Praise Defeats Despair

Despair comes when you have continually been disappointed in a certain situation or relationship.  It is the complete loss of hope.  I have been in despair several times in my own life, and I know many others who have as well.

Although the Bible never promises that we will escape having feelings of despair, God does give us a way to overcome it.  Paul, one of the Apostles, felt despair many times during his ministry.  I believe there were times when his past haunted him, and he suffered major persecution.  However, Paul managed to come out of his despair.  We will discuss how he was able to do that.

Troubled on Every Side, Yet Not Distressed

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When the Jewish leaders were not oppressing Paul, one of the churches would be upset with him.  The church in Corinth had issues with him because of gossip that came from other influences.  When you read the books of Corinthians, you will notice that Paul addresses these issues.

Paul knew where hope was.  He knew hope was not even in his ministry.  His hope was in Christ.  Without Christ, his ministry would not be successful.  Without Christ, Paul could not go beyond his past.  Without Christ, Paul would not be preaching the gospel.

Perplexed But Not in Despair

Despair came to Paul on many occasions.  Paul spent time in prison for the sake of the gospel.  He had been beaten and stoned. In one instance, he was left being considered dead.  Despair came, but Paul fought it.  He did not give in to it.  (Read 2 Corinthians 4:8-9).

Just because he did not give in to despair does not mean that Paul did not feel despair.  In 2 Corinthians 1:1-9, Paul speaks of despairing of life.  Then, in chapter 4 he says he is perplexed but not in despair.  This leads me to believe that despair came, but Paul pressed past it.  How did he do that?  In Christ alone.

We Do Not Have to Despair

When you read Paul’s epistles, you will notice that he gives praise to the Lord. In 2 Corinthians 1, he praises God for being the God of all comfort.  In Ephesians 1, he praises God for spiritual blessings.  In Philippians 4, he speaks of rejoicing. There are other instances of praise in the other epistles.  He did not praise because his troubles were over.  He praised God through those troubles.

You and I can do the same.  When waves of despair seem to wash over us threatening to knock us down and leave us with the inability to get back up, we do not have to give in. We are not without hope.  We have Jesus Christ.  He is hope!  He is our hope.

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No matter how dark your situation is, there is light.  Jesus is the light of the world.  There is no darkness in Him at all.  You can praise Him now because He will get you through your darkest hour.  Do not despair!  You are not without hope.  I am not without hope either.

 

If you do not have a personal relationship with Jesus Christ, you can have one right now.  Romans 10:9-10 says that if you will confess with your mouth the Lord Jesus and believe in your heart that God has raised Him from the dead, you will be saved.  For with the heart, you believe to righteousness and with the mouth confession is made into salvation.  Romans 10:13 tell us that whoever calls on the name of the Lord will be saved.

Prayer with Praise

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

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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

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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.

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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!