equip me for His calling on my life.
And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose.
I want to challenge you today to flip the page. Fill your heart and lips with praise that God has already provided the solution to every situation you will ever face. Thank Him every day. Be filled with praise. And watch and see your life change as God works everything out for your benefit.
We praise You that You work our trials out for our good. We praise You that You provide for all our needs. And You never leave us. Help us to remember this as we praise You 365 days a year. You are more than worthy of our praises.
We praise You in Jesus’ precious name, Amen!