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The Practice of Praise


Why, my soul, are you downcast? Why so disturbed within me? Put your hope in God, for I will yet praise Him, my Savior and my God.

Psalm 42:5, 42:11, and 43:5 

I will praise God’s name in song and glorify Him with thanksgiving.

Psalm 69:30

Women of Faith conferences. I have attended many through the years. Unfortunately, I do not have the best memory so I remember very little from them. There is, thankfully, one thing I still do remember. 

And it has been life-changing. 

It was from a dear woman named Thelma Wells. She was telling a story about how her kids, once they were out on their own, would sometimes call her in a panic. “Mom! You cannot believe this!!!...” 

One day her daughter called in just such a manner. 

Thelma said, “I let her go on for several minutes ranting about the latest distress. Finally, when she took a breath to come up for air, I calmly said, ‘Honey, I love you. I want you to hang up the phone and praise God for at least 15 minutes, and then call me back.’” 

Her daughter called back later completely at peace. 

She started to say this whenever she got such a call. The calls became less frequent. And when they did call back, they had much more peace and sometimes even a complete 100-degree turnaround! 

When we praise God, we may think we are doing it for His benefit. And He more than deserves it (Psalm 47:7). And He enjoys the praise of His people! 

But interestingly, we benefit as well! 

At moments when we feel overwhelmed with the burdens of this life—when we watch loved ones go through intense struggles and trouble, when we watch those we love make poor choices, when we feel defeated by our own struggles or sickness, when we watch Hollywood continue to increase their promotion of sin and darkness, when we watch the world war for reasons of self-interest….praise Him! 

Praising Him reminds us... 

It reminds us He loves us (Romans 8:39). It reminds us of His power (Exodus 9:16). It reminds us He loves everyone (Matthew 18:14). It reminds us He is trustworthy (Psalm 145:13). It reminds us that He, and thus goodness, wins in the end (Revelation). 

Praise brings the peace that He promises. “Peace I leave with you; my peace I give you. I do not give to you as the world gives. Do not let your hearts be troubled and do not be afraid.” John 14:27. 

Understand, too, that this is not about mourning. God says, “Blessed are those who mourn, for they will be comforted” (Matthew 5:4). We don’t have to act happy over a devastating loss. 

But when you are at a place where fear and worry have you in a stronghold, start praising Him, even if you don’t feel like it. Praise Him until you are shocked at the peace that floods your soul! Your praise will start to come from a genuinely thankful, peace- and joy-filled heart! 

Now, I just need to remember to do this when I start stewing! Instead of letting my fears and worry simmer and brew until they reach the boiling point of off-the-chart anxiety...I need to remember the practice of praise! 

I want praise to be my first resort and not my last. 

I wish the same for you.

(ps if you have a voice like mine that is much less than angelic, [and whose baby covered his ears when I sang to him—true story], I have found that cranking up the volume on my Worship playlist so I can’t hear myself sing works great!) 

Praise Him, Praise Him, all ye little children. God is good. God is good. Praise Him, Praise Him, all ye little children. God is good. God is good.  -Hymn


This Old House


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    Sally Cranham is a singer and writer from the UK. She uses biblical narrative and her own experience to write deeply into the heart of the human condition. She currently works as a volunteer for SourceMN as their Arts Outreach Coordinator and has lived as a Residential Volunteer at Source’s anti-trafficking transitional annex alongside women who have come out of the life of prostitution.
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