I had the privilege of going with my dad last weekend to a church in which he ministers on a regular basis. On the rare occasions that I do go with him, I always find the people very warm and welcoming. The presence of the Lord is always experienced, and we usually find humor in some situation to enjoy.
As my dad preached, he began discussing the frequency in which God’s people often forget to praise God during prayer. “You need to offer something sweet,” my father said referring to praise. Instead of simply asking God to do this or do that, we need to praise Him for who He is and thank Him for the past prayers that He has answered.
Praise in Battle
Most of us are familiar with the story of King Jehoshaphat and the people of Judah in 2 Chronicles 20. The people of Judah were facing some deadly enemies. Immediately, the people sought the Lord, which is always the first step that should be taken in any crisis. People began to hear from the Lord, and the consensus was that God would deliver them as He had before.
King Jehoshaphat appointed singers to go in the front line of the battle, singing, “Praise the Lord for His mercy endures forever.” Their enemies became confused and began slaughtering each other rather than the people of Judah. After all was said and done in the battle, the people of Judah took spoils from their enemies.
The Results of Our Praise
When you and I offer praises to God, even when it is the last thing we wish to do, we will find that our situations are not as big as they seem. We will find that our spiritual enemies flee because they become confused. We will find that we are taking spiritual spoils from our enemies
According to Isaiah 43:19, the Lord does new things. He makes a way where there seems to be none. The entire chapter of Isaiah 43 is filled with reasons to praise God. Throughout the chapter, God promises to bring His people victory over their enemies. Most of all, He declares His love for us. He vows that He has blotted out our sins and transgressions. He is holy and cannot allow sin in His presence, yet, He redeems us from our sin through Jesus Christ and calls us righteous in his sight
What Will You Offer?
Although it is perfectly fine to offer your petitions and requests before God in prayer, it is vital to remember to offer something sweet. Do not simply use prayer as a “give me, give me” session. God is so much more than our personal genie. Use your prayer time to give honor and praise to God. Use scripture when you are not sure of what to say. The Psalms and many passages in Isaiah offer many words of praise and worship.
Jesus gave us an example of how to pray in what we know as the Lord’s prayer. The model prayer begins with praise then goes into various petitions then ends with an acknowledgement of who God is. Certainly, we do not want to become legalistic in our prayers, but we do want to take time to offer praise to our God. He is worthy!