Praise

Who knew?  If you are a believer in the Lord Jesus Christ you are at war.  You may be a lover of peace, someone who doesn’t like confrontation, a person who likes to avoid conflict; but whether you like it or not, you are at war. War has been declared against you.

Since we are in a spiritual war we need to understand the rules of engagement and the strategies of the enemy. We cannot be passive, we must gird ourselves, be on guard and protected from those schemes.  We also need to know the Lord’s strategies that equip us to stand and prevail. Victory is within our grasp but we have to do our part.

One of the key strategies that we must employ in spiritual warfare is praise.  The very first battle that Joshua and company won in the Promised Land was won by praise.  It was an unlikely strategy for how to take a well-fortified city. God instructed Joshua to basically hold a seven-day praise and worship pageant.  The priests led the parade around the city blowing rams’ horns. Other priests carried the ark of covenant, followed by the army in full battle array, the people following behind.  On the seventh day after encircling the city seven times, with the blast of the horns and the shout of the people the walls came tumbling down.  

Praise changes things in the spiritual atmosphere.  When Paul and Silas were beaten and thrown into jail in Philippi, they didn’t fall into despair or fear, instead they chose to praise God.  They sang the night away.  Their praises brought such a breakthrough that there was a literal earthquake and captives were set free.  The entire family of the jailer came to the Lord.  Such is the power of praise.

Sometimes praise is our spontaneous reaction to an answered prayer or a good report.  Sometimes praise is a choice that we must step into when we don’t feel like it.  Isaiah 61:3 uses the term mantle of praise, so praise can be thought of as something that we put on like a garment. In Hebrews 13:15 the writer tells us to continually offer up a sacrifice of praise to God.  Sometimes praise comes easily, sometimes it is a sacrifice. 

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It is as if He feels at home.  His presence draws near.  One translation of Psalm 22:3 explains it this way, God inhabits the praises of his people another says, God is enthroned upon the praises of Israel.  

Praise lifts our eyes off of our circumstances as we begin to focus on our great, good God.  He draws near as we remember that He is all-powerful.  He is in control.  He is on that throne reigning and ruling.  We start to see life from His viewpoint.  What seemed like a huge burden or problem begins to look pretty insignificant.  Praise shifts our perspective.  

Praise takes practice.  Practice with a few friends.  Practice by yourself.  Practice at church.  Practice in the morning before you get out of bed.  Practice in the middle of the night if you wake up and can’t go back to sleep. Keep at it, praise will become your default position and will be a key strategy in this spiritual war that you are called to.  Let everything that hath breath praise the Lord!  Praise the Lord!  Hallelujah!  Psalm 150:6

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Heavenly Father, Thank you that although the enemy wages war against me, You have equipped me with spiritual weapons that are effective against his attacks. By faith, I take up the weapon that is praise. Thank you for the times that praise comes easily to me.  Help me praise you when it is a sacrifice.  I ask you this week to give me opportunities to praise you both in public before others and in private, just between the two of us. Give me the grace to follow the example of David in Psalm 145:3,  Every day I will bless you and praise your name forever and ever.  Amen