A Psalm of Thanks
Psalms 103: 1-5
Praise the LORD,O my soul;all my inmost being, praise his holy name. Praise the LORD, O my soul, and forget not all his benefits–who forgives all your sins and heals all your diseases who redeems your life from the pit and crowns you with love and compassion, who satisfies your desires with good things so that your youth is renewed like the eagle’s. (NIV)
It’s been said that praise is a lifestyle. If so, what should this lifestyle look like? And what does it mean to praise God, anyway?
Glad you asked! The dictionary defines the word “praise” as “expressing admiration for”, “rave about”, “make much of”, “admire”, “hail”, “to laud”, “to boast about”.
When the psalmist David exhorts us to “praise the Lord” twice in this writing, he is including all those definitions of the word.
When are we supposed to do this? Anywhere, everywhere…not just in church on Sunday when we gather together with other believers Praising God should be something we do at home, in the car, at work, a daily part of our prayer life and our life in general.
Praise Him as part of our prayers? Too often, we are guilty of asking of God: “I want” or “I need”. God does want us to ask, but he also likes to hear us brag on Him and the things that He does for us. Praise is also an expression of our faith in Him, to know that He is in control of our lives and circumstances.
I start out each of my daily prayers to God with simple thanks. I thank Him for His mercy and His grace that are fresh and new to me every single day. I also thank Him for His provision for me. I do not take for granted His protective hand over the circumstances of my life and the blessings that He allows to come into it. And if something happens at work that I know that He’s had a hand in, I stop right then and there, raise my hand and thank Him. Now, if it’s a major answer to prayer, I’ve been known to head to my workroom, drop to my knees and weep. That’s happened a few times.
And then there are His benefits. A benefit is “an advantage, a privilege, a right”, “a resource”, “a result of an action”.
I was reading an interesting article tonight, and it spelled out seven benefits of praising God:
1. It changes the spiritual climate. Bad moods lift when you praise God. Prison doors open as well (Acts 16:25).
2. It fulfills your purpose as God’s creation. That’s what God created us for. If we’re silenced, the rocks and stones will cry out (Luke 19:40).
3. It gives us power to do great deeds. Peter was able to do great things after he acknowleged the Lordship of Jesus (Matthew 16:16).
4. Praise puts things in the right perspective. No matter what is going on in your life, God is still on the throne and still in control.
5. It reminds you of God’s presence in your life. Praise reminds us that He is always near. His Word says that He will never leave us or forsake us.
6. It crucifies your pride. Praise humbles us and allows us to elevate God.
7. It attracts God’s presence. God is drawn to where He is welcomed.
And then there were all of the other benefits that Pastor Ray enumerated this morning: forgiveness of sins, healing, deliverance, crowning us with love and mercy, and satisfying us with good things and renewed strength.
Who wouldn’t want all these things and more? There’s the peace and the joy that God gives to us. Those are certainly benefits!
So, on this Thanksgiving week, take the time to say a prayer of not only thanks but of praise to God for the great things He has done in your life and in the lives of your loved ones. He’ll love to hear it!