By this time last year, I knew Praise would be my One Word for 2013. I didn’t exactly choose it for myself, but God seemed insistent that my One Word should be Praise. Obviously, God was trying to show me something.
Over the year, I’ve thought about what it means to praise God—in the good times and in the difficult times. And as I’ve read through Scripture, I’ve noticed and pondered how often praise and worship are written about.
From my Tyndale NLT Study Bible dictionary…
Praise—to worship, commend, or give honor to
Worship—to regard with great respect, honor, or devotion
To praise God is to honor Him and to give Him the glory, no matter what I may have done or not done.
In worshipping God, we stay devoted to Him even in the midst of circumstances we don’t understand or that are unwelcome and unpleasant.
We certainly see this with Elizabeth and Zechariah. For so long, their prayers for a child went unanswered. I have to think this led to disappointment and discouragement. And yet, they never turned away from God.
Zechariah and Elizabeth were righteous in God’s eyes… Luke 1:6a
Righteous not because of what they had done, but because of their faith in God.
Praise and worship may have been easier after their son was born, but obviously, praise and worship were not absent in their lives during all the years of unanswered prayers.
Praising and worshipping God strengthens our faith…and they were righteous because of their faith.
Is our reaction to unanswered prayers the same as when our prayers are answered—to praise and worship God?
I like Psalm 71:14-15 NLT…
But I will keep on hoping for your help; I will praise you more and more. I will tell everyone about your righteousness. All day long I will proclaim your saving power, though I am not skilled with words.
The Psalmist praised God and proclaimed his saving power—even while going through difficult times and waiting for God’s help. He praised God first, before receiving God’s help.
Maybe Elizabeth and Zechariah believed like King David did…
My heart is confident in you, O God; no wonder I can sing your praises with all my heart! Psalm 108:1
They didn’t need proof that God was with them. They knew and they praised Him.
I want that confidence—to know without a doubt that God walks with me through every day in my life—the good, the bad, and the days that seem boring. I want my eyes open so I can see Him there.
And I want to praise God first—even before I see my prayers answered.
When do you find yourself praising God? Do you need to start praising Him before you see your prayers answered?
If you are reading The Women of Christmas by Liz Curtis Higgs, we are in Chapter 5 this week, “With Heart and Soul and Voice.”
Photo credit: Stock photo: worship the living god
Linking up with Sharing His Beauty, #TellHisStory, Soli Deo Gloria, Winsome Wednesday, WholeHearted Wednesday