Tuesday, January 23, 2018

The Power of Praise

“Be joyful always; pray continually; give thanks in all circumstances, for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus.” – 1 Thessalonians 5:16-18

These verses from 1 Thessalonians are three of the shortest in the New Testament. But they hold an important key to unlocking the door of life-changing prayer. Whether our circumstances are good, bad or ugly, God calls us to give thanks. And as we work to strengthen our prayer lives in this new year, I’d like to share three reasons praise is so powerful.

#1: Praise helps us fulfill our destiny. Did you know that God created you to praise Him? It’s true. To quote the wise philosopher Darth Vader, “It is … your destiny.” Praise is one of the main purposes for which you were created. The Bible tells us that creation itself praises God: “The wild animals honor Me, the jackals and the owls, because I provide water in the desert and streams in the wasteland” (Isaiah 43:20a). If even wild animals can honor God in their own wordless way, we have so much more reason to do so! “But you are a chosen people, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a people belonging to God, that you may declare the praises of Him who called you out of darkness into His wonderful light” (1 Peter 2:9).

Why did God choose us to be saved, bring us into His holy nation and into His eternal family? There were several reasons, but don’t miss this one: God saved us so that we can truly praise Him in a way that we could never praise Him before we were saved. And so, when we who are followers of Christ withhold our praises from God, we are forsaking one of the main reasons He saved us. Let’s don’t squander this privilege.

#2: Praise is a weapon to break spiritual strongholds outside us. Maybe you’ve never thought of praise as a weapon. But it can be a very powerful one. Look at what happened in Acts 16, when Paul and Silas were praising God in the Philippian jail after being stripped, beaten and fastened into stocks. As they were praying and singing hymns to God, “Suddenly there was such a violent earthquake that the foundations of the prison were shaken. At once all the prison doors flew open, and everybody’s chains came loose” (Acts 16:26).

There is power in praise. Spiritual strongholds outside us can be broken through praise and thanks. When everyone in your family is down in the dumps, there is power in praising God. Your praise can transform their doom-and-gloom perspectives. When you have a close encounter with pessimists who can only see the negative in their circumstances, your praise can help them see the silver lining. And when you’re in church, you never know how many people around you may be uplifted, encouraged and even set free by your praise.

#3: Praise is a weapon to break spiritual strongholds inside us. Your praise can not only transform others – it can also transform you. In 2 Chronicles, King Jehoshaphat learned that three enemy nations had merged their armies and were marching toward Jerusalem. This combined army was massive, so when Jehoshaphat found out about it he was terrified. But instead of panicking, he started praising—and called his men to do the same. “After consulting the people, Jehoshaphat appointed men to sing to the LORD and to praise Him for the splendor of His holiness as they went out at the head of the army saying: ‘Give thanks to the LORD, for His love endures forever’” (2 Chronicles 6:21). The result? God set ambushes that caused the three armies to turn on each other. When Jehoshaphat and his men arrived at the scene, they found nothing but dead bodies.

Isn’t that awesome? As God’s people sang and praised God their own fears were calmed, their own anxieties were quieted, and their faith was emboldened. As an added bonus, as the people praised God, God’s Spirit was catapulted onto the battlefield, and He won the victory without His own people having to raise a single sword. Without a doubt, praise is a powerful weapon to break strongholds outside us AND to break strongholds inside us. So, whether you’re dealing with internal strongholds of fear, anxiety, anger, lust, jealousy or unforgiveness—whatever it is—praising God for who He is and thanking Him for what He’s done can transform you from the inside out.

Maybe you’re facing some impossible circumstance. You’ve tried EVERYTHING to fix it, and nothing has worked. Well, could it be that the Lord is whispering in your ear: “You haven’t tried everything. You haven’t tried praise. You haven’t praised Me in the midst of your storm. You haven’t thanked Me for your lousy circumstances. You haven’t released your circumstances to Me and trusted Me to handle them. So, start praising Me! Start thanking Me! Start trusting Me! And just watch what I will do.”

Dane Davis is the Pastor of First Christian Church in Victorville. For more information,
visit www.YourVictorvilleChurch.com  and join us for worship Sundays at 10 am.

No comments:

Post a Comment