Praise the LORD. How good it is to sing praises to our God, how pleasant and fitting to praise him! … Extol the LORD, O Jerusalem, praise your God, O Zion.
Psalm 147:1, 12 NIV*
Verses 2 – 6 say, “The LORD builds… gathers… heals… binds up… determines… names… sustains… casts down.”
Our God is worthy of praise. Something within us needs to praise Him—was made to praise Him.
We need to praise Him privately, adoring Him and growing our trust and confidence in Him.
But we also need to praise Him publicly. We need to tell others what He has done, because
- He deserves it,
- it strengthens other believers’ faith,
- it shows His reality to those who don’t believe, and
- it strengthens our own faith as we re-tell what He has done.
Sometimes church feels to me like a spectator sport. I go, reminding myself “let us not give up meeting together…” (Hebrews 10:25, NIV) but I wonder: are we meeting together? Exchanging stories to encourage our faith? Sharing and bearing one another’s burdens? Or are we putting on our nice faces for a visit to our faith club, then going back into our world powerless and unchanged?
LORD, I need to praise You more, to build my trust and confidence in You by thinking and talking about what You do. Help me see Your hand at work around me, and help me share it with others. I’m not the only silent one. Please wake Your body and loosen our tongues to declare Your glory.
Lots of artists have sung “God of Wonders,” written by Steve Hindalong and Marc Byrd, but my favourite rendition has to be by Third Day:
*New International Version (NIV) Holy Bible, New International Version®, NIV® Copyright ©1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc.® Used by permission. All rights reserved worldwide.
Great post! This is something I have personally been studying and working on improving the last couple of years. The Bible says that God inhabits the praises of His people and also that we are to bring the sacrifice of praise. And sometimes it is a sacrifice…but it really does work!
I know what you mean about church feeling like a spectator sport…I’ve been in churches/services like that. I really appreciate where I worship now, because the service is “loose”…nothing is strictly structured, and sometimes we spend most of the service sharing about what God has done in our lives. We’re a VERY small church, so maybe it’s easier for us to do this than a bigger church. Our services are more like Bible Studies…we share praises and prayer concerns, worship by singing as much as we feel led, and even the sermon is interactive as we are able to interject with questions, ideas, testimonies, etc.
I read your post yesterday about your trip to New York. Sounds like you had a great time…your boys must young men by now…it’s been so long since I’ve seen them. We once took a family trip to New York state and spent an afternoon driving around New York a little bit and seeing the Statue of Liberty. We didn’t leave the car because Dad was afraid to leave it alone! I wish we had explored the city more, but I guess I’ll just have to go there again someday!
Julie, your church sounds wonderful. I imagine that’s what it was like in the early church. I think it’s important in a bigger church to find a spot in a small enough group for this kind of sharing. Looking forward to a new prayer group starting in my church this fall — and to getting back to my weekly ladies’ Bible study/prayer time/support group.
Praise… first I think of words, spoken and sung. I’m beginning to see how it can be our actions and even more our attitudes. If I live confidently in God, that’s a big statement of praise that He’s worthy of that confidence. If I live fearful and defeated, that’s like anti-praise to His abilities. He has a lot of work left to do in me!
That’s one of my favourite songs! I like Steve Green’s rendition. Church has always been important to me, though sometimes I also have to remind myself of why. And make sure that I focus on God during that time, instead of thinking about what to make for lunch or what to write on my blog or who’s in church this Sunday or how to keep Sunshine quiet… 🙂
Bonnie, I’m beginning to think “God of Wonders” has been done (and done well) by enough artists that we could have a whole CD of the different versions. You can tell it touches hearts.
Those distracting thoughts… during worship at church or home alone…. “Focus” is the right word. Sometimes it’s hard work, and I find I really need to be intentional about it.