This summer has been a faith-stretching time for me. I have had several disappointments which have made me wrestle with the Lord over what I know in my head to be true and what my heart is struggling to believe to be true. I have not done well with fear this summer. It has threatened to overwhelm me. Instead of living in the present, I have lived several months or years into the future and have failed to believe that God's grace will be enough for then. I have woken up with fear making itself comfortable in the pit of my stomach although I have begged it to go away.
There is only one remedy for faith's faltering and fear's stubbornness and that is the power of praise. I heard a radio program this summer that suggested that when I am overwhelmed with fear or a spirit of heaviness to praise the Lord for 20 minutes. A thankful heart and a bitter or fearful heart cannot reside in the same place. Fear has to flee. I decided to give the suggestion a try on an especially difficult day when the lie that God had abandoned me had gripped me fiercely.
It was pitiful that I did not exactly know how to start to praise. So I thanked God for breath in my lungs, for the ability to see and hear, for food in the refrigerator. For healthy children and a husband who provides for us. For a comfortable home and a car that runs. Something started happening. The Holy Spirit started to speak to my heaviness as I praised Him for His power. By the end of the twenty minutes, I had been revived. Had my circumstances changed? No. But my perspective had.
I love being around someone who takes the time to tell me what they appreciate about me. I am made in the image of God Himself, who loves to be praised. He inclines His ear to hear praises coming from my lips. When I praise Him, He ministers to my deepest need, like a loving father comforting his frightened child.
The power of praise unlocks the door to the prison of fear! Praise gives me renewed hope, realigned perspective, and a haven of calm in the midst of the storm. Praise gets my eyes off of me and my inability to change my situation and refocuses them on the One who has the answers to my every problem.
Twenty minutes of concentrated praise is more effective than 20 hours of complaining to my co-workers, my husband, or my friends. It brings me into the very throne room of God and allows me to see how well taken care of I am by the One who knows the very number of hairs on my head.
1 Praise the LORD, O my soul;
all my inmost being, praise his holy name.
2 Praise the LORD, O my soul,
and forget not all his benefits-
3 who forgives all your sins
and heals all your diseases,
4 who redeems your life from the pit
and crowns you with love and compassion,
5 who satisfies your desires with good things
so that your youth is renewed like the eagle's.
Praise be to the Lord, to God our Savior, who daily bears our burdens.
Let the righteous rejoice in the LORD and take refuge in him; let all the upright in heart praise him!
I will praise you, O Lord my God, with all my heart; I will glorify your name forever.