It’s a human tendency to praise God when life is good and to complain when it’s not.
It’s easy to give thanks and tell others how good God is when He’s answering our prayers and pouring out the blessings, but the moment we experience difficulty or disappointment the praise dries up.
What if we could turn that around and praise God all the time – even when life stinks?
A good place to begin is with prayer.
Jesus set the example when He taught His disciples how to pray. He begins by praising His Father, saying, “Hallowed be Thy name” (Matthew 6:9 KJV).
It gives us perspective, reminding us that God is bigger than all our problems. It takes our focus off ourselves and the challenges we face, and puts it on God for whom nothing is impossible. It also reminds us how small and insignificant we are and how mighty and powerful God is, and restores our reverence and respect for God.
It takes us out of “whining” mode and puts us in a better frame of mind for “healthy” praying. What do I mean by “healthy” praying? We pray in a healthy way when we mix faith with our prayers. Instead of saying, “Lord, please help me, please help me, please help me”, we say, “Lord, thank You that You have promised in Your word that You will help me. I trust that You will provide a way for me through this difficulty”. See how much healthier that sounds and feels? Instead of repeating a desperate cry for help, it places trust in a powerful God who is able to help us.
Beginning prayer with praise sets the tone for the entire prayer – instead of a hopeless repetition of our needs, it becomes a hopeful expectation of what God can do for us.
Let’s be honest, life is tough, and sometimes we go through devastating trials. Is it possible to praise God even when everything seems to be going wrong, when it seems like there is nothing to praise Him for?
The truth is, no matter how awful life may be, we can always find something to praise God for.
Let me give you a few ideas of things you can always praise God for:
Nothing, absolutely nothing, can change these facts. Nothing can steal them from us. No matter how bad life gets.
Nope. Being a Christian does not strip us of human emotions. It’s OK to allow ourselves to be human and feel what we feel, but to stay stuck in negative emotions is not God’s will for us.
It’s not easy to praise God when we are feeling hopeless and miserable. But our Christian experience is not to be dependent on feelings. We can praise God even when we don’t feel like it.
In fact, the Bible speaks of offering the sacrifices of thanksgiving (Psalm 116:17 KJV). Because sometimes praise is a sacrifice. We don’t feel like it. We don’t want to do it. It costs us something to give it. We have no reason to feel happy or hopeful, and want to question or accuse God instead of praising Him.
But, no matter how we feel, we can choose to praise God because choice is not dependent on feeling, it is an act of the will. “My heart is fixed, O God, my heart is fixed: I will sing and give praise” (Psalms 57:9 KJV). The Psalmist’s heart is fixed – determined, decided – he will sing and give praise, even if he doesn’t feel like it.
This may not come naturally at first, but we can train ourselves to offer God praise and thanksgiving – even to the point where it’s the first thing we do when we find ourselves in trouble.
And the beautiful thing is that when we choose to praise God, our spirits are lifted. Even though our circumstances remain unchanged, we become hopeful and peaceful.
Praise transforms trials into a testimony of God’s goodness. How the devil must hate that!
“Because thy lovingkindness is better than life, my lips shall praise thee” (Psalms 63:3 KJV).
And that alone is reason enough to always praise God.
Do you begin your prayers with praise or do you jump right in to listing your needs? How has praise changed your Christian experience?