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"Through Jesus, therefore, let us continually offer to God a sacrifice of praise - the fruit of lips that confess His name." Heb 13:15 NIV
We can do many things to excess. We can overeat, overwork, oversleep, overindulge, overreact - but we can never overpraise. Time is not long enough for us to declare the greatness of our God and praise Him for His mighty works. This is one reason why we need eternity.
While we want always to remember to praise God for His many answers to prayer and abundant blessings, it must surely please our Lord when we trust Him enough to praise Him before we see His answers. This shows that we have confidence in God and His promises.
A good habit is to season our prayers with praise in expectation of what God will do. Jesus demonstrated this when raising Lazarus from the dead. John 11:41 says, "And Jesus lifted up his eyes and said, Father, I thank thee that thou hast heard me." Jesus thanked His Father before the miracle took place. The Father heard and the great deed was accomplished.
Paul and Silas loved Jesus so much that, even when in prison, praise couldn't help but overflow from their lips as they sang praise songs in their cell. This was before the earthquake struck that brought about their freedom. They would have sung God's praises whether they saw His deliverance or not. Their praise was not dependent on their circumstances being pleasant, but on the faithfulness of God.
In Exodus 15 we read that Moses and the Children of Israel sang and danced on the banks of the Red Sea after their miraculous deliverance from the hands of the Egyptians. I love what GRN founder Joy Ridderhof once wrote: "Wouldn't it have been wonderful if they had celebrated with singing and dancing before they crossed the sea? God had promised them deliverance and that should have been enough."
What are we up against right now? Can we offer to God a sacrifice of praise if things are not going well for us? Can we praise Him without ever seeing His deliverance? Praise is all the more special to God when it flows from a life that is enduring many trials and where His benefits are being withheld. This kind of praise is possible only because of Christ in us. He is the One praising the Father through us.
Global Prayer Coordinator