This past Sunday I preached a sermon on praise and shared with my congregation our need to praise frequently, corporately, and musically. I also shared with them three benefits I have experienced when I consistently increase praise in my life. Specifically, I have seen a growth in my intimacy with God, my sense of peace, and a prevailing joy.
I have to admit though that when I first started working on praising God more, I felt like I lacked vocabulary for doing so. I could thank God all day long, but simply praising God for who God is, was fairly alien to me. Praising God is worshipping God in the truest since of the word. To worship literally means “to attribute worth to”. How was I going to go about just attributing worth to God, or perhaps more appropriately, how was I going to begin to acknowledge the infinite worth of God?
Psalm 18 unlatched the door of praise for me. Through it I found a formula of sorts. I noticed that David did 3 things that were just raw expressions of his love of God. First, David simple told God, “I love you, O Lord, my strength.” I started to think about it and I wasn’t real sure when I had done that. So, I began starting many of my prayers with a simple, “I love you, Lord.”
Next, I noticed that David spent a lot of time just acknowledging who God was. Consider these examples:
“The Lord is my rock, my fortress and my deliver; my God is my rock, in whom I take refuge. His is my shield and the horn of my salvation, my stronghold.” Psalm 18:2
“The Lord is my light and my salvation–whom shall I fear? The Lord is the stronghold of my life–of whom shall I be afraid?” Psalm 27:1
Lastly, I noticed that David also acknowledged what God had done and shouted it out to others in song. He repeatedly voiced how we should tell of God’s mighty deed. For example,
“He reached down from on high and took hold of me; he drew me out of deep waters. He rescued me from my powerful enemy, from my foes, who were too strong for me. They confronted me in the day of my disaster, but the Lord was my support. He brought me out into a spacious place; he rescued me because he delighted in me.” Psalm 18:16-19.
“Praise our God, O peoples, let the sound of his praise be heard; he has preserved our lives and kept our feet from slipping. For you, O God tested us; you refined us like silver. You brought us out of prison and laid burdens on our heads; we went through fire and water, but you brought us to a place of abundance.” Psalm 66: 11.
What would your own praise Psalm look like if you wrote one. First, write I love you Lord, then make a long list of who God is to you and what you have seen God do. So here is an example, based off of what I am feeling as I write this and the events that have occurred today.
I love you Lord. You are an awesome and amazing God. You are faithful. When my day was very full and distraction threatened to rob me of the time I needed to prepare, you provided me the words I needed. You are generous. You have placed so many giving people in my life. You have given me a wonderful family and provided for all my needs and then some. You have given me strength of body, mind and spirit to meet any challenges of today. You are generous beyond anything I can either imagine or deserve. Words are inadequate to capture you, but may these words at least express a glimpse of who you are to me…
I praise you Lord for you are worthy to be praised, you are the King of all Kings, you are above any authority in heaven or on earth, you are creator, redeemer and sustainer. You are the one from whom true joy comes. You are eternal and you offer us eternity though we do not deserve it. You are just and yet you are merciful. You are worthy of more than I have to offer. You are inescapable, indescribable, incredible and almost inconceivable. You are the breath in my body, the song in my heart, and the spring of creativity that flows inside of me. You are all that is good and right about my life and for that I lift these words of praise. You are the laughter that comes from a small child, you are the sun in my life, you are the ground of me being, you are the bread that feeds me, and that which quenches the deepest thirst. You are my anchor. Amen.
For those of you still struggling, that’s okay. Struggling is were growth takes place. Just don’t give up. Tomorrow I will offer you a simple exercise in creative thinking that will help those of you who are totally trapped in finding words of praise. Before then, you may want to listen to this sermon from a prior post “More on Praise.” In it I cover in more detail
the tips shared here today. You can also download it by rightclicing the link below the player.