I spent most of my Christian life failing to understand the value and importance of praise and thanksgiving, mostly because I didnít understand the incredible power behind it. Just how powerful is a believerís heartfelt praise? Itís powerful enough to neutralize satanic forces, and Iíd say thatís pretty powerful. Scripture tells us: "From the lips of children and infants You have ordained praise because of Your enemies, to silence the foe and the avenger." (Psalm 8:2 NIV) One reason why Satan tends to flee from an atmosphere of energetic praise is that he absolutely despises it. You have to understand that the devil, more than anything, wants to be worshiped. In fact, he had the audacity to try to get Jesus Himself to bow down and worship him. (Matthew 4:8-9) So it galls Satan when he hears anyone thanking and praising the Lord. On the other hand, our God loves and appreciates our expressions of worship. The Bible even tells us that God inhabits the praises of His people. (Psalm 22:3) So while praise and worship cause the dark forces to flee, they actually usher in the presence and power of God.
In recent months, the Lord has been teaching me about the delivering power of praise. I was seeking His help and direction for a troubling situation one morning, when He led me to Psalm 50, where the Scripture says: "Make thankfulness your sacrifice to GodÖ Then call on Me when you are in trouble, and I will rescue you, and you will give Me glory." (Psalm 50:14-15 NLT) The Lord helped me to realize that when Iím in a painful place, He doesnít want me becoming fretful or fearful. He wants me to keep my eyes on Him, and to speak and sing praises to His name for who He is, for what He has done, and for what Heíll do in the days ahead. It IS a sacrifice to praise and thank God when weíre hurting so badly that we donít think we can last another minute, but thatís the best thing we can do. Praise shifts our focus from ourselves and our problems to God, and His limitless power and love. It opens the door to divine intervention, and it shuts the door on the plans of Satan. And if you take a very close look at these verses with a keen spiritual eye, you will discover something amazing: We live a thankful and praiseful lifestyle, then we call on God for help when weíre in trouble, and He rescues us--and we give Him MORE thanks and praise. Itís a divine cycle that meets our needs, and gives God glory, all at the same time.
The final verse of Psalm 50 says: "Giving thanks is a sacrifice that truly honors Me. If you keep to My path, I will reveal to you the salvation of God." (Psalm 50:23 NLT) As believers, we are meant to honor God, and one of the best ways we can do that is to give Him our heartfelt thanks and praise in good times and in bad. When we do, He will reveal more of Himself to us, and we will witness His mighty saving acts on our behalf!
Prayer: Lord, teach me how to praise and worship You in ways You desire and deserve. Help me to constantly look around me, and find things to give You heartfelt thanks for every day and night. When I begin to worry, complain, or feel sorry for myself, remind me to shift my focus to You and Your blessings. Thank You that as I cooperate with You in this area, I will live the victorious, fruitful, abundant life that Youíve had in store for me all along!
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