PRAISE YOUR PROBLEMS AWAY
Learn to praise God and discover the secret of how to lift up your spirit and rise above your problems. Praising God will do wonders for your life. It will enable you to see through all your disappointments, unfulfilled desires and shattered dreams from a true perspective. You will feel good more often...things won't look as bad as they seem to be...you will experience the presence and peace of God.
What is Praise? The word "praise" according to Webster's dictionary means "to commend, to applaud, to magnify."What does it mean then to praise God? A simple definition is given by Ruth Myers in her book, "31 Days of Praise". She said that to praise God is "to admire God for who He is and what He does."
Hence, there are two (2) basic components of praise. One is pure praise which means exalting and magnifying God for His attributes and virtues alone; while the other is thanksgiving, that is, being grateful and thanking God for what He has done and what He does for you.
What happens when you praise God? Psalm 22:3 says that God inhabits the praises of His people. This means that praising God brings you to His presence and power. What better way to illustrate this truth than through the story of Paul and Silas in Acts 16. Both were arrested, severely beaten and imprisoned. Their bodies were hurting and their feet were fastened in stocks and so they were unable to move. Their situation was further worsened by the depressing atmosphere of a dark, damp and stinking prison. One would think that the last thing they would think of doing was to pray and praise God. But that was exactly what they did at midnight and suddenly, there was an earthquake. The prison doors swung wide open and Paul and Silas as well as the other prisoners were released from their bondage. Their praises unleashed the mighty power of God!
You may never be in a situation in which Paul and Silas were in but mounting problems may weigh you down, you may feel you are stuck and unable to move on, and your emotional pains may be too much to bear.
Don't despair. Instead, try to praise God because when you do, you focus your attention on Him and you remember the good things He has done for you and how great, how generous and how merciful He has been to you. Then you begin to look at your problems in a new light and realize how little they are compared to a mighty and powerful God. This may not happen right away but just continue to praise Him. Oftentimes, He will manifest His presence in a special way. You will feel His warm embrace or experience joy welling up from your heart or feel a certain lightness as if a heavy burden has been lifted from your heart.
There will also be times, however, when you will not feel anything at all. But this doesn't mean He is not present. In whatever way He chooses to manifest His presence, one thing is certain. When you praise Him in both the best and worst times of your life, your faith will be renewed or strengthened and you will rise above any problems that may come your way.
What if you don't feel like praising God? Cultivating a lifestyle of praise can be a long and difficult journey and there will be times when you won't feel like praising God. Hence, as you embark on this journey, ask God to lead you each and every step of the way. You certainly cannot do it on your own. The devil will keep on trying to divert you from praising God for obvious reasons. Satan will always attempt to keep your attention focused on things other than God. But remember, you have God on your side. Ask Him to fill you with His Holy Spirit and He will surely enable you to praise Him.
You don't have to deny or repress your negative thoughts and feelings. You can follow the example set by David and other psalmists. First, they praised God, then they expressed their problems and poured their hearts out and afterwards, they went back to praising God again.
So every time you feel the 'blues' and you don't feel like giving thanks and praise, do it just the same. For those who are just starting their praise journey, you can simply say 'Praise the Lord' or 'I praise you Almighty Father' or 'I praise you Lord Jesus' over and over. Then tell God what's troubling you and then praise Him again. In time, you'll notice that you will feel like it more often. Your praising will become more spontaneous. Instead of just saying 'Praise the Lord', you will find that there will be more and more words of praise coming from your heart.
Various Forms of Praise:
Speaking words of praise is not the only way to praise our almighty God. You can dance (Psalm 150:4), lift your hands (Psalm 134:2), or sing songs of praise (Psalm 9:11). Praising can also be quiet and meditative (Psalm 4:3-5, Psalm 46:10). Do whatever you feel most comfortable with.
If you like, you can do what I do when I praise God. As mentioned earlier, focus on who He is and what He has done in your life. When beset with financial problems, for instance, focus on God as the Great Provider and refer to what Paul said in 2 Cor:9:8 -- "And God is able to give you more than you need, so that you will always have all you need for yourselves and more than enough for every good cause." Apply these words to yourself (replace the word 'you' with 'I' or 'me') so say, "I praise you Father for you are able to give me more than I need so that I will always have all I need and more than enough for every good cause."
Repeat these words as many times as you want and then recall the times in your life when you experienced His great providence.
Here are a few more examples:
- Type of Problem: Poor Health
- Verse from the Bible: Ex. 15:26 – "I am the Lord, the one who heals you."
- Focus: God as the Divine Healer
- Type of Problem: Losing Faith In God
- Verse from the Bible: Rom. 16:25 – "He is able to make you stand firm in your faith." Ps. 36:5 – "Lord your constant love reaches the heavens; your faithfulness extends to the skies."
- Focus: God who is faithful
- Type of Problem: Overburdened
- Verse from the Bible: Ps. 68:19 – "Praise God who carries our burdens day after day."
- Focus: God who carries our burdens
- Type of Problem: Fear
- Verse from the Bible: Ps:91:2, 4 – "You are my defender and protector… He will cover you with His wings; you will be safe in His care; His faithfulness will protect and defend you."
- Focus: God Our Protector
An Invitation to a Lifestyle of Praise
"I will always thank the Lord; I will never stop praising Him." (Psalm 34:1) Strive to lead a lifestyle of praise. Make praising an integral part of your prayer life. It takes discipline and commitment and yet, the rewards are great. There is nothing more joyful than being in the presence of God. Praise God everywhere, not only in church but at home, at work, in the bus or in your car, or anywhere you may be. Praise Him when you're sad and happy. Praise Him when you're sick and physically fit.
In the end, the heavens will be filled with the praise of people like you who have revered God. "Then there came from the throne, the sound of a voice saying: "Praise our God, all His servants and all His people, both great and small, who have reverence for Him." Then I heard what sounded like a crowd, like the sound of a roaring waterfall, like loud peals of thunder. I heard them say, "Praise God! For the Lord, our Almighty God, is King! Let us rejoice and be glad. Let us praise His greatness!" (Rev. 19: 5-7)