“I will praise you every day; yes, I will praise you forever.” Psalm 145:2 NLT
Several years ago, my word for the year was Praise. To be honest, I wasn’t thrilled about the word when the year started. Praise felt like a really big word for when really big things happened—which wasn’t every day. So, what was I supposed to do with the word the rest of the year?
What I learned first is that Praise isn’t supposed to be saved for only the really big events or even what is visible to others.
Praise is meant for every day—the little, the ordinary, and what others might not be able to see.
Praise is when we honor God by acknowledging Him in everything we do. It’s looking for Him and His work, no matter if it’s a good day or a rotten day. Praise is thanking God in all situations, even when we don’t feel thankful.
Praise when I don’t feel thankful? Yes, because sometimes we have to practice giving praise before it feels natural.
“For I cried out to him for help, praising him as I spoke.” Psalm 66:17 NLT
Our human nature doesn’t lead us to feel thankful when we’re walking in the valley, but that’s precisely when God can do His best work in us. The hard work of changing our hearts and bringing us closer to Him. And creating a desire in us to want to be closer to Him.
The next thing I learned about Praise is that it’s not just for after something happens.
Praise is also meant to be given before we see His work.
How do I know what to praise Him for if it hasn’t happened yet? Because God is always at work, even when we can’t see it or imagine what He might be working on.
“Let all that I am praise the Lord; may I never forget the good things he does for me.” Psalm 103:2 NLT
Praise Him for being who He is—our God and Savior who doesn’t change on a whim. He doesn’t change the rules. And His love for us doesn’t change because He’s having a bad day.
Praise Him because no matter what we’re going through, we can be sure He’s walking beside us. He leads the way before us and watches over us. Sometimes He stays quiet, but we can trust that He’s there.
In those times I desperately need to feel His presence, I ask Him to let me see Him. And then I look for Him even in the slightest way. It might be in in new flower buds, the lyrics of a song, an unexpected phone call or text from a friend, or in the way my day turns around through no power of my own.
“My heart is confident in you, O God; my heart is confident. No wonder I can sing your praises!” Psalm 57:7 NLT
That year, I learned to praise God for His presence, for His love and compassion, and because no matter what I regret doing today, tomorrow is a brand new start.
Praise Him because when we look for Him, we will see Him. And the more we see Him, the more we will look for Him.
By Laura Rath
Used by Permission