The Benefits of Praise: A Procedure for Problem Solving
If it gave no other benefit, the praise of God would still be a most worthy worship endeavor. Nevertheless, aside from the spiritual advantage of enabling us to relate to the Lord in a proper way, praise provides certain psychological side benefits” in the midst of problems.
Praise helps us avoid depression. Letting our minds dwell on our problems can lead to depression. Depression, in turn, can lead to feelings of hopelessness and helplessness. When we fix our minds on God, who loves and cares for us, we magnify our sense of his presence. Then, though we might still feel weak, our hope is renewed as we consider the One who has been our help.
Praise helps us feel secure. Our troubles often involve failed relationships. People have let us down, or we have disappointed others. When we praise God, we can remember that he never fails, and even if we have failed him, we can be forgiven. A good beginning for a praise session is to extoll our heavenly Father for his faithfulness. By celebrating his faithfulness and resting in it, we become inwardly secure.
Praise helps us gain perspective. Usually when we are thinking about our problems we are not really seeking to solve them, but are involved in self-centered pity. When we let the praise of God fill our minds, we think of his worthiness, not ours. Dwelling on the thought that we don’t deserve a particular evil that has befallen us, or that we deserve a particular good that has not come our way, only makes us more self-centered and unworthy. Contemplating God’s worthiness as we praise him humbles us and makes us see things in proper perspective and degree of importance.
Praise helps us appreciate God’s greatness. Many think of praise to God as some kind of obsequious flattery whereby God is so pleased that he will do as we ask and grant us our petitions. That would be no more than manipulation. God cannot be flattered into doing what we want. God is not mocked. If a person tries to sow seeds of vain flattery to release the power of praise, the heavens become as brass and God does not accept the words intended to stir him to action. He wants us to contemplate what is real about him and confess those verities in prayer as we consider them. Worship by praise should never be considered the prologue to pleadings. In the course of prayer anything that can be said without much thought has little value. Part of the purpose of praise is to enable us to discover what is praiseworthy in God.
Praise raises our awareness of God’s presence. Some people think the way to praise God is to mouth something over and over again until we have repeated it an acceptable number of times. They think as those in eastern religions do who rotate a prayer wheel. Yeshua said that we should not use vain repetitions, as the heathen do. “For they think they shall be heard for their much speaking.” But we are assured that our heavenly Father does hear, and that he knows our needs before we speak them. The prayer pattern given by our Savior is fairly simple, with comparatively few words. When it comes to praise we must be careful to strive for quality rather than quantity. Thoughtful praise is a celebration that raises the level of our awareness of God’s own being. No amount of verbiage can do that unless it has focus and progression. True praise comes from events, even if those events are only inward realizations and recollections. True praise brings our hearts (emotions) and our minds (intellect and understanding) to the place where we can view God from a more intimate vantage point.
When we devote ourselves to responding to the situations of life with some word of praise to God for everything that happens, we begin to realize his place, his power, his presence and his purpose, and we acquire a proportionate sense of values as to what is truly important.
SO PRAISE THE LORD ANYHOW, ANYPLACE, ANYWAY!