Jesus taught his disciples the parable of the persistent widow bothering the unjust judge until he gave in with this in mind: “that at all times they ought to pray and not to lose heart” (Luke 18:1, NASB). I want to encourage us today with one way to pray and not to lose heart: giving thanks and praise to God.
In Psalm 69, David is writing out of his affliction and pain. He says, “Those who hate me without cause are more than the hairs of my head” (v. 4, NASB). He is waiting for God to answer his prayers and to deliver him from his enemies. He is tired of crying out.
Yet this is how he ends his psalm: “I will praise the name of God with song and magnify Him with thanksgiving.31 And it will please the Lord better than an ox or a young bull with horns and hoofs. 32 The humble have seen it and are glad; You who seek God, let your heart revive. 33 For the Lord hears the needy…” (Psalm 69:30-33, NASB)
I love this passage. An ox cost a lot and was an expensive sacrifice. But David knew that God is after our hearts and that praising God, especially when things are hard or going wrong, is more pleasing to Him than a costly sacrifice. Giving thanks magnifies the Lord, it honors Him and glorifies Him. And it is a sacrifice that each one of us is capable of giving. The cost is not financial, but getting beyond this mindset: “I don’t feel like praising the Lord”.
Our God is always worthy of our praise, both for who He is and what He has done. The Psalms praise Him both of these ways.
When you praise God, your heart begins to lift. Your spirit starts to be enlivened. Your heaviness begins to go. Your mindset changes from being down to being up and positive. Praise has power. Giving thanks frees you. It is God’s way for us to live. There is an old Pentecostal saying, “keep your praise going!”.
Take time today to thank the Lord and count your blessings. Praise Him for His lovingkindness and grace in your life. It will revive your heart. It will cause you to believe afresh that the Lord is hearing your prayers. It will enable you to keep praying for the rest of the 10 Days.
Father, we thank you that you are always worthy of praise! Thank you for calling us to Yourself and redeeming us through Your Son. Thank you for making us children of God, sons and daughters of the Most High. Thank you that You work all things together for good for those who love You, including us! We praise You that you have a plan for our lives, our city and our nation, and that no one can stop You from doing what You have decided to do. You are Almighty God, El Shaddai. Thank you that our prayers are powerful and effective. We purpose today to magnify You with our praise and thanksgiving. Be glorified in us. In Jesus’ name, amen.
Praising and persevering with you,