"Praise the Lord. Praise God in his sanctuary; praise him in his mighty heavens. Praise him for his acts of power; praise him for his surpassing greatness. Praise him with the sounding of the trumpet,
praise him with the harp and lyre, praise him with timbrel and dancing, praise him with the strings and pipe, praise him with the clash of cymbals, praise him with resounding cymbals.
Let everything that has breath praise the Lord. Praise the Lord."
The Bible (particularly the Psalms) is chock full of bits like the above passage, telling us to praise the Lord. Yay! I love praising God! Once we know why we should worship God, it becomes a joy to bless Him and extol His marvellous name.
But what about when we don't want to? What about when is life is difficult, when there is pain or suffering or we're going through difficult times? Should we stop praising God?
The Bible tells us of this awesome guy named Paul and his friend who was called Silas. Here is what happened when they praised God when I'm sure they certainly didn't feel like it.
Acts 16:23-26"After they had been severely flogged, they were thrown into prison, and the jailer was commanded to guard them carefully. When he received these orders, he put them in the inner cell and fastened their feet in the stocks.
About midnight Paul and Silas were praying and singing hymns to God, and the other prisoners were listening to them. Suddenly there was such a violent earthquake that the foundations of the prison were shaken. At once all the prison doors flew open, and everyone’s chains came loose."
Paul and Silas had just been 'severely flogged'. I am sure they felt like sitting in their corner of the jail and moaning to each other about how bad their situation was and how much their wounds hurt. Maybe they felt like God had abandoned them. Maybe the other prisoners told them how long they had been in jail for and in so doing discouraged Paul and Silas. I don't know. But what I do know is that they put aside how they felt and praised the Lord anyway.
It's hard to praise the Lord when you don't feel like it! But try it. If Paul and Silas had not praised the Lord but sat moaning I wonder if the earthquake would still have happened. There is something in praise that is powerful. It binds Satan and gives the authority the Jesus.
Psalm 115:1"Not to us, Lord, not to us but to your name be the glory, because of your love and faithfulness."
Luke 19:37-40"When he came near the place where the road goes down the Mount of Olives, the whole crowd of disciples began joyfully to praise God in loud voices for all the miracles they had seen:
“Blessed is the king who comes in the name of the Lord!”
“Peace in heaven and glory in the highest!”
Some of the Pharisees in the crowd said to Jesus, “Teacher, rebuke your disciples!”
“I tell you,” he replied, “if they keep quiet, the stones will cry out.” "
Do you praise the Lord anyway? Do you praise Him not just when things are going well? Do you praise Him when the hard times come? Do you keep trusting Him and worshipping Him even when it's hard?
Blessings to you all!
(All Scripture passages in this post are from the NIV translation.)