Summary: Praise is a vital part of prayer that moves us toward our answer. Yet we often forget to intersperse our prayers with praise and thanksgiving.
Moving from Prayer to Praise
Prayer series #4
INTRODUCTION: Most of the psalms are prayers and most of the prayers include praise. Throughout the Psalms you will notice the relationship between prayer and praise from David whether he was in a mountaintop experience or whether he was depressed and in a crisis situation. In Psalm 63 he happened to be in the barren Desert of Judah. He had problems and he was lonely. He probably felt he was hanging on by his fingernails. He was not standing in a beautiful sanctuary with worshipful praise and prayer time. It was the hard realities of “Monday Morning.” He had desperate things to pray about as he was surrounded by his enemies, but he did more than pray. Throughout these experiences he moved from prayer to praise and thanksgiving. I want to focus on some reasons why it is important to move from prayer to praise for us today. You may have your own ideas about what praise is. As we approach a new week, I believe that we need prayer and praise in our lives every bit as much as David or even more so. But in a way, I think that prayer accompanied by praise is very foreign to most Christians as far as our daily lives go. We compartmentalize Sunday morning “worship service” and Monday morning “work” or other activities of the week. Some people think that praise happens exclusively at church and some people think that it is when you stand for 30 minutes and say, “Thank you Jesus” or “Praise the Lord” over and over repetitiously. Praising the Lord is far more than what we do inside the four walls of the sanctuary as shown by David in the Psalms. He remembered when he was praising the Lord in the sanctuary, but it was a part of his daily life in a variety of places and situations.
What is praise? Praise someone said “is simply the response of faith to God’s perfection and anticipates His deliverance.” Moving from prayer to praise shows that we are no longer focused on the “problem” but focused on the answer or solution to the problem. As we pour out the problem to the Lord as David did in this Psalm, there should be a time when we have prayed about the problem enough. Old timers used to call it “Praying Through.” Have you discussed your problem sufficiently with the Lord that you can move on to the next stage--that of thanking and praising Him for His intervention and then moving on to make preparation for the answer?
ILLUSTRATION: Sometimes when I am discussing something with Walter I will talk and talk and talk. Hash and rehash it over and over again. Then I bring it up again and rehash it some more. Walter will say, “I thought that was settled,” and I say, “No, I’m still rehashing it!”
When we begin to praise the Lord and thank Him for the answer, it is a good indication that we have quit “rehashing” and that it is “settled.” There comes a time when we need to move from prayer to praise. Today I want to give you three practical reasons why I feel that scripture urges us to do this.
1. The Lord Tells Us To: Scripture teaches us in many places to praise the Lord for this is the WILL OF GOD. I Thess. 5:17, 18 says, “Pray without ceasing, in everything GIVE THANKS for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus concerning you.” There is a close link between prayer and praise here. It is an inseparable part of prayer. You can think of a bird trying to fly with two wings, but if one wing is broken, it can’t fly. So it is with prayer without moving to praise. Praise functions with prayer and puts us into His will. Remember when we talked about the Lord’s prayer--thy will be done on earth as it is in heaven. This is one way that we can come into His will for our individual lives.
Story: Alexander Whyte, the Scottish preacher, always began his prayers with an expression of gratitude. One cold, miserable day his people wondered what he would say. He prayed, “We thank Thee, O Lord, that it is not always like this.”
You may say, “What if I don’t feel like praising the Lord when I pray?” “My problems are weighing me down. I’m just beside myself. All I can do is pray and wring my hands.” Scripture has an answer for us when we don’t feel like praising the Lord.
Hebrews 13:15 says, “let us offer the sacrifice of praise to God continually, that is, the fruit of our lips giving thanks to His Name.” This means throughout our week--praise the Lord in little bits and pieces as we go from task to task. We can’t stand in church all week long praising the Lord. No, it is a part of our daily life. The Message Bible says, “The Lord takes pleasure in acts of worship--a different kind of sacrifice--that takes place in the kitchen and workplace and on the streets.”