Isn’t it amazing how God can completely change our heart-attitude and perspective about something, even if it seems like nothing is really changing. Have you ever experienced that before? I’d encourage you to take a moment right now and reflect on a time where you, or your family, have experienced this. Was it because of prayer? A passage or verse in the Scriptures? A song you heard? A friend who spoke words of truth and love? A wake up call from the Holy Spirit? Perhaps it was an act of surrender to come before the Lord in praise, even in the middle of the trial. This act of praise is what I hope we can practice together today… So before we jump in, one of the things I love about God is actually two-fold: 1) He never changes and 2) He tells us how to approach Him. So no matter what is happening in our lives or in the world around us, we can rest assured that these two things will never change. Praise, my friends is a safeguard for us. The Word says, “Enter his gates with thanksgiving and his courts with praise” (Psalm 100:4a). Even in the midst of this pandemic, it is good and right for God’s people to enter into the throne room with thanksgiving and praise. Below I have written out some verses of praise from the Psalms to lead us. I wrote some brief prayers for the first four verses and would encourage you to continue in your own heart-felt expression before God.
Let us start by first inviting the Holy Spirit to stir up praise in our hearts and to remove anything that is hindering us from humbling ourselves in thanksgiving and adoration before the Lord. Take a moment to listen to what it is He wants to speak to you. If He points out something you need to confess or repent of, do that now before you start. Holy Spirit would you guide us through this time of worship and exaltation of our awesome God. Would you anoint our prayers in your power. May the words of the psalmists become our songs before you, oh God. May we be blessed, because this is our rightful place as God’s children and as the worshipers that He created us to be.
“I will give thanks to you, Lord, with all my heart; I will tell of all your wonderful deeds.” Psalm 9:1
-Holy Spirit, thank you that you stir up praise in my heart. I invite you to lead me into heart-felt praise and worship right now. Remove any fear, frustration, doubt, disbelief, anger, (fill in the blank) that is keeping me from entering into praise with my whole heart. I desire to praise you fully and experience your joy that I can share with others. Cause me to be your mouthpiece, oh God during this time of turmoil for so many, that they might hear of your wonderful deeds and your loving, compassionate heart towards them.
“The Lord is my strength and my shield; my heart trusts in him, and he helps me. My heart leaps for joy, and with my song I praise him.” Psalm 28:7
-Lord I cannot find the words to express how thankful I am that you, God are my strength. That you, God are my shield - my protector. Lord I confess that my heart at times struggles to trust you during this pandemic and in general. I confess that anxiety and worry can slip into my heart. Lord ground me in this truth, that my heart can trust fully in you because you help me. This is profound. Cause these words of the psalmist to become my own, oh God; may my heart leap for joy within me and my song of praise grow louder each day.
“I will extol the Lord at all times; his praise will always be on my lips.” Psalm 34:1
-What an expression of worship this is, oh God. Father you know I fall short of extolling you at all times, at having endless praises upon my lips. Yet Lord I know that You are worthy of this. You are worthy of my endless praise and adoration, all the time. Holy Spirit stir up praise in my that knows no bounds, no limits, that is not dependent upon my circumstance but upon You, Lord God and Your worthiness.
“Why, my soul, are you downcast? Why so disturbed within me? Put your hope in God, for I will yet praise him, my Savior and my God.” Psalm 42:11
-Thank you for this invitation to speak to my own soul [re-read this verse out loud]. God thank you that you are my hope. If there is something or someone else that I am currently placing my hope in, Holy Spirit would you reveal that to me and purify my heart. Take a moment to allow the Holy Spirit to speak to that directly and then confess those things before the Lord and repent of them. Father, it is my desire to praise you during this time and you alone. Speak to my soul, and give me ears to hear and a heart to obey.
“Because your love is better than life, my lips will glorify you. I will praise you as long as I live, and in your name I will lift up my hands.” Psalm 63:3-4
“I cried out to him with my mouth; his praise was on my tongue.” Psalm 66:17
“My mouth is filled with your praise, declaring your splendor all day long.” Psalm 71:8
"It is good to praise the LORD and make music to your name, O Most High, proclaiming your love in the morning and your faithfulness at night..." Psalm 91:1-2
“Come, let us sing for joy to the Lord; let us shout aloud to the Rock of our salvation. Let us come before him with thanksgiving and extol him with music and song. For the Lord is the great God, the great King above all gods. In his hand are the depths of the earth, and the mountain peaks belong to him. The sea is his, for he made it, and his hands formed the dry land. Come, let us bow down in worship, let us kneel before the Lord our Maker;” Psalm 95:1-6
“Shout for joy to the Lord, all the earth. Worship the Lord with gladness; come before him with joyful songs. Know that the Lord is God. It is he who made us, and we are his; we are his people, the sheep of his pasture. Enter his gates with thanksgiving and his courts with praise; give thanks to him and praise his name. For the Lord is good and his love endures forever; his faithfulness continues through all generations.” Psalm 100
“Praise the Lord, my soul; all my inmost being, praise his holy name. Praise the Lord, 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.” Psalm 103:1-5
“Give praise to the Lord, proclaim his name; make known among the nations what he has done.” Psalm 105:1
“I will exalt you, my God the King; I will praise your name for ever and ever.” Psalm 145:1
“Great is the Lord and most worthy of praise; his greatness no one can fathom.” Psalm 145:3
“Let everything that has breath praise the Lord. Praise the Lord.” Psalm 150:6
I trust you feel encouraged; may His praise continually come forth from your mouth.