Sing Praises to the Lord
Sing praises to God, sing praises;
sing praises to our King, sing praises.
For God is the King of all the earth;
sing to him a psalm of praise. Psalm 47:6-7
Have you ever been so overwhelmed with God’s greatness, deliverance, and love for you that you simply had to shout out in prayer? Can a person be spiritual, a lover of God, and an obedient follower without emotion and praise for what God has done for them? I think not, and so Psalm 47 is worthy of our attention since we encounter those who experienced God’s goodness which erupted in their praise, love, and thanksgiving for all he had done in their lives. Sing praises.
Psalm 47 is a spontaneous eruption of praise and glory to God almighty. As with Psalm 46, there appears to be a single event that stimulated this great psalm, and many think that both Psalms 46 and 47 were in response to the overwhelming defeat of the Assyrian leader Sennacherib in front of the gates of Jerusalem (2 Kings 18-19). Notwithstanding the historical antecedent, the spontaneous and profuse praise for God Almighty by his people is itself a great joy to read about.
Many years ago I went to the movie “Song of the South”, an animated version produced by Disney. In that show Uncle Remus sang a song “Zip-a-Dee-Doo-Dah”. That song that stuck in my mind, and I still to this day walk around humming it and singing it because I just feel happy about life.
My, oh my, what a wonderful day
Plenty of sunshine headin’ my way
Praises Every Day
Have you felt the sunlight of the new morning and dropped to your knees in praise to God for what he has done for you? Have you had a new song placed in your heart because of the happiness of the gospel of Christ and sung it to a dark, lost, and bitter world? Our devotional text calls us to uninhibited and unlimited praise of our Father in Heaven. What overwhelming goodness we receive every day from God, and one way we should respond is in profuse praise and song to him.
Paul writes that we should be joyful always and give thanks in all circumstances (1 Thessalonians 5:16-18). This cannot be done if we do not have a good attitude toward God and all of his good gifts. As a Christian, there is plenty of “Sonshine” headed your way every day because Jesus Christ lives on the inside of you (Colossians 1:27).
David calls us to the boundary of the day when he said in Psalm 118:24 “This is the day the Lord has made; let us rejoice and be glad in it.” Seize each day in the Lord with happiness not sadness, with joy not tears, with optimism not negativity, with hope not despair, with love not hate, with selfless service not selfish pursuits, with forgiveness and not spiteful bitterness. We have a choice every day to praise God and to sing a new song.
I will choose to praise the Lord for all that He has done for me, since He blesses me beyond measure and spares no goodness on me. Thank you Father, for your grace, love, and mercy in my life. I always want to praise your name.
Praise Him in the middle of the night when the moon shines in the darkness and the crickets sing. In the morning before the sun peaks over the horizon, as the birds begin their chirping. At lunch time when hunger rumbles. In the afternoon when the yawns begin and eyes droop. At dinner alone or around a table, in prayer, in conversation, in reflections about the day.
When it’s sunny or cloudy, or raining or storming. When it’s clear outside or foggy, hot or frosty, humid or dry, lush or not. When the seeds sprout, or the buds bloom, or the seeds fall, and the plants die. As the winds blows, the leaves fall, the snow piles.
Praise Him when love is new, when love is broken, when love is lost. When birth is anticipated, new life arrives, and first steps pitter-patter. When imagination asks, seeks, and knocks. When curiosity wonders, when midnight awakes.
Praise Him in the stillness, in the chaos, during the in-between. When interviews happen, when job offers come, when bonuses grow, when bosses recognize, when bosses don’t. When jobs are lost, savings are depleted, when doubt crouches. When bills pile up, when community supports, when miracles happen.
Praise Him when questions come, yet silence lingers. When time passes, but nothing changes, when hope diminishes, and discouragement settles. When opportunity knocks, challenges surmount, and solutions surprise.
Praise Him in waiting rooms at the vet, during oil changes at the repair shop. In hospitals, emergency rooms, doctor’s offices. Waiting on reports, on return calls, on a prognosis, diagnosis, and treatment options. When tests return inconclusive, benign, malignant. When in remission or in hospice.
Praise Him when you can’t stop shaking, can’t stop the tears, can’t get off the floor, when you wish you could just run away, when you’re out of options, when you’re out of money, when there’s no one to call, no strength to dial, no words to say anything. Praise Him.
Praise Him in peace and in confusion, in understanding and in frustration, in clarity and in distraction. Praise Him when it makes sense and when it doesn’t. On the mountain top and in the valley, when it’s fair and when it isn’t. In betrayal and pain and abuse. In misunderstandings, missteps, misrepresentations, and mistakes.
In joy and excitement with dancing, with wet faces and hands lifted, hope raises. Praise Him!
“Because Your lovingkindness is better than life, my lips shall praise You.
Thus I will bless You while I live; I will lift up my hands in Your name.” – Psalm 63:3-4
There was a moment in time that if you were to step foot inside our home, you would need instructions on where to step and what places in our floor to avoid.
The children had the pattern memorized as they jumped from one colored carpet square to another.
Those were the lean years of building our small business from the ground up. Some days that was a literal term. I had to get used to cold drafts and instability.
In the beginning I chose bitterness and discontentment as my companions throughout the day. There was no gratitude or praise to be found in me.
God showed me the state of my heart through women that pulled me under their care.
They were gentle, and yet stern, in reminding me that as long as I have life, I’m to be thankful and give Him praise in the ways that He had already blessed our family.
God was gracious and loving in giving my husband a vision for the future. He brought clarity to my husband’s mind as he sought God daily for knowledge and wisdom.
He was allowing God to help him make a difference for our family, but when he’s met with my discontentment when he darkens the door each evening, I’ve just torn down what my husband had invested in building all day.
This wasn’t the wife or mother that I wanted to be. I didn’t want to teach my children bitterness and discontentment. I didn’t want to dishonor my husband with my terrible attitude.
I want to exude a lifestyle of praise, and what better time to do that than when it seems like we have nothing to praise Him for?
It started with a list of gratitude each day.
We were smack dab In the middle of winter. When there would be snow piled around our home, making the temperature inside colder than outside, I praised God for electricity so that we could run our heaters, and have the oven door open for extra warmth.
I praised Him for nails to hang sheets up to close off doorways.
I was looking for ways to praise God because He is worthy.He was not the cause of our hardship. We decided to make choices that were unconventional and probably downright stupid in other’s eyes, but we had to make a change.
I started playing music that helped me get lost in praising Him. My hands would go up and my feet would start moving! I’d sing songs about Him being worthy of our praise.
There was now a song of thanksgiving in my heart.
It was a growing season for our family. There were things that we all had to learn.
Our lives surely looked like Philippians 4:12.
The children look back on that time in the old 2 bedroom mill house with fond memories. We pulled together to make the best of our close quarters.
They can recall the lean times and the times of blessings.
Faith and praise made all of the difference.
God was always there blessing us, but we had to grow to a place of recognizing it in everything.
We got to a place where our faith was getting stronger than what we perceived as lack.
We started to see things in light of praise.
For further study:
Lord, may I be mindful to remember that Your lovingkindness is better than life. A praise will be on my lips and I will bless you while I live. I will lift up my hands in Your name because You are worthy. In Jesus’ name. Amen.
Last year was a very difficult year my family. There were days when we were so worn down and weary that we truly did not know how we would make it one more day.
In March of the previous year, we adopted our sweet Phoebe, a beautiful little 17-month-old girl who was medically fragile, and who we would later find out had Joubert Syndrome.
When I took inventory of last year, I found that I had spent 33 nights in the hospital, kept 96 scheduled doctor’s appointments and countless other therapy appointments and unscheduled visits to the emergency room. Total, I spent about 4 months of the last year in a medical facility in some capacity or other.
By the grace of God, my husband and I managed to maintain homeschooling our other five children, continued to fulfill most of our church responsibilities, and kept our home at a reasonable level of cleanliness. I attribute this to the power of praise.
At one of our lowest and most difficult points of the year, we clearly heard God speak to us one word, “praise.”
It was truly a time of great battle for us as a family. We were battling physical and mental fatigue, discouragement and overwhelm. It clearly was not a time when I felt like offering praise to God, though He is worthy.
We read in 2 Chronicles 20:1-30 the story of Jehoshaphat’s battle with Moab and Ammon. Jehoshaphat proclaimed a fast and cried out to the Lord and the Lord answered, “You shall not need to fight this battle: set yourselves, stand ye still and see the salvation of the Lord with you…”
When the people rose for battle the next morning, Jehoshaphat gave them instructions:
21 And when he had consulted with the people, he appointed singers unto the LORD, and that should praise the beauty of holiness, as they went out before the army, and to say, Praise the LORD; for his mercy endureth forever.
22 And when they began to sing and to praise, the LORD set ambushments against the children of Ammon, Moab, and mount Seir, which were come against Judah; and they were smitten.
Jehoshaphat prepared his people for the battle by preparing them for praise. When they began to sing and to praise, then the Lord immediately began to work on their behalf. It is also interesting to note that the people could not see the ambushes the Lord was setting for their enemy.
After seeking the Lord and and reading this account again, we began a daily habit of purposeful praise. We immediately learned that praise does three things:
Praise Invites His Presence
Psalms 22:3 reminds us that God “inhabits the praise of his people.” God takes notice when His people praise Him and He draws near to them.
Praise Brings Us Peace
After Paul exhorts Philippians 4:4 to “rejoice in the Lord always,” he reminds them:
And the peace of God, which passeth all understanding, shall keep your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus.
Praise Precedes Victory
The same victory that followed the praise offered by Jehoshaphat’s army in the Old Testament is seen again in the new testament when Paul and Silas were in jail. Acts 16:25-26
25 And at midnight Paul and Silas prayed, and sang praises unto God: and the prisoners heard them.
26 And suddenly there was a great earthquake, so that the foundations of the prison were shaken: and immediately all the doors were opened, and every one’s bands were loosed.
We continue to reap the benefits of the power of praise in our home. From the largest obstacles to the smallest, we have learned to begin each battle and face each trial with praise that invites our Heavenly Father to draw near, to surround us with protection and to go before us.
She stood there with her hands held high, praising, so intently focused on her Savior. She smiled. She sang. She worshiped. Praise God.
At a glance anyone that saw her would think she was in the midst of great joy. Her face glowed with praise.
Yet, for the past eight days, she sat at her husband’s bedside while he remained unconscious. Scores of people prayed. Even greater number of tears fell as so many begged, pleaded, and held onto God for his dear life.
It was unfathomable to think God would take her husband, just 39 years old and father to three young children, all gathered from various corners of the world, to be a forever family.
But God saw it fit to take Him home.
And there she praised.
In the midst of her husband’s life celebration service, and in the midst of a pain I am sure I have not known, her hands raised were raised high.
That is true worship. That is true praise.
I was changed that day, as I was a witness to the most pure praise I have ever seen.
Sure, we can praise in the moments where all is going well in earthly terms. The family is healthy, there’s an abundance. Life is good. And we praise.
And that praise it just as worthy.
But there is something more I learned that day as my friend praised through the worst pain of her life.
Praise for our Father, no matter what swirls around us on earth, because we overflow with love for Him, is a beautiful act of worship.
My life changed in that moment.
It is so much more than a song or a happy feeling. It is so much deeper. True praise knows this life is not all there is.
“About midnight Paul and Silas were praying and singing hymns to God, and the other prisoners were listening to them.” Acts 16:25
Just like Paul and Silas praising through their suffering, which unleashed God’s power, and ultimately His salvation for others, she praised and gave glory and honor to Him. And others witnessed His power at work, which shows that we do nothing in our own strength.
Because who on earth would praise in the midst of the darkest suffering…
A daughter of the King…that’s who.
“Father, I ask you to give me a song of praise through every single breath I take. May my praise not be dependent on what is going on around me, but may it be simply because you are King of King, Lord of Lords, and I believe your every word and every promise. I praise you with my lips and I praise you with my life. May I give honor and glory as others see you through my praise.”
There are times in life when praise is hard. Our hearts are sad, angry, and bitterness is trying to take root. Sometimes it can even completely take over. Yet, He is worthy. Even when things are not as we would want them — He is still worthy of praise.
“The Lord gives, and the Lord takes away – blessed be the name of the Lord” Job 1:21
These words from the book of Job are some of the most quoted words of scripture. They are easy to get out when God gives to us, but what happens when God takes away? How do we remember how worthy God is in those moments? It is hard isn’t it?
We need to start by going back over how faithful God is. We start by looking at all the blessings He has given. Then, we need to go back to times when God has taken away – think through all that God has done since that time. We can use those experiences to see how we have grown, to see how the hard things in life have been used for His glory.
Then, we need to think back even further. Think back to the day on the cross. Think back to that moment when the Son of God was upon the cross. God allowed His only Son to die in your place – in my place. Go back even further – all the way back to the Garden of Eden. Where we decided to follow our own way instead of following after the goodness God had set before us.
Yes, the more we look through history, the more we remember, the more we will realize that He is worthy of our praise.
Yes, times get hard, sometimes really hard. Yes, praise might be a sacrifice during those times. But just because it is hard, and just because it is a sacrifice, doesn’t mean that He is unworthy of it. We need to remember that nothing God does is wrong or bad – and that it is because of sin in this world that bad things happen in this life. God never intended that. One of Satan’s favorite tricks is to send something bad into our life and to have us blame God for it. The devil knows that if we can believe that lie, it will be much easier to convince us the rest are lies. However, the Lord only intends for two things: His glory and our good. But our good must also meet His glory.
So, when circumstances have you focusing on this world, take time and let yourself focus back on the character of God. Let yourself refocus on what God has done for you. During this time of refocusing, you will be reminded that God is worthy of all the praise you can give.
Prayer: Father,”I will bless your name at all times. Your praise shall continually be in my mouth. My soul shall make me boast in you: the humble shall hear thereof, and be glad. Even in the toughest of circumstances, the pit of darkness or in the desert, when I seek you, you will hear me, and deliver me from my fears. (Psalms 34) paraphrased.
Motherhood is exhilarating, exhausting, creative, challenging, delightful, discouraging, fulfilling, frustrating, happy, heartbreaking, satisfying, and sacrificial. And we are to praise God in all of that.
I will bless the LORD at all times; his praise shall continually be in my mouth. ~ Psalm 34:1
As a young mother, many years ago, I was so caught up in the never-ending tasks of motherhood that there was little space in my mind, my schedule, or my heart for anything else. I was exhausted and overwhelmed, so I focused on just making it through the next day or even the next hour. It is humbling to recall how little God was on my mind, much less how seldom His praise was in my mouth. A desperate prayer for help was often all I gave Him.
Do you ever feel that way? Are you caught up in the busyness of mothering? Worn out by the workload? Focused on the ups and downs? Daunted by the daily routine? Praise God in it all and for it all, for He is worthy of our praise.
Praising God takes our focus off ourselves and turns our thoughts to Him. He is sufficient for every challenge we face.
When you are weak and weary, praise God for His power.
When you feel like a failure, praise God for His righteousness.
When you are confused, praise God for His wisdom.
When you are discouraged by the sinfulness of your children . . . and of yourself . . . praise God for His mercy.
When you are worried and afraid, praise God for His faithfulness.
When you lose your temper with your children—for the third time today—praise God for His patience.
When you feel unlovable, praise God for His love.
When you are overwhelmed, praise God for His sovereignty.
Praising God in the hard times shows that we trust Him. Praising God in the good times shows that we acknowledge Him as the source of all our blessings.
May we say with the hymn writer:
This is my story, this is my song,
Praising my Savior all the day long.
So let’s get real. Do you ever have times when you just don’t feel like praising God? When you feel like God has abandoned you? When you feel like life is hard…really hard…not just that things aren’t going your way?
20 years ago when my first child, Hannah, was very young and was diagnosed with severe autism, I felt like that. I remember my pastor saying, “Wendy, you do know that God still loves you, right?” And all I could say in response was, “I don’t feel very loved right now.” In fact, I felt completely abandoned. All these years later, I remember that feeling and those words.
But I’m thankful that, in spite of my doubts and questions, God did still love me. He does still love me! So you may wonder how I made it from there to here. From wondering how God could allow such a thing to happen to, instead, knowing that He loves me no matter what my circumstances are. I’ll tell you. Praise.
It wasn’t easy. I didn’t feel like praising God when He had allowed such a tragedy to happen in my family. I was, to be honest, kind of mad at Him. But as I read my Bible, I kept seeing references to praise—in good times and bad times. So I praised.
At first it was half-hearted, but God knew I was trying to be obedient to Him. As time went on, I realized that praising God lifted my spirits. It made me feel happy. It helped me focus on the God who loves me no matter what my circumstances are. And then I understood. God commands us to praise Him because it’s good for us too! It strengthens our faith. It gives us joy. It helps us see past ourselves and our circumstances. It doesn’t change our circumstances, but it changes our hearts in the middle of our circumstances.
In James 4: 7-8 (NIV), the Bible says, “Submit yourselves, then, to God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you. Come near to God and He will come near to you.” What I didn’t realize all those years ago was that, by praising God even in my time of mourning, I was submitting myself to God. I was resisting the devil. I was drawing near to God! I simply knew that, even though I didn’t feel it in my heart, I was doing what God told me to do, and I was hoping (because I was having a hard time praying) that God would bless my half-hearted efforts.
And He did.
Of course there’s much more to my story than what I can share in this limited space, but I think the most important thing I can stress is that praising God doesn’t have to be something you feel. It can simply be something you do in obedience to God. He can take your praise, your attitude, your heart, and whatever circumstances you find yourself in, and transform them like He did mine.
So go ahead and praise Him, and let Him take care of the results. We serve a big God who can handle our attitudes and our problems. And we serve a good God who chooses to bless us—whether we deserve it or not—simply because we choose to be obedient to Him. And for that, I praise Him!
As I stand on the shore, smelling the salty ocean air and gazing in awe of the beauty that God has created, I cannot help but praise Him for all that He is, for all He has done and all He will continue to do.
The beach is a place where I always feel close to God and even though I do not get there often my mind often wanders to it. Will you take a walk along the sandy shore with me today as we find many reasons to praise God in every moment?
Take a deep breath, allow your taste buds to taste the saltiness of the air around you. Praise God for creating us to be the salt of the earth so many more can be saved by His amazing grace.
Dig your toes deep into the sand and praise God for being one of the countless children of Abraham that God promised to him so long ago. He is a God that is faithful even when we aren’t and keeps his promises across the generations!
Stand close enough and allow the waves to wash over your feet. Praise God for sending Jesus who taught us to take a servants position in this world by washing his disciples feet and encouraging them to serve as He served.
Now walk out into the surf. Allow the waves to hit just above your knees. Feel the rhythm of the surf. Are the waves strong enough to knock you over or are they just perfect for playing in?
Play for a little while. Try jumping over the waves before they hit your legs. Enjoy the fun, laughter and smiles this brings. Praise God for creating us to enjoy such wonderfully fun and simple moments. He created fun and wants us to celebrate it too.
It is easy when times are beautiful, fun and filled with laughter that we feel we can praise God.
But what about when the clouds start to roll in and the waves become dangerous.
Are we still willing to praise Him then? Are we willing to praise Him when we know we are about to be tossed and tried by life?
What happens if, while we are innocently playing in the waves, an undercurrent sweeps us off our feet and drags helplessly away from the shore? Will we cry out in fear like the disciples did or cry out in praise, knowing that we call on a Savior that can bring peace either to the waves or to our soul while we are unable to find our way back to shore?
Will we praise God, if He doesn’t save us from physical calamity? Will we praise Him for protecting our souls even if our physical body doesn’t make it?
These are all questions I have been wrestling with and I’ve been praying for courage so that when, not if, the time comes that Satan decides to attack me or my family in such a way that I feel swept in the undercurrent of the waves and like I’m drowning with no hope of physical rescue, I can proclaim till my dying breath that I will forever praise in every moment the One who is the sign of Jonah and gives life where death would normally be.
May God be gracious to us and bless us and make his face to shine upon us, that your way may be known on earth, your saving power among all nations. Let the peoples praise you, O God; let all the peoples praise you! Psalm 67:1-3
Every night, I pray over my children, and it always includes these words:
“May the Lord bless you and keep you. May His face shine upon you and be gracious to you and give you peace.”
Of course, I pray for many other things as well, and it is a sweet time for us each evening. I count it a privilege to pray for and over my children! What I am learning more recently, however, is the privilege of praising Him and teaching my kids to do the same.
In Psalm 67 (which alludes to Numbers 6:24-26 and my bedtime blessing) the psalmist prays for great blessing upon the people. However, it’s not just for the sake of being blessed! Rather, it serves an eternal purpose.
“…that your way may be known on earth, your saving power among all the nations.”
That’s the key. The blessings of God have a purpose in our lives: to give glory to God, so that all might come to know His saving power! That’s not just talking about “the nations,” in a global sense, either. It’s also talking about our household and our neighborhoods – our friends and family!
When we praise God for who He is and the many blessings He gives us, we let His way be known among our children. We tell our husband of His saving power. We come alongside our neighbors and friends, shining a light on the character of the one true God!
Truly, is there anything more important than that?
Let us praise Him, dear sisters in Christ! Let us praise the blessings He has bestowed upon us so that others may know His ways. Let us give glory to our God who is faithful, loving, just, holy, righteous, good, and brings salvation through His son, Jesus Christ.
That is what I am moved to do! So now our bedtime prayers include more of the praises. Our days are sprinkled with moments where we acknowledge a blessing and give praise out-loud to the King. You know what’s happening there, right? We are pointing ourselves and each other to Christ.
It’s a beautiful thing.
Lord, bless us! And in that blessing, let us give you ALL the praise and ALL the glory so that others may know Your ways. Help us to point ourselves and our families to Christ, making known Your saving power in our own home and among the nations. In Jesus’ name, Amen.