It’s hard to believe the first part of November is almost gone. Autumn is such a beautiful time of year… so full of beauty and change. Our drive to church each Sunday and Wednesday takes us through curvy back roads. Full of bumps, and lined by trees, I’m constantly exclaiming how much I love the colors of the changing leaves. It’s like driving through an Autumnal paradise every time we go to church! It amazes me how our great God can make something that’s dying look so incredibly beautiful!
Along with the beautiful colors of Autumn, there’s something about November that always makes me reflect on the blessings and goodness of God. Maybe it’s because Thanksgiving is just around the corner… or maybe it’s because the year is drawing to a close. It’s just the perfect time to reflect on the goodness of God in recent months.
For my devotions these past few weeks I’ve been reading through the book of Psalms. For some reason it’s a struggle for me to read straight through this wonderful book… so I decided to work through it backwards. Because of this, for days, I have been reading and jotting down verses about praising the Lord. The latter Psalms are just full of words of praise and thanksgiving. How fitting for the month we celebrate Thanksgiving. Notice these verses from Psalm 135… (for emphasis, I’ve been writing the word “praise” in all caps).
“PRAISE ye the LORD, PRAISE ye the name of the LORD; PRAISE him, O ye servants of the Lord. Ye that stand in the house of the LORD, in the courts of the house of our God, PRAISE the LORD; for the LORD is good: sing praises unto his name, for it is pleasant.” Psalm 135:1-3
Not only do these verses call for us to praise the Lord, they give us the reason why – because our Lord is good, His name is pleasant… He is worthy of our praise!
So, how can you and I apply these verses to our every day life? How can we become women who praise the Lord? Here are just a few simple ways we can cultivate a heart of praise….
Cultivating a Heart of Praise
Think on Praiseworthy Things
“Finally, brethren, whatsoever things are true, whatsoever things are honest, whatsoever things are just, whatsoever things are pure, whatsoever things are lovely, whatsoever things are of good report, if there be any virtue, and if there be any praise, think on these things.” Philippians 4:8
We are what we think. If we fill our minds and hearts with things that are worthy of praise… then we will find ourselves wanting to sing and praise God. Very few thoughts can pass the Philippians 4:8 test… but God’s Word sure can! Thoughts of God, his goodness, His Word, and the blessings He has given us are all praiseworthy thoughts. Dwelling and meditating on thoughts of praise will fill our hearts and minds (and mouths!) with the attitudes and words of praise.
Have a Thankful Heart
“Enter into his gates with thanksgiving, and into his courts with praise: be thankful unto him and bless his name.” Psalm 100:4
In order to properly praise the Lord, we must have a grateful and thankful heart. Praise flows out of the heart that is full of thankfulness and gratitude to the Lord for all He has done. This is also something that needs to be cultivated… something that needs to be practiced in our daily lives. Whether it’s writing “gratitude lists”, writing thank you notes, or verbally saying thank you to God and others… gratitude is the heart attitude that directly precedes praise.
This is something we must continually strive to do… but a heart of gratitude will produce a heart of praise and joy like nothing else. (My favorite book on this topic is called Choosing Gratitude by Nancy Leigh Demoss – what an eyeopening book!) So, if you want to cultivate a heart of praise – you must also have a thankful heart.
3. Remember God’s Blessings
“I will remember the works of the LORD, surely I will remember thy wonders of old. I will meditate also of all thy work, and talk of all thy doings.” Psalm 77:11-12
My mom recently gave us a little jar called a “blessings jar”. The purpose of this little jar is to fill it with slips of paper recording blessings that God has given us. I think this is a wonderful idea, and one I am hoping to implement regularly. In order to remember blessings from the Lord… we must record them and write them down! A typical notebook, a special gratitude journal, blessing jars, or anything else you can think of, can surely be used to record and keep track of the many blessings God has given us. It’s such an encouragement to think back on the blessings of God…. past, present, and future!
4. Speak Words of Praise
“My soul shall be satisfied with marrow and fatness; and my mouth shall praise thee with joyful lips.” Psalm 63:5
One way to be a young woman of praise, is to simply speak words of praise! When God blesses you, or reveals a promise from His Word, or even answers a simple prayer… share it with someone! It’s always a blessing and encouragement to me when someone shares an answered prayer. It’s a reminder that God is good – that He still hears and answers prayer (even if it’s not always the way we would choose). So the speak words of praise – share reminders of His goodness with others!
Sing Praises to Him
“It is a good thing to give thanks unto the LORD, and to sing praises unto thy name, O most High;” Psalm 92:1
We don’t need to have a beautiful voice to sing praises to God! We simply need to have a heart that wants to praise Him. Any song of praise to our Lord is beautiful to God! Whether alone in the car, your bedroom, or with the congregation at church – don’t be afraid to sing to Lord a joyful song of praise!6.
Give God the Glory
“Whether therefore ye eat or drink, or whatsoever ye do, do all to the glory of God.” 1 Corinthians 10:31
This is something that is very difficult for most of us – and that’s giving God the glory and praise for our own accomplishments. Somehow it can feel very unnatural in conversation to deflect the glory and praise to God – but He deserves it! I used to think it sounded “too spiritual” to always say “praise the Lord” after receiving a compliment regarding an accomplishment. Too often I default to saying “thank you” when it’s really God who deserves the praise. But when we are truly humble, we will honestly and truthfully tell others that God is the One who deserves the glory – whether it’s for our accomplishments, talents, or possessions…. God is the One Who needs to be praised! So, let’s learn to give Him the glory.
Why should we bother to cultivate a heart of praise anyway? What’s in it for us? The only reason we should need to cultivate a heart of praise is that God deserves it and desires it from us! Truly, that should be the only motivator we need to praise Him. However, there are a boatload of benefits that come with cultivating a heart of praise…. here are just a few of them:
♥ Joy – Hearts that are constantly praising the Lord are constantly being filled with joy. Joy is a natural byproduct of praise. The two go hand in hand.
♥ Peace – Focusing our hearts on praising the Lord, instead of focusing on our fears, will bring peace to our hearts.
♥ Contentment – It’s impossible for discontentment to grow and fester in a heart that is continually praising the Lord.
♥ Better Relationships – Think about it… who wants to be around a grumpy, ungrateful, and complaining person?
♥ A New Perspective – Having a heart that’s full of praise will give us a new perspective on life and the circumstances we face. Instead of feeling discouraged, angry, sad, or depressed… when we look for ways to praise the Lord, we will gain a new (and better) perspective on life and the circumstances that come our way!
“Praise is the alpha and omega of a Christian life. Praise is the life of life…. One streak of sparkling crystal should run through the entire mass of life – and that should be praise unto God.” – Charles Spurgeon (Taken from Deep Fire; Daily Challenges for a Burning Heart)
So what about you?
How do you plan to cultivate a heart of praise?
Is there a special way that you enjoy praising the Lord? What would you add to my list?
Do you have a favorite Bible verse on praise?
I would love to read your thoughts and answers in the comments!