Praise the Lord!

In my study of the psalms this summer, I have come to recognize the overall theme of this collection of divine poetry.  In the broadest sense, the book of Psalms calls the reader to praise.  Of all of the chapters in this book, psalms 146-150 exemplify this the most. 

As I poured over the notes in my study Bible, I came upon four reasons for giving praise to the Lord.  I would like to share with you how each of these elements has come about in my life as I have sought to praise the Lord despite my circumstances. 


  1. Praise takes our mind off our problems and shortcomings and helps us focus on God.

Two years ago, I was quite ill, and my strong reaction to allergens took a toll on my voice and breathing.  I was stressed and worried about my health, and for the first time in my life, I began to doubt how God could possibly use my music as a career and ministry focus.  I prayed and cried for hours every day it seemed, but on Sunday mornings, I came into church seeking to find a new perspective.  I remember one Sunday morning in particular.  I was getting ready to lead with Crossroads, and to my frustration and despair, my voice would not cooperate.  I sat down on the front pew, hung my head, and just cried.  I didn’t care who could see my meltdown; I was simply done trying to put forward the effort.  Two of the band members came and sat next to me and prayed that God would give me the strength to get through our 20-minute set of music and that He might fill my heart with praise.  And when I stood at the piano and led in “Revelation Song,” I could feel His presence like never before.  My voice held out, and I could hear the congregation lending their voices to mine as well.  I was able to let go and simply praise, and for the moment, I forgot about the tightness in my chest and my weakened breathing.  I was giving back to Him.


  1. Praise leads us from individual meditation to corporate worship.

It was just before Christmas last year when OneVoice was in its early existence.  One of our members, Patty, came to church that Sunday practically bursting with excitement.  She told me she had been praying and reading through Scripture when she felt led to write down what she could only assume to be a message from God.  She knew we would be leading in the song “Glorious Day” by Casting Crowns, and it was obvious that the words she had hurriedly scribbled down connected directly with this song in our set.  I encouraged her to share what she had written as I played through the introduction to “Glorious Day,” and almost instantly, I could feel that God was up to something special.  I had already felt that leading “Glorious Day” was a perfect fit for the service, and Patty’s written words added so much.  The song is typically thought of as being centered around the season of Lent and Christ’s crucifixion and resurrection.  But that day, as the body of Christ, we honored a tiny baby who came into this world more than 2,000 years ago, knowing that one day He would come back for us some day soon… on that glorious day!


  1. Praise causes us to consider and appreciate God’s character.

There are two praise and worship songs that help me realize God’s character and the sacrifice of His son.  The first is “Your Great Name,” most popularly performed by Natalie Grant.  The song focuses on the power of His name— how lost are saved and are freed from condemnation, His power over the enemy, and how He brings healing to the weak and hurting.  The song reminds me that His name is power, and I need only to speak His name to draw near to Him.


The second song that brings to mind God’s character is “Overwhelmed” by Jennie Lee Riddle.  When I first heard the song, I was overwhelmed with a great deal of stress and worry, and when I saw the title pop up in my iTunes window, I had to smile.  “Wow, this is a song about me,” I thought to myself.  But then my perspective shifted as I quickly realized that the song was definitely about Him.  The lyrics speak of His tenderness and ability to restore one’s soul, His holiness, the power of His Word, His sovereign majesty, and His authority.  The chorus makes it known that the worshipper is overwhelmed by the Lord, and I love the illustration that paints— to be so lost in worship that one is overwhelmed by His greatness.


  1. Praise lifts our perspective from the earthly to the heavenly.

I think of another Jennie Lee Riddle song here as I contemplate the idea of the heavenly.  The lyrics of “Revelation Song” speak of His incredible power and might.  Text from the book of Revelation is quoted throughout the song, and it reminds me that we need to be ready to meet Him when He returns or calls us home.  I picture myself seeing Jesus for the first time as I enter eternity.  I can’t wait for that day because two things will take place at that time: (1) I will be able to see clearly for the first time and (2) I will be able to sing and lift up praises to Him for eternity.  “With all creation I sing praise to the King of Kings; You are my everything and I will adore You.”    

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