Read: Acts 16:25-26 KJV |
A missionary in China was living a defeated life. Everything about him seemed to be touched with sadness. Although he prayed many months for victory over depression and discouragement, no answer came. His life remained dank and distant. He determined to leave his post and go to an interior post where he could be quiet and spend long hours in prayer until he was assured of victory. Upon reaching the interior post, he was entertained in the home of a fellow-missionary.
On the wall of his bedroom hung this motto above his bed: Try Thanksgiving!
The two words gripped his heart, and he thought within himself, “Have I been praying all these months, and not been praising?” He stopped and began to praise God. The praise and prayer totally rejuvenated him. He realized that instead of hiding away to agonize in prayer, he should return to his waiting native converts to tell them that praise transcends the circumstances. The combination of prayer and praise allowed the missionary to transcend his feelings and ascend to the mountaintops to see things that God was putting in place.
While no one can truly say the degree that praise affects our prayers, it is undeniable that God commands us to do both. We are to “Pray continually” (I Thessalonians 5:17) and “Rejoice in the Lord always” (Philippians 4:4). To honor God’s commands, both need to be a part of our everyday routine.
Believing prayer does indeed change things. However, the simple phrase that “prayer changes things” is impotent in conveying what happens when prayer and praise occur in the notable instances listed below. In fact, when prayer and praise intersect it transcends our circumstances – it does not just change them.
ook at Jonah praying and praising God from the belly of a whale. As he sang and praised, the great whale began to ascend toward the surface of the water, and move out toward the shore. God delivered Jonah out of that circumstance and he soon found himself upon dry land. (Jonah 2:8-9)
ook at Jehoshaphat. He appointed singers who should go forth before the army singing a praise song as they marched into battle against a numerically superior army, “Give thanks to the LORD, for his love endures forever.” They decided to rely on the Lord’s statement “For the battle is not yours, but God’s”. They took God at His word and God transcended their circumstances to bring them victory without them having to take their swords from their sheaths. The victory was so complete it took them three days to collect the plunder from the battle the Lord fought on their behalf.[ Marius & Madeleine Wolfaardt, “Praise Changes things”] (2 Chronicles 20:20-22)
ook at Paul and Silas. They sat in prison feeling the pain in their body from the beating delivered by the very people they were trying to serve. Blooded but not broken, they determined they would pray and praise God anyhow. Their faithful duet got Heaven’s attention and God brought an earthquake to free them. God blessed them to transcend their circumstances. (Acts 16:25)
Charles Spurgeon says that PRAYER is now a privilege, and PRAISE is a holiday banquet. Personally, I will continue my believing prayers, as is my privilege but I will now praise Him profusely for the bountiful banquet He provides me day by day.
A. When do I praise God?
B. Do I praise Him only in the good times or can I acknowledge His e
A. How can I develop more persistence and passion with my praise?
A. How is my purposeful praise affecting those around me?
B. Challenge your prayer partner to pick a day of the week as your “Hallelujah Day”. A day set aside to praise Him throughout the day.