Today’s Text and Thought of Encouragement:
“I will bless the Lord at all times: His praise shall continually be in my mouth.”
Psalm 34: 1
King James Version
“Praise Him – At All Times”
“It is good to give thanks to the Lord,
to sing praises to Your name, O Most High;
to declare Your steadfast love in the morning,
and Your faithfulness at night.
For You have made me glad, O Lord, in all You have done,
and I sing for joy at the works of Your hands.”
Psalm 92: 1-2, 4
Am I able to “praise God at all times?”
“Blessing and honour, thanksgiving and praise, more than I can utter, more than I can understand, be Yours, O Most Glorious Trinity, Father, Son and Holy Spirit.”
“I will praise You, O Lord, for You have drawn me up from the depths, and have not let my foes rejoice over me. O Lord my God, I cried to You for help, and You made me whole. You have turned my laments into dancing; You have taken off my sackcloth and clothed me with joy. So my heart will sing Your praise and not be silent; O Lord my God, I will give thanks to You for evermore.”
Psalm 30: 1, 2, 11, 12
As we study about prayer, I want to share with you a special prayer, that like the Lord’s Prayer, has had a tremendous impact on my life.
It’s a day I will not forget. Jim and I had company for the weekend. I was relieved Sunday evening when everyone left and the house was quiet again. As I cleaned up the last of the dirty dishes, I decided to turn on the television. As I was flipping through the channels, I noticed that Pastor Jack Hayford from Church On The Way in Van Nuys, California was speaking. I had just finished reading his book on Nehemiah, Rebuilding the Real You, and I had been thoroughly blessed, so I decided to listen to the sermon as I washed the dishes.
Pastor Hayford began the sermon by talking about how we should learn to praise God, “at all times.” Well, to put it bluntly, he ran into a skeptic in me. Yes, I truly believed in God. Yes, I prayed everyday. Yes, I was a Christian. But to be honest, I found it difficult to offer “praise to heaven” in times when my eyes were filled with tears and my heart was broken. Praise and pain didn’t seem to fit in the same sentence. And I think if we all were talking like girls talk, we’d have to agree that trying to put on a happy face while carrying a heartache is very tough indeed.
As I listened intently to how Pastor Hayford suggested we “praise God at all times,” I heard him say something about saying a “Praise Prayer” everyday. I quickly grabbed a pen and piece of paper and began to write down the prayer he was sharing. It is the prayer we sent to you on bookmarks. And I thank Pastor Hayford for his permission to let me share this prayer with you.
It was a Sunday evening in 1996 when I first heard this prayer. Monday morning when I awoke, I grabbed the piece of paper with my scribbled notes and began my day with the “Praise Prayer.” It seemed odd praising God when the day had hardly begun. But I did it anyway!
At this point you would probably like to hear me testify that all my problems disappeared and life became smooth sailing. If I told you this, I would be a liar.
Instead, within three months of starting every day praising God, someone my husband and I trusted stole a huge amount of money from our company. Six months later, my husband’s mother was diagnosed with lung cancer and she had never smoked a day in her life. And one month later, Jim and I were hit by a drunk driver who had been dared by gang friends that if he killed himself, why not take someone else out with him and he nearly did.
Jim and I spent 4 months in the hospital and 2 years in out-patient rehab learning to walk again. Six months later Jim’s sister was diagnosed with pancreatic cancer and passed away in just 4 months time. At the same time my sister and her two daughters went through the pain of a family divorce and then my grandmother died. The trouble didn’t stop. Jim’s older sister and her son were diagnosed with leukemia at the very same time and then his mother died.
I don’t share this information with you so you will feel bad for me. I tell you this because my life is a living testimony everyday to the truth that we can “praise God at all times.”
I know it sounds weird but remember, I was the one who was skeptical about praising God no matter what happens. I thought it would be impossible. And sometimes as I said the “Praise Prayer” I had tears pouring down my face because my body was wracked with pain from all the broken bones. But I decided if I was going to “praise God,” it had to be as the Bible says, “at all times.” And so, since 1996 – I have said the “Praise Prayer” everyday.
Please don’t get me wrong, this “Praise Prayer” isn’t an exercise in repeating magical words. It is instead, the majestic release of God’s power into every part of my life. It is Dorothy saying, “Yes,” to the working of God in my life, no matter what pain I face or what crisis I am subjected to.
Tomorrow, we will begin studying each line of this prayer which is a form of an acrostic which spells out the word, “PRAISE.
In the Old Testament, the prophet Isaiah tells us to put on, “a garment of praise instead of a spirit of despair.” This is what all of God’s daughters (and sons, too!) are going to do at Transformation Garden in the coming days.
Several years ago, I invited all of you to please remember God’s girls in Kenya who were being treated in a most brutal way. Days later, I received an email thanking all of us for praying and letting me know that while things were still bad, yet as one of God’s girls told me, “We know our God is faithful.” This is the God we are going to “praise at all times.” (Psalm 34: 1)
“There is nothing that pleases the Lord so much as our praise to Him.”
“Of all the creatures both in seas and land
Only to man thou hast made known Thy ways,
And put the pen alone into his hand,
And made him secretary of Thy praise.”
Fill the World with Praise
“From all that dwell below the skies
Let the Creator’s praise arise;
Let the Redeemer’s name be sung
Through every land by every tongue.
Eternal are thy mercies, Lord;
Eternal truth attends thy word;
Thy praise shall sound from shore to shore,
Till suns shall rise and set no more.
In every land begin the song;
To every land the strains belong;
In cheerful sounds all voices raise
And fill the world with loudest praise.”
Dorothy Valcárcel, Author
When A Woman Meets Jesus
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