Tuesday, February 12, 2013

Begin with Praise

Today is day two of our sixth week, reading the Bible through in a year together.  Our scripture today is Exodus 19-21; Ephesians 5; Psalm 33.  I've decided to focus on just one verse this morning--Psalm 33:3.

In times of struggle, sometimes the hardest things to do are to hope, wait, and trust that God will work all things out.  Romans 8:28 (ESV) says, "And we know that for those who love God all things work together for good, for those who are called according to his purpose."  Paul says we know this.  But really getting this knowledge to the core of your being can take some work.  That's where praising God comes in.

In Psalm 33 begins with praise.  When you're going through a difficult time, you don't always feel like praising God.  But praise brings in God's presence.   Verse 3 (ESV) gives three different ways we can praise God.  

Sing to him a new song;
    play skillfully on the strings, with loud shouts.

First, we can sing a new song.  Composing a song to God can be something that you do with careful deliberation, putting pen to paper and giving consideration to rhyme and meter.  Or, you can simply sing extemporaneously.  As Prof. Harold Hill (The Music Man) said, "Singing is just sustained talking."  Make up a song on the spot.  Give your thoughts notes, whether they're worthy of a Grammy or not.

The second way you can praise God through song is by playing skillfully on a musical instrument.  This, of course, involves learning an instrument.  If you're already able to do so, then why not incorporate your ability into your prayer time?  Let your music become a gift you give to God.  Or, if you've never learned how to play an instrument, why not consider it--and learn it for God's glory?

The third way we can praise God is through loud shouts.  What does this mean?  It doesn't mean disrupting a church's worship service.  But it does mean letting go of your inhibitions in prayer.  Prayer doesn't always have to be something you do with folded hands and whispering lips.  Let go, and give God a shout.  You'll be surprised at how good it feels.

Beginning your prayer time with an attitude of praise invites God's presence.  It helps you to settle into prayer, so that you can hope, wait, and trust in God.

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