When there’s a tragedy in the news or a phone call with a difficult diagnosis, what is your first response? How about your daily prayer time? Is it just a long grocery list of things that you want God to attend to or change?
One of my favorite verses is Psalm 104:33: “I will sing to the LORD as long as I live; I will sing praise to my God while I have my being.” Praise is an important part of our relationship with God and our conversations with Him. And yet too often, praise is relegated to a few songs on Sunday morning and doesn’t show up again for an entire week.
The writer of Hebrews, however, tells us something quite different. We are to continually offer up a sacrifice of praise. A sacrifice isn’t easy to give, and probably isn’t the first thing we think of doing in a difficult situation. It takes intentionality and a conscious decision.
If we truly love someone, we will be more willing to sacrifice for that person. In the same way, when we are devastated by tragic events or the loss of something or someone we hold dear, our first response isn’t praise and thanksgiving. But this scripture makes it clear that even in that moment, we are to offer up that sacrifice of praise: “the fruit of lips that give thanks to His name.” Fruit is an outward sign of something growing inside, a sign of a healthy relationship with God.
How can you offer praise when it is difficult?
Remember that God doesn’t change and hasn’t changed even in your most challenging situation. Recall that His promises are still the same, and He is not surprised by what has happened. His plans for you are still for you good (Romans 8:28); you can still depend on Him because He loves you and because His son, Jesus Christ, died for you. Go to Him with head bowed and offer up a sacrifice of praise, through tears, through brokenness, and through heartache.
Dear Heavenly Father, thank you that regardless of what we face in our days, you, Lord, never change. Your promises are always the same, you are never surprised and I can always trust You. You delight in me and inhabit the praises of your people, and for that I am truly thankful. Amen.
Go deeper — When things don’t go as you had planned or hoped today or this week, start with praise.
Photo Credit: Elaine Casap