Summary: Jesus himself thought praise was so important that he began and ended the model prayer with it. “Our Father, which art in heaven, hallowed be thy name... for thine is the kingdom, and the power, and the glory forever.” Surely our prayers are incomplete wi
Prayer Keys - Praise
“I will extol the Lord at all times; his praise will always be on my lips.” Psalms 34:1
Vultures and hummingbirds are both birds, but the similarity doesn’t go much beyond that.
If you watch an old western, when people on the trail see vultures circling in the sky, they know something or someone is dead. Vultures live on death and decay. All they care about is finding the next dead thing to consume. They thrive on what used to be alive.
Hummingbirds are completely different. They seek the bright blooms and sweet nectar of living plants. They thrive on what is fresh and alive.
Vultures thrive on what used to be. Hummingbirds thrive on what is.
Christians can have vulture or hummingbird attitudes. Christians can prefer the dead past to the live present. We can learn from the past, but we can’t live there.
In one of my classes at HBU, a professor told about a time when he was the pastor of a First Baptist Church in a large city. A former pastor had been invited to preach. As they were talking in the office, a deacon burst in. He was so excited to see that former pastor. He was a REAL pastor. When he preached, you could hear the music of heaven and smell the sulphur of hell. His counseling was like the wisdom of Solomon. On and on the deacon gushed.
When they were alone again, my teacher said, “I’m surprised. He’s never said anything good about me.”
The former pastor said, “I’m… I’m… more surprised. When I was here, he thought I was lower than dirt.”
Some people who complained in the past still prefer that past to the present. We can learn from the past, but we can’t live there. Psalm 34 give some valuable lessons David learned from his past to live in his present. They are lessons we can learn, too.
“I will extol the Lord at all times; his praise will always be on my lips.”
It would be easy for David to praise God for his past deliverance. It would be easy for David to praise God for helping him to rescue sheep from a lion and a bear. It would certainly be easy for David to praise God for delivering Goliath into his hand. It would be easy for David to praise God for letting him hear young ladies sing, “Saul has slain his thousands, but David his tens of thousands.” It would certainly be easy to praise God for sending Samuel to anoint him as the future king.
But Psalm 34 is not just about praising God for the past. Where is David while he writes this psalm? He is hiding in a cave, far from the palace. David is determined to praise God in spite of bad circumstances. He is an example for us to praise God in spite of bad circumstances, in spite of family problems, in spite of sickness, in spite of unemployment, in spite of a bad economy.
For a while in the seventies and early eighties, verses like this and 1 Thessalonians 5:18 were being abused.
1 Thessalonians 5:18 is the verse that says, “In every thing give thanks.” In some circles, it was preached and taught that if you were not thankful for your problems, God would not answer your prayers. I suspect this was particularly hard on parents. Is you child on drugs? God must have something better in their future. Thank God. If you don’t thank God for their addiction, they may never be delivered. Has your child run away? God must have something better for their future. Thank God. If you don’t thank God for their running away, they may never come back.
Fortunately, more people remember the answer to that error than remember the error itself. We are to give thanks IN all things, not FOR all things.
Is your child on drugs? Thank God for the time you were able to influence them before their addiction. Thank God for their Christian friends and pray that one of them will be able to get through to them. Thank God for the ministries that reach out to those on drugs and pray that one of them will be able to get through to your child. The Bible does not say to thank God for the addiction.
Has your child run away? Again, thank God for their Christian friends and the ministries to runaways and pray that one of them will reach you child. The Bible does not say to give thanks for them running away.
In Psalm 34, David is determined to praise God in spite of bad circumstances not for the bad circumstances.. He is an example for us to praise God in spite of bad circumstances, in spite of family problems, in spite of sickness, in spite of unemployment, in spite of a bad economy. Praise God.