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7th February: Praise that is Costly

I will bless the Lord at all times; his praise shall continually be in my mouth. Psalm 34:1

After a hard day it is very easy for us to forget the many Biblical injunctions to praise God. Hebrews 13:15 talks about a `sacrifice of praise', and there is a sense in which through the tensions and fatigue of the day, any effort to praise God is a sacrifice. Though we may not share all the sufferings of Job, we often find praise an effort.

A few Sundays ago, I went to church in a bad mood, tired because the children had been awkward. I was having problems with a housing transaction, and a paper I had been trying to write that week had proved very difficult. I found I couldn't join in the signing before the service, nor pray, until the minister, as if aware of my mental turmoil, challenged me to `render a sacrifice of praise'. I accepted the challenge, and following prayer I found a real release in praise. The tensions went, and that night I slept better than I had for a week.

We don't have to sing at the top of our voices to praise God. Try reading Psalms 104, 107 or 145 to lift your thoughts from your immediate concerns. The Westminster Confession reminds us that the chief end of man is to glorify God, and although our lives can be a silent witness, he delights in our audible praise.

Practise praising God when everything goes wrong! `I will not offer burnt offerings to the Lord my God which cost me nothing' (2 Sam 24:24).

I'm happy when everything happens to please,
But happiness comes and goes;
While the heart that is stayed on Jesus the Saviour
Ever with joy o'erflows.
Happiness happens, but joy abides
In the heart that is stayed on Jesus.
H H Lemmel*

Heavenly Father, forgive us for our lack of desire to praise
you as we ought. Subdue our anxieties and help us to
remember your daily mercies to us; turn our minds to you
and let our ordered lives confess the beauty of your peace.

Further reading: Ps 107 & 145. Phil 4:4-6.


* Reproduced by permission National Christian Education Council.