Sawyer was kicking the soccer ball around in the front yard when his dad drove up. “Hey, Sawyer-man,” Dad said as he got out of the car. “How’s it going?”
Sawyer shrugged. “I don’t think I did a very good job on my spelling test at school today. And it was supposed to be my turn to feed the class hamster, but Ross said it was his turn. Then I spilled my milk all over the lunch table. And I have tons of homework!” He sighed. “So, not that great.”
“I’m sorry you had a rough day,” Dad said. “But did you know that even on the tough days, God wants you to say thank you?”
Sawyer wrinkled his forehead. “He does?”
Dad nodded. “Sometimes you may not feel like it, but that’s when you need to do it the most,” he explained. “Because you trust in Jesus, He will help you be thankful, even when things are difficult. And reminding yourself of all He’s done to save you and everything He’s blessed you with so you can thank Him for it will make you feel better and give you strength. Start by talking to Him–just like you’re talking to me. Tell Him how you’re feeling and why, and then start saying thank you to Him.”
Dad scooped up the soccer ball. “Time for some Super-Sawyer praise!” he exclaimed as he pretended to flex his muscles. “Ready?” He tossed the ball at Sawyer. “I’m thankful you’re my son!” he shouted.
Sawyer caught the ball. “I’m thankful I’m your son too!” He tossed the ball back to Dad.
“Is that a smile I see?” Dad asked with a grin as he threw the ball to Sawyer.
Sawyer knee-bumped the ball back to Dad. “I’m thankful I can play outside.”
“I’m thankful we can talk to Jesus anytime,” Dad said, stopping the ball with his foot and then kicking it back to Sawyer.
Sawyer and Dad kept the ball going back and forth as they shouted out things they were thankful for. With each toss and kick of the ball and each thank you to God, Sawyer started to feel lighter somehow. He decided he was going to start saying thank you to Jesus a whole lot more.
Why should we praise God? It is because praise is the clearest and most direct means by which we declare our dependence on God. It repeats our trust in Him in the midst of life’s trials. It shows our loyalty to the One who died for us. It is a voluntary act of gratitude offered by the saved to their Saviour, by the healed to the Healer, and the delivered to the deliverer. When we praise God for His grace, we give Him what He deserves, and He offers us a joyful heart. Praise becomes an effortless expression of our love for God. It leads us to a state of bliss and inner peace.
The greatest truth of God is that He is worthy of our worship, and the deepest truth about ourselves is that we have been created to worship God. When we do this, we find the real meaning of our existence. Why do so many people have problems? It is because they have never really worshipped God. They have never submitted their lives to Him. They have never praised Him. They worship alcohol, medication, or busyness. These are temporary at best and only make their problems worse. The real cure for their problems is in worshiping and praising God.
A few years ago a man bought a $5,000 engagement ring and hid it in his kitchen drawer while waiting to propose to his girlfriend. When his parents came for a visit, his mother went to work discarding and throwing away garbage from the kitchen. When the man looked for his ring, it was gone-and hasn’t been found since. Apparently his mother tossed it out by mistake.
In another case, workers at a garbage dump found a $5,000 wedding ring belonging to a woman who accidentally tossed it in the trash while cooking. It was returned, and the woman rewarded the workers with pizza and brownies.
Renowned theologian Dr. A.W. Tozer called worship “the missing jewel of the evangelical church.” Since the church is made up of individual believers, many Christians have lost the way of worship from their lives. When we praise God, it might seem awkward at first, but if we keep it up, it will become our way of life. We are to praise Him in the church, in our own private prayer time, and throughout our day. We have to learn to keep an attitude of praise and thanksgiving.
This issue will become clearer as we get closer to Christ’s return. We will worship either God or the devil. If we choose to worship God, how will we worship Him? Where will we learn to worship Him? The answer is found in the Bible. The psalms will teach us and reform our worship if we will listen to them.
Psalm 150:1 tells us when and where we are to worship Him. We are to praise Him in His temple, which is the body of Jesus. As we are believers, we are incorporated into that body. Our individual bodies have become little temples where God chooses to dwell in His Spirit.
We are to praise God for His mighty acts, both in creation and in our daily lives. His acts reveal His character. We are also to praise Him for the multitude of His greatness. We are also to praise God with song and dance. Everything that expresses praise is a legitimate instrument of praise and is relevant for the culture and people using it. These include guitars, drums, and electronic instruments. Which instruments we use is not the issue. Why we use them and how we use them is the issue, as long as it comes from the heart, is Spirit-led, appropriate to the gathering, and is an offering to God.
Everyone and everything is to praise God, even animals. If they can breathe, they are to praise God. We are to breathe the Spirit which God breathed into us back to Him in praise as we offer ourselves to Him.
Well-known evangelist Dr. Charles Stanley listed some of the benefits we get from praising the Lord:
- Praise magnifies God. It puts the focus on God, not on our problems. God’s power, presence and ability change our thinking.
- Praise humbles us. When we worship God, we gain a right view of ourselves. Praise deflates excess pride and ego. We gain a healthy self-image that is based on God’s view of us. By removing pride, praise strengthens us against temptation.
- Praise reveals our devotion to God. If we love Christ, we will praise Him. If He has the first place in our lives, we will honour Him with worship and thanksgiving.
- Praise motivates us to live lives that are pleasing to God. It opens our hearts to want to live the way God wants-holy and separated to Him, to do His will above our own, to want to be like Him more than anyone else. The more we worship Him, the more like Him we will become.
- Praise increases our joy. Joy is the constant companion of praise. If we feel depressed or discouraged, praising God will soon bring us joy.
- Praise establishes our faith. The greater we see our God, the smaller we see our problems.
- Praise elevates our emotions. Worry, fear, and doubt can’t survive for long in an atmosphere of praise.
Praise and thanksgiving are not optional for Christians, They are a requirement of God for obedient living. As I mentioned earlier in this message, as long as we are breathing, we have a duty to give thanks to God for all that He has done for us. We live in an ungrateful society where expressions of gratitude and appreciation are rare. We must not allow that spirit to infect our hearts, or it will have a devastating effect on our walk with God. We have to remember the words of the hymn, “Praise to the Lord, the Almighty”:
Praise to the Lord,
the Almighty, the King of creation;
O my soul, praise Him
for He is thy health and salvation:
All ye who hear
Brothers and sisters draw near,
praise Him in glad adoration
Praise to the Lord!
O let all that is in me adore Him
All that hath life and breath
Come now with praises before Him!
Let the Amen
sound from His people again:
Gladly for aye we adore Him.
If we want to see a difference in our relationship with Christ and in our walk with Him, we have to start praising Him today. We have to continue praising Him even when we feel like giving up. If we commit ourselves to lives of praise and fellowship with Jesus, we will experience the fullness of what God means by “joy.”
- Jeremiah, David: The Jeremiah Study Bible: New King James Version (Nashville, TN: Worthy Publishing; 2013; p. 804)
- Kelly Hope, “Super Sawyer Praise.” Retrieved from firstname.lastname@example.org
- Williams, D. & Ogilvie, L.J.: The Preacher’s Commentary Series, Vol. 14: Psalms 73-150 (Nashville, TN: Thomas Nelson Inc.; 1989; pp. 529-533)
- Stanley, C.F.: The Charles F. Stanley Life Principles Bible: New King James Version (Nashville, TN: Nelson Bibles; 2005)
- MacArthur, J.F. Jr.: The MacArthur Study Bible: New American Standard Bible (Nashville, TN: Thomas Nelson Publishers; 2006)
- Lucado, M.: The Lucado Life Lessons Study Bible (Nashville, TN: Thomas Nelson; 2010; pp. 842-846)
- Fadi E. Khairallah, “The Power of Praise.” Retrieved from www.lhm.org
- Dr. David Jeremiah, “This Rings True.” Retrieved from email@example.com
- Gloria Copeland, “Created to Praise.” Retrieved from firstname.lastname@example.org
- Michael Youssef, Ph.D., “The Fear Antidote.” Retrieved from email@example.com
- Dr. Paul Chappell, “The Duty of All Nations.” Retrieved form firstname.lastname@example.org
- Joachim Neander, “Praise to the Lord, the Almighty.” As printed in Common Praise (Toronto, ON: Anglican Book Centre; 2000)