When I was driving home from work yesterday, I was reminded of a message the Lord had given me a while ago during a prayer session. He had softly spoken to my heart and said “Increase your own praise and your own gratitude.” I listen to a lot of Christian music and sing along. It is a great way to exalt the Lord but there is something about singing your own praises. There is something special about letting our worship come from the heart and touch the heart of the Lord. When the words come from your soul and you let them flow, it creates a beautiful atmosphere where the Lord is lifted up and His presence is intense. There are times in worship and praise when the presence is tangible and the glory is right there. Speaking to the Lord directly, relying on our own appreciation of Him and making Him the focus of our worship is a powerful thing. As I was driving yesterday, I decided to increase my own praise and my own gratitude. I repeated “Jesus, thank You for Your divine love. Thank You for taking care of me. No one is like You. No one is like You.” I said it over and over again and I started smiling. It was as if I were extending my arms and reaching out to Him. I was stretching my arms of praise and touching His garment like the woman who wished she could only touch His clothes and she would get deliverance. Praise touches the Lord and brings deliverance. I have experienced the amazing freedom that comes from praise on many occasions. Yesterday it was all about reaching out and touching His goodness. I sang my own song and my car was filled with peace, joy and anticipation. When I am in praise mode, I am always expecting that something is going to happen. I expect His love to guide me. I expect His Spirit to take control of me. I expect Jesus. I simply expect Jesus and He never lets me down. Today I want to encourage you to stretch out your hands of praise and gratitude and touch the Lord.
The Lord is moved by our praises and our gratitude. He opens the floodgates when we open the doors of praise. I have kept my praises inside for too long. I just want to let them out and give them to the Lord. Sometimes when we are too focused on ourselves, we deprive the Lord of the praises He deserves. Every moment that we lament and we think about our situations, our problems, our issues without reaching out to the Lord is a wasted moment. I used to be the king of overthinking. I would let the thoughts roll around in my head until I couldn’t think anymore. Overthinking doesn’t take God into consideration. It often puts us at the center and it tries to show us that we will never make it because we are not strong enough, not powerful enough or we don’t have what it takes to get through our circumstances. I gave up the crown and turned to the King of kings. Jesus is in control and acknowledging His supremacy in my life has had a major positive impact on me. He is worthy of my praise and my gratitude so at random times I reach out to Him with my hands of worship and honor Him. I talk about His goodness and I let myself hear about His love and His kindness for me and for the entire humanity. Jesus is unparalleled. There will never be anyone like Him and that alone is praiseworthy. When you get into your car, when you walk around, when you are at home, reach out to the Lord. Speak about Him. Talk to Him. Lift Him up. Put Him on the pedestal where He belongs. It will warm your heart, influence your mind and give you strength.
Praise and gratitude are the dynamic duo that we all need on a regular basis. We make friends with too many negative agents that distance us from God. Praise and gratitude are two great friends to have and if we let them in every day, they will change us on the inside out every day. We underestimate the power of praise. The enemy hates our praises and he will do whatever he can to interrupt our praise time and to distract us from being grateful to the Lord. The enemy knows the power that praise and gratitude brings unto the scene and he is afraid of the damage us praising believers can inflict to his territory. Praise and gratitude take back what the enemy has stolen and they get us closer to God. They are a great way of reaching out and experiencing God. Be that grateful person you were meant to be. Sing your own praises. Sing along songs but make up your own praises as well. Speak gratitude over your life and be the voice of thanksgiving that you truly are. Use your own words. You don’t need to sound fancy. Speak from the heart. The Lord always hears you. Reach out to Him every day. Reach out to Him with arms of praise wide open. Don’t wait!
Suggested reading: Psalm 22:3; 2 Samuel 22:50; Hebrews 13:15