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The Value of an Individual’s Praise

Psalm 30 is one of crying out to God for help. David, who wrote this psalm, had issues of dealing with enemies (v1), with sickness (v2), with depression (v7) or anxiety, and even believing he was near death (v3). In the middle of the psalm, David offers God an interesting reason for God to save him from his troubles (v8-10).

Basically, David asks God to save him because if He doesn’t, David will not be able to praise God any more. God is deserving of our praise, yes, but He also appreciates it. Does God need our praise? No. Jesus once said that if the nearby crowds were to stop praising Him, even the rocks would cry out in praise (Luke 19:37-40). God’s word tells us that creation itself declares the glory of God; that is, it praises Him (Psalm 19:1-4). So, is this passage from Psalm 30 contradictory? No, I think it shows that even one person’s heartfelt praise of God is precious to Him. David was saying that if he died and returned to dust, he couldn’t praise God. He was essentially telling God that he was valuable to God alive and well because he would praise God. Then David made good on his promise (v4, 11-12).

Are we as dedicated to praising God? Would it make a difference to God, and the worship and praise He deserves, whether we were alive or not? Let’s cultivate a life habit of regularly praising and worshiping God, so that in times of our distress we may, like David, cry out for mercy and appeal to God based on the honor and glory we have shown Him through a life of praise.


National Day of Prayer

One of the most important aspects of worship – whether corporate (in a group) or individual – is prayer. Today marks the 70th National Day of Prayer; in 1952 the first Thursday of May was designated to nationally observe a day of prayer. So for today, I thought I’d share a few resources to encourage you to join me in praying for our nation.

The Presidential Prayer Team is a non-profit organization “dedicated to a focused mission of encouraging, inspiring and praying for our president and national and military leaders.” Go to their site where you will find a downloadable prayer guide, as well as links to an Interactive Guided Prayer, a National Prayer Room, a National Prayer Video, and more.

In the book of Daniel, Daniel offers a prayer of confession and seeking God’s mercy on behalf of the nation of Israel. I think this prayer is very appropriate for our nation today. You can read it and pray this prayer here.

From the website, here is a wonderful post that includes prayers of various American presidents throughout our history, many of which are just as pertinent today as when they were offered back then.

Almighty God, who hast given us this good land for our heritage: We humbly beseech thee that we may always prove ourselves a people mindful of thy favor and glad to do thy will. Bless our land with honorable industry, sound learning, and pure manners. Save us from violence, discord, and confusion; from pride and arrogance, and from every evil way. Defend our liberties, and fashion into one united people the multitudes brought hither out of many kindreds and tongues. Endue with the spirit of wisdom those to whom in thy Name we entrust the authority of government, that there may be justice and peace at home, and that, through obedience to thy law, we may show forth thy praise among the nations of the earth. In the time of prosperity, fill our hearts with thankfulness, and in the day of trouble, suffer not our trust in thee to fail; all which we ask through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.

A prayer for our country, from the Book of Common Prayer

The James Dobson Family Institute will be live-streaming The National Day of Prayer National Broadcast here. Starting at 8pm EST, you can follow this broadcast and come together with Christians across the country in praying for our nation.

Almighty Father, whose blessed Son before his passion prayed
for his disciples that they might be one, as you and he are one:
Grant that your Church, being bound together in love and
obedience to you, may be united in one body by the one Spirit,
that the world may believe in him whom you have sent, your
Son Jesus Christ our Lord; who lives and reigns with you, in
the unity of the Holy Spirit, one God, now and for ever. Amen.

A prayer for the unity of the church, from the Book of Common Prayer

If you know of any other links, prayers, or resources and would be willing to share, leave a reply in the comment box below. Even after the National Day of Prayer, God’s people ought to be in regular prayer for our nation.

Encouragement from the Psalms

The psalms have been used throughout history to worship God, as prayers or songs. I’ve compiled a list of ones to encourage you in troubling times.

I don’t know about you, but lately I’ve been discouraged by a lot of things going on in our country. There is so much discord and disagreement about what our society’s problems are, and what to do to fix them. I believe that if we looked to the God of the Bible for guidance and direction, many of these problems would be fixed. Unfortunately, our culture just seems to be moving further from God. What started as a shift from moral absolutes to relative truth – what’s true for you is fine, but what’s true for me can be different and just as valid – is now becoming increasingly antagonistic toward the truths of God’s Word.

The psalms have been used throughout history to worship God, as prayers or songs. For months now, I have noticed how several psalms seem to speak to my heart, giving me the words to pray during these trying times. Since the beginning of the year, I have been reading through the Bible using The Daily Bible, which lays out the entire Word of God in 365 daily readings, presented chronologically. When it comes to the psalms, they are presented within the historical context whenever the context is indicated. The rest are grouped together in broad categories. I am now reading through a group labeled “Psalms for the Troubled Soul.” Starting with these, I’ve compiled a list of the psalms that I believe make a great set of prayers that I can reference whenever I’m in need of encouragement in the midst of this troubling world. I pray that they can be a blessing to you in the same way. (a brief description of each psalm is taken, for the most part, from The Daily Bible)

  • Psalm 3 – prayer of desperation
  • Psalm 5 – prayer for protection of the righteous
  • Psalm 6 – prayer for deliverance from enemies
  • Psalm 7 – prayer for refuge from enemies
  • Psalm 10 – prayer for relief from oppression by the wicked
  • Psalm 11 – security of righteous from threats of the wicked
  • Psalm 13 – prayer for salvation from enemies
  • Psalm 17 – prayer for rescue from enemies
  • Psalm 18 – song of deliverance
  • Psalm 23 – The Lord as a protective Shepherd
  • Psalm 26 – prayer for redemption of the righteous
  • Psalm 28 – prayer for salvation of righteous and punishment of wicked
  • Psalm 31 – prayer for relief from pursuers and slanderers
  • Psalm 35 – prayer for vindication in the eyes of gloating enemies
  • Psalm 37 – the righteous have no reason to envy the wicked
  • Psalm 41 – prayer for weak and those betrayed by friends
  • Psalm 43 – prayer for insight in the face of opposition
  • Psalm 44 – confession of national sin and prayer for restoration
  • Psalm 46 – refuge and strength in the God who rules over nations
  • Psalm 54 – prayer for deliverance from attackers and slanderers
  • Psalm 55 – the anguish of having disloyal companions
  • Psalm 56 – prayer for confidence
  • Psalm 59 – prayer for God’s strength
  • Psalm 60 – prayer for restoration
  • Psalm 61 – prayer for God’s defense and shelter
  • Psalm 62 – God is our only strength, whose love excels all others’
  • Psalm 64 – plea against conspirators who scheme evil deeds
  • Psalm 69 – prayer for end of scorn
  • Psalm 70 – urgency of the need for God’s deliverance
  • Psalm 71 – prayer for God’s presence throughout life
  • Psalm 73 – questioning the prosperity of the wicked
  • Psalm 74 – prayer for God to restore His people
  • Psalm 77 – the comfort of God’s record of deliverance
  • Psalm 79 – when will God hear our cry and repay enemies?
  • Psalm 83 – prayer for justice for oppressing nations
  • Psalm 86 – prayer for mercy in the face of enemies
  • Psalm 91 – the personal protection of one who trusts in God
  • Psalm 102 – a nation’s prayer, like that of an afflicted person
  • Psalm 108 – prayer for victory over enemies
  • Psalm 109 – prayer that false accusers are repaid
  • Psalm 120 – prayer for deliverance from liars who press war
  • Psalm 121 – the Lord watches over His people
  • Psalm 123 – prayer for mercy
  • Psalm 140 – prayer for protection from violent people
  • Psalm 142 – prayer for refuge from enemies
  • Psalm 143 – prayer for preservation of life and protection against trouble
  • Psalm 144 – prayer for God’s power upon enemies

Suffering? Disheartened? Worship!

This weekend I led worship for one of my churches, and their current sermon series is from the book of Job. About a week ago, God guided me to choose music that, turns out, matched perfectly with a portion of Job that was the focus for the day. After everything that has been happening in our country this week, I found that once again, God knew what I (and hopefully others who were there or following online) needed to hear. So I thought it may be helpful to you, too, if you are reading this.

For those who may not be familiar with the book of Job, it begins with a series of catastrophes happening around Job, because God allowed Satan to test Job’s faith. Through a series of attacks by enemies and natural disasters, Job lost all his possessions, and all 10 of his children were killed. What was his immediate response?

Then Job arose and tore his robe and shaved his head and fell on the ground and worshiped. 

Job 1:20

The tearing of his robe and shaving of his head could be interpreted as signs of grief, but in those days they were typical signs of repentance. But the next thing he did was not to complain to God, or ask God why He would let these things happen; instead, he worshipped God!

So if you’re suffering, or just disheartened, by circumstances in your life or in the world around you, I would encourage you to worship God. It’s a great way to remember that God is bigger than any circumstance, and nothing happens that He is not aware of. We may not understand why He lets certain things happen, but we ought to trust Him nonetheless. That’s really the message of the rest of the book of Job, by the way.

I’ll leave you with some lyrics from a couple of the songs we sang in worship this morning. If you’re looking for a starting place to worship God, I’d recommend listening to them, and maybe even singing along!

Blessed by Your Name when the sun’s shining down on me; when the world’s ‘all as it should be’, blessed be Your Name.

Blessed be Your Name on the road marked with suffering; when there’s pain in the offering, blessed be Your Name.

Every blessing You pour out I’ll turn back to praise. When the darkness closes in, Lord, still I will say blessed be the Name of the Lord.

Blessed Be Your Name, by Matt Redman

I count on one thing: the same God that never fails will not fail me now, You won’t fail me now.

In the waiting, the same God who’s never late is working all things out, You’re working all things out.

Yes I will lift You high in the lowest valley. Yes I will bless Your name

Yes I will sing for joy when my heart is heavy.

I choose to praise – to glorify, glorify the Name of all Names that nothing can stand against.

Yes I Will, by Vertical Worship

Praise and Thanksgiving

The Bible makes it clear that Thanksgiving and praise/worship go hand in hand. Just a few examples: “Enter His gates with thanksgiving and His courts with praise; give thanks to Him and praise His Name.” (Psalm 100:4) “Let them sacrifice thank offerings and tell of His works with songs of joy.” (Psalm 107:22) And one more:

Oh give thanks to the Lord, call upon His name; make known His deeds among the peoples.  Sing to Him, sing praises to Him; Speak of all His wonders. Glory in His holy name; Let the heart of those who seek the Lord be glad.

Psalm 105:1-3 (NASB)

In today’s Covid-19 world, it can be hard to be thankful. Perhaps you’re not able to visit with family or friends in order to stay safe. Perhaps you’ve suffered economically, physically, or emotionally this year due to all the changes brought on by the pandemic. Perhaps you’ve even had a loved one die this year, from Covid-19 or something else. Does God still expect us to be thankful? Yes: “Be joyful always; pray continually; give thanks in all circumstances, for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus.” (1 Thessalonians 5:16-18)

But how can we be thankful and praise God when things are not going well? The passage from 1 Thessalonians gives us a few suggestions. First of all, notice that it says to give thanks in all circumstances, not for all circumstances. Whatever the circumstance you’re in, look for something within that circumstance that you can be thankful for. And no matter how difficult the circumstance, God promises to be with those who know and trust in Him. (Matthew 28:20) Remember the story of Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego? God allowed them to be thrown into a fiery furnace, but he joined them in it. Secondly, note that in the 1 Thessalonians passage, between the exhortations to be joyful always and give thanks in all circumstances, are two simple words that help us do both: pray continually. When we pray, we can pour our heart out to God, and if we will listen, He will show us what we can be thankful for, no matter the situation.

Psalm 105 is a great model that shows us not only a way we can express thankfulness, but by doing so, it helps us to be thankful in all circumstances. In verse 1, 2 and 5 of that psalm, we are encouraged to remember what God has done for us in the past and tell others about it. This reminds us of the goodness of God, leading us to worship Him. What is just as important, by telling others what God has done, we glorify God, point others toward saving faith in Jesus Christ, and encourage those who already believe. The psalmist then practices what he ‘preaches,’ by using the rest of the psalm (verses 6-45) to give a detailed account of many of the things God did for His chosen people.

This Thanksgiving, I thank and praise God for all the things He has done for me this year. To name a few: He has allowed the business I work in to not only survive, but thrive. He has kept me and my family healthy, and <relatively> free from cabin fever during months of mostly isolation. God helped me to finish a basement build-out, creating a rec room and office, by placing different people and resources in my path when I needed them. Even when we had some minor flooding in our basement, right after I had finished the framing, it “just so happened” that our plumber was already in our neighborhood and so was able to come rather quickly to replace our sump pump before any significant damage was done.

So this Thanksgiving, I recommend that we all take some time to be thankful, to spend time in prayer, and to remember what He has done for you this year – and I especially encourage you to “make His deeds known among the peoples.”

Have a blessed Thanksgiving!

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