“Praise the LORD!
How good it is to sing praises to our God, how pleasant and fitting to praise him.”
Psalm 147:1 NIV
For me the garden of my heart is a very special place. I love this place because it is here that I am able to speak my concerns to God in prayer. I have noticed that most of my prayers are for my own breaking heart, my fears, and my personal material needs. I also bring before God the needs of my family and friends. Prayer is the place that I ask for mercy and guidance for our country and its leaders. This place of solitude is where I pray for my church and for missionaries around the world. It is here that I ask for favors and blessings. All of these requests are usually first on the agenda. To my shame, some days I rush into God’s presence with my list of needs and wants and forget to ask God to search my heart and show me any wicked ways that may be lurking in my life. I am so self-centered in my prayers that I forget to confess my sin. Just as I am about to rush out of the garden and on to my responsibilities for the day, I quickly offer up a quick sentence of gratitude for all of the countless blessings God has given to me. Many times I forget to speak even one word of praise or worship to my God and Savior.
I don’t know how this happens but time and time again I forget to offer up my praise to my wonderful Lord. I forget to worship the God of the universe and the Lord of my life. I forget that the reason I even exist is for me to enjoy God and for him to enjoy me. This is only accomplished thorough praise and worship. How is it that I can repeatedly forget to worship God? I rush into his presence like a greedy child and then back out again. Wasn’t that the greatest sin of the Israelites? They were worshiping useless idols who couldn’t hear or speak let alone answer their prayers. Is it possible that my most dangerous idol in this world is myself?
One of my very first reasons to praise and worship God should be because of the many ways God continues to take care of me and all those I love. Intercession for others is very important and because God’s power is released when we pray he listens, hears, and answers my prayers for others as well. He does all this over and over again with or without my praise and worship! I am certain that God wants me to bring before him all things but I know that he is especially happy when I praise him.
So why then is it important to practice praise? Praise is a part of my worship. The Bible says, “Praise the LORD! How good it is to sing praises to our God, how pleasant and fitting to praise him.” Psalm 147:1 NIV Praising the Lord is good, pleasant and fitting. Today I am thinking that praise is my sweet sacrifice that I should offer up to God everyday, all through the day. Praise brings him pleasure. How amazing is that? Me, a mere mortal, I am capable of pleasing my creator simply by offering up words of praise.
Why is this so hard for me to grasp? For one thing, I have a very short attention span and I forget that I should do this. This is why I need to make an effort to practice praise. The more I practice praise the more spontaneous my praise will become. Eventually praise will become a natural, loving response.
Personal praise often makes me uncomfortable, but it is still nice to receive, especially when I have spent a lot of time and effort doing something for others. Praise is one way that others affirm to me that I am appreciated. Who doesn’t like that? I think that sometimes praise makes me feel uncomfortable because it really does not belong to me. You see, all praise really belongs to God. He is the one who has made me. He is the one who as gifted me. He is the one who gives me the strength to serve. He is the one who continues to give me breath so that I might be used by him. It makes no difference if I am writing or praying, cooking meals or folding clothes, none of this would be possible without God supplying me with all I need to accomplish my tasks.
The Bible is full of words of praise for God. Since God has inspired all the words that have been written in the Bible it seems to me that he is giving me a written example of how I am to respond to him in praise. I may as well face it, God wants my praise. God deserves my praise.
God has also given us a beautiful world to enjoy. The beauty of his handiwork is his special gift that often leaves us breathless! Romans 1:20 tells us that God has given us nature to invoke our praise, leaving us without excuse when it comes to knowing him. I had to learn to pay attention to nature. I was surprised to discover that nature summoned great levels of praise within my spirit. Praising God as I enjoy nature outside of the garden has become free and easy for me, yet praising God in the garden seems to still be severely lacking.
Today I am recalling that when I do remember to praise God when I enter the garden I seem to experience a more joyous time of prayer. Instead of my usual pattern of constant requesting, my time now becomes a sweet time of fellowship. My praise to my Father is what fosters our relationship. Praise frees up my heart to express gratitude, praise positions me for submission, and praise helps me take my focus off myself and places my eyes on God.
Why is it that when I position myself correctly before God it always comes back to me a thousand fold? Just as we love our parents, our mates, our children, our friends, God loves us. When we hear words of affirmation that are free of requests we then bend over backwards to do more and more and more! Why would I give my Lord and Savior any less? As I reflect on this truth I am challenged to be more diligent about practicing praise.
- Do you sometimes feel inadequate in expressing your praise?
- How do you feel about knowing that your praise is a pleasing sacrifice to God?
- Do you see advantages in making praise a significant part of your prayer time?
- As you grow in your walk with the Lord do you find yourself praising God more throughout your day?
Sometimes I feel totally inadequate in my ability to praise you. Words escape me. So from your Holy Word I want to pray prayers of adoration back to you. God, today and every day hear my praise. I pray that it will be a sweet smelling sacrifice to you.
“I will praise you, O LORD with my whole 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.” Psalm 9:1-2 NIV
“Not to us, O LORD, not to us, but to your name be the glory, because of your love and faithfulness.” Psalm 115:1 NIV
“I praise you, because I am fearfully and wonderfully made; your works are wonderful, I know that full well.” Psalm 139:14 NIV
“Holy, holy, holy is the LORD Almighty; the whole earth is full of his glory!”
Isaiah 6:3 NIV
“Holy, holy, holy, is the Lord God Almighty, who was and is, and is to come.”
Revelation 4:8 NIV
“Worthy is the Lamb, who was slain, to receive power and wealth and wisdom and strength and honor and glory and praise!” Revelation 5:12 NIV
“Hallelujah! Salvation and glory and power belong to our God,” Revelation 19:1 NIV
God, with all my heart I praise and worship you!
In the name of Jesus Christ I praise and worship you. Amen.