I was listening to one of my compilation CD’s the other day and the classic country song, “Make the World Go Away” came on. I am revealing a lot about myself here, but I do occasionally like to listen to a good country classic and this one is particularly poignant. “Make the world go away, and get if off my shoulders, say the things you used to say, and make the world go away”…whoa! Sorta gets ya…right here (pointing to my heart). The rest of the song is cheesy, love- gone-wrong drivel, but it’s the opening lines that got to me and I couldn’t help but think that in essence those lyrics have been the gist of many of my prayers lately.
“Complain, complain, complain…why don’t You talk to me anymore, Lord?…complain, complain, complain. Amen”.
I must sound just like the Psalmist, “But I cry to you for help, O Lord; in the morning my prayer comes before you. Why, O Lord, do you reject me and hide your face from me?” (Psalm 88)
I can just hear the response from God: “Because you are constantly whining at Me! How ’bout sending me up some praises, eh? Tell me all the good stuff that’s been happening in your life once in a while! You’re bumming Me out with all your complaining. I’m sick and tired of listening to it all the time!”
Well, I know the theology is a bit out of whack, but you sort of get my meaning. It’s important to praise God. Of course we must bring all our cares and concerns to Him as well, but we must shout out our praises too! Praise Him in every circumstance. Praise Him in the morning, praise Him in the evening. Psalm 113:3 declares, “From the rising of the sun to the place where it sets, the name of the LORD is to be praised.”
Praising God acknowledges His excellent being. It’s not necessarily a “thank You” because that describes our attitude thanking Him for what He has done for us, instead praise is offered for who God is. “I call to the Lord, who is worthy of praise…” (Psalm 18:3)
All believers are commanded to praise God! In fact, Isaiah 43:21 explains that praise is one reason we were created, “This people I have formed for Myself; they shall declare My praise.” Hebrews 13:15 confirms this: “Through Jesus, therefore, let us continually offer to God a sacrifice of praise – the fruit of lips that confess his name.”
Praise originates in a heart full of love toward God. Deuteronomy 6:5 says, “Love the LORD your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength.” Are you a Christian today? If so, you know that you love God because He first loved you! Without God’s love, any praise you can offer is hollow. Love, born from a relationship with God through Jesus Christ, is an essential part of your praise.
So what does “praising God” mean? Well, God looks at your heart…if your heart’s not in it, you’re not really praising Him. “I will praise you, O Lord my God, with all my heart…” (Psalm 86:12) Before you utter one word, sing one song, pray one prayer or read one Word of Scripture check your heart-health. Are you ready to praise Him with your whole heart? “O Lord, you have searched me and you know me. You know when I sit and when I rise; you perceive my thoughts from afar. You discern my going out and my lying down; you are familiar with all my ways. Before a word is on my tongue you know it completely, O Lord.” (Psalm 139: 1-4) Make sure your heart is right with God first, as our Pastor likes to say: “Check yo’self before you wreck yo’self!”
It’s not the method of praise that pleases God but the willingness and want to praise Him. “Praise the Lord. Praise God in his sanctuary; praise him in his mighty heavens. Praise him for his acts of power; praise him for his surpassing greatness. Praise him with the sounding of the trumpet, praise him with the harp and lyre, praise him with tambourine and dancing, praise him with the strings and flute, praise him with the clash of cymbals. Let everything that has breath praise the Lord. Praise the Lord.” (Psalm 150)
“I will exalt you, my God and King; I will praise your name for ever and ever. Every day I will praise you and extol your name for ever and ever. Great is the Lord and most worthy of praise; his greatness no one can fathom.” (Psalm 145: 1-3)
Can I get an “Amen”?