I was blessed to be able to share some thoughts on prayer at a girls youth retreat this past week-end. Over the past decades God has taught me SO MUCH about praise and joy. One of the things that God struck me with about 30 years ago was this verse:
Yet You are holy, O You who are enthroned upon the praises of Israel. Ps 22:3
This word enthroned means to dwell in, to inhabit, to remain, sit, abide. Think about it…God actually LIVES in the praises of His people! But now comes the hard part:
Am I giving Him space to dwell?
Am I living my life filled with His praise and looking for His presence to be real and alive in the midst of those praises? Or do I live a life of mediocrity, in somber discouragement, never seeing beyond the dreary confines of my earthly home? Are my prayers stuck in a “laundry list” mode or limited to giving thanks over my food? Do I even know God enough to be able to actually GIVE Him praise?
There is power for us when we praise Him. Our spirits are lifted up into the heavenly places as we look more closely at the face of God. Like Moses, when we dwell with God, when we abide with Him, when we sing His praises, our lives are changed. Moses’ face shown with the glory of God so that he covered his face to hide the fact that the glory faded the longer he was away from God.
Are WE shining expressions of the glory of God to those around us because our hearts and spirits and voices are filled with praise?
When I’m really struggling, I find that spending time in praise to God takes me outside of my own little world. I’m not saying that our struggles are little or insignificant. But they are temporal. And there are times when we just need to get our minds and hearts and spirits into the Spiritual realm and let God inhabit our praises!
We spend our lives living inside of our own heads, our own bodies, our own experiences. Of course we do! However, all of that is part of the flesh, it is the part that dwells on this earth, for this limited space in time.
My beloved friends, we are MORE than this fleshly body we inhabit! We are spiritual beings meant to dwell in the spiritual realm as much as in the physical one. Can you hear the power in that truth? And when we step into praise, when we step into the presence of God through praise, we are breaking that barrier between flesh and spirit. We are stepping into the Holy of Holies.
And we are watching God live right there on our praise!
The more we realize the truth of who we are and let the Spirit flow through us in praise, the easier it is for us to remember the fullness of our new nature and our new creation.
Are we living a life that is teaching our children how to praise God?
Maybe it’s time that we changed our prayer life. Maybe we need to come into the presence of our God instead of keeping Him at arm’s length where we feel safe and in control. Maybe we need to give God some praise for His dwelling.
I’m sure that you’ve heard this before in your life. But today is a good day to listen and let His Spirit wash over you with a healing balm and fill you to overflowing.
(Powerful Praise, excerpted from a message entitled “Amen” by Dr. S.M. Lockridge 4/11/82 – used by permission with creative common license.)