I wrote a whole new blog and thought it was going so well. I had prayed about it, wrote and prayed some more and then I accidentally deleted it. So here’s a repost of a previous blog from long ago. I will try to add some original content too. My husband says that I shouldn’t apologize when I mess up like that, but I hope by sharing even my mess-ups, you are encouraged. You see I am a mess more often than you know, yet I am also wonderful and marvelously created because God made me. Still I am a little frustrated with myself today and that is why, more than I ever, I need to raise my praise!
“Nursing infants gurgle choruses about you; toddlers shout the songs that drown out enemy talk and silence atheist babble.” Psalm 8:2 from The Message
I love this verse. I love how we don’t have to be eloquent or a master communicator in order to praise God. Even the gurgle and babble of infants praises the God who made them, so much so that the enemy is silenced. Now that is powerful! When I see an infant or toddler, it reminds me that God made us in a marvelous way and He is not done with or the world yet. It gives me hope.
Besides the praise of infants and toddlers, what exactly is praise?
I love words, word games, words expressed through song or in writing. So I decided to look it up just to see what the dictionary says and to learn more about the origin. This is what I found.
Praise is the act of expressing approval or admiration, the offering of grateful homage in words or song, such as worship. The origin of the word, praise can be traced back to French, Latin and English roots all denoting to value or prize, worth or reward.
That brings me to another questions, “How can we raise our praise to God?” It starts by prizing or valuing Him. When God means more to us than anything else, praise springs forth naturally.
When things are going well and we know that God’s hand is in it, praise comes from a grateful heart. But what about when things aren’t going so well? What about those times when we are having a not-so-good day? (Aka, my deleting my almost completed blog yesterday.) Maybe you are feeling out of sorts, sick or your kids are sick, then it’s not so easy. What about those times when someone is unkind to you or your child? Can you praise God then? Yes, we can! Why? Because God is still good and He is still crazy about you. He is so crazy about you that He sent His Son, Jesus just for you. Jesus died for our sins so that we can have an intimate relationship with God. But it doesn’t end there, Jesus also rose again! He is alive! Because He lives, we too have the hope of new life, eternal life!
So how can we raise our praise when things aren’t going well? We can raise our praise because we have hope. Hope that tomorrow will be a better day. Hope that no matter what we are facing, from skinned knees to divorce or job loss, we are not facing it alone Jesus is with us. We can take everything to Him in prayer knowing that He hears, He answers and He will walk with us through it.
I love doing worship with the preschoolers at church on Sunday mornings. Talk about raising praise to God, preschoolers do so with exuberance! They shout, sing, jump and get excited. Let’s take a cue from our little ones and get excited about God. Let’s raise our praise! When we begin to praise God, our perspective changes. I know when I praise God, I stop thinking about all the problems I am facing and I lift up my soul to God. It seems like nothing else matters when I am in His presence. You see, our enemy would like to remind us of our problems and get us so focused on the things around us that we begin to feel discouraged, heavy, weighed down by stuff. But praise drowns out enemy talk! Praise lifts our eyes upward to God who sees, knows and understands everything about us. Nothing that comes our way is unknown to God. Let’s look up and raise our praise!
PARENT OR GRANDPARENT PRAYER:
I do praise you today. I am so very, very thankful for Jesus. I am so thankful for the hope we have in Him. No matter what tomorrow may bring, Jesus is alive and He is with me. I have hope for eternity because God is with me. Lord when things are going well, I want to praise you. When my family is well and life is good, I want to praise you, but when it’s hard, I still want to praise you because you are worthy of my praise. You don’t change. You love me in the good and the bad times. You are still God in the midst of celebrations and the losses. You are there when our heart is breaking and when our heart is full of your goodness and love. You were there when the people were shouting, “Hosanna!” thinking that you had come to build a kingdom here on earth and you were there, although unseen, a few short days later when the disciples were grieving because you were laid in a tomb. Their hopes and dreams were shattered and most of them had deserted you, yet you were still there. You came to bring a hope much greater than the hope of the here and now, the hope of an earthly kingdom. Your plan was so much greater that that. Three days later, you rose again to birth new hope and new life into your followers and into the darkness of a world that needed your love and forgiveness. Your kingdom was never meant to be contained to this earth. It was much greater than that. You chose to die for us and rise again to be king of our hearts and king of eternity. Thank you! Lord, help me to teach the next generation, my kids, my grandkids and others to raise their praise to you. Amen
Isn’t it amazing that God created even infants with the ability to praise? I believe that as infants learn and grow and are excited about all the new things in the world around them, they are giving God praise. It’s also amazing that their praise silences the enemy. Why? I think it’s because they bring hope. Hope that God is not yet done with the world. Hope that He continues to give us life.
- Praise changes our perspective. It invites God’s presence into our lives and circumstances and causes us to look up.
- Praise is a part of each one of us. We were created to praise. It’s a form of celebration or denoting what and who is worthy. We praise our kids for a job well-done. We cheer and praise our favorite sports team when they have a win. We applaud others for their achievements. Why not offer thunderous praise to God?
- C.S. Lewis wrote, “praise is inner health made audible.” Praise is healthy. God doesn’t need our praise as much as we need to praise. Praising God changes us.
- Praise invites God into our lives. It acknowledges Him as Lord over anything we might be facing. It gives voice to our trust in HIm.
- When King Jehoshaphat appointed singers to go out in front of the army, the enemy was defeated. Judah didn’t even have to take out their swords. Their praise invited God into their situation and acknowledged Him as the One who is over all.
SHARE A STORY: Jesus Praise Parade – Matthew 21
Clip, clop, clip clop went the donkey, – (Pat knees with hands.)
Jesus rode to Jerusalem that day.
Eagerly the children watched, – (Hands by eyes looking..)
As Jesus passed their way.
They knew that Jesus loved them. – (Give self a hug.)
He was their special friend.
He said, “Let the children come to me.” – (Beckon come with hands.)
As He welcomed and blessed them.
A BIG crowd had gathered, – (Stand up.)
On both sides of the road.
They spread their coats and palm branches, – (Wave palm branches.)
In front of Jesus as He rode.
It was a special day,
Just like a big parade. – (March in place.)
The people shouted, “Hosanna!” – (Shout, “Hosanna!”)
What a happy sound they made!
Even the children shouted, – (Say Yeah, Jesus!)
“Hosanna!” to Jesus their friend. – (Shout, “Hosanna!”)
Joining the celebration,
They shouted their praise to Him. – (Say Yeah, Jesus!)
Jesus wants us to praise Him.
You can praise Him too.
You praise Him when you say, “Thank you, Jesus!”
And “Yeah, Jesus! I really love you.”
MEMORIZE: John 3:16 CEB – (Hold hands like holding a book.)
God so loved – (Reach up, then place hands on heart.)
The world – (Fan arms outward.)
That He gave – (Extend hands outwards as though giving a gift.)
His only Son. – (Pretend to rock a baby.)
Thank you that you love me and gave your Son Jesus for me. Thank you Jesus, for being my forever friend. I want to praise you because you are so good, you love me and you help me. I want to say, ‘Yeah, Jesus! Yeah, God!” I know you are alive and you will always love me. Amen
KNOW: Many people praised Jesus. I can praise Jesus because He’s a good friend.
TALK ABOUT: Ways to praise Jesus and what we can praise Jesus for.
ASK: Who loves you? Jesus loves me.
AND DO: I can help others and I can say, “Thank you, Jesus for being my friend.”
FUN IDEAS FOR THIS WEEK
*Turn on some praise music and dance around the room with your preschooler. It’s fun to praise God with exuberance!
* When something good happens, encourage your preschooler to share the news with a friend. EX: “I prayed, and God helped me find my favorite stuffed animal.”