(Picture this) It's Sunday morning. You've had a long and stressful week. You need something. A good pick-me-up to make you feel like you can tackle another day. You've made up your mind...you're going to church. So you put on your Sunday's Best and head out. As you enter the building, you are immediately greeted with a hug, a handshake, and a smile all while being directed towards the sanctuary doors. Sanctuary.
a place of refuge or safety.
synonyms:refuge, haven, harbor, port in a storm, oasis, shelter, retreat, hideaway, hideout
That's exactly what you need right now...if only for a couple of hours. Life is a little bit crazy, there's so much on your mind, and a little bit of Sanctuary sounds good. You enter the doors and you see people. Some are sitting. Some are standing . Some (like you) are looking for a "good" seat. There are others at the altar.
You feel a tap on the shoulder and hear a voice asking if you need help finding a seat. You gladly accept the help. As you are being escorted to your seat, a group of people walk onto the stage. Music begins to play. Someone speaks into the mic and gives the call inviting everyone to Praise God. The music's good so you see no issue with clapping your hands or bobbing your head. You look around and observe the crowd. People are clapping and singing. Words of adoration and appreciation freely escape the lips of nearly everyone within earshot. Tears of joy are on some faces. Hands are raised. Some are swaying back and forth. You notice a change in the atmosphere. Is "this" what praise is all about? You wonder. What is the meaning of all this? Is it really that serious?
Believe the Hype. Everyone may have a different way of expressing it. Mine might not look like yours. Yours might not sound like another's but one thing is for sure; praise is important.
When I was younger, it seemed like my parents had the same solution for everything...a nap. If I had a headache, I had to take a nap. If I stubbed my toe, I had to take a nap. If I felt sad, a nap would somehow make me glad. If I was hungry before dinnertime, I needed to take a nap. I'm sure you know that a nap won't fix everything but let's say we try that concept with praise.
Depressed? Praise. Stressed out? Praise. Getting attacked on your job? Praise. Facing a tough situation? Praise. Sounds silly? It works! Listen, praise isn't the only solution to everything but it is a method that has been tested and has withstood the test of time.
2 Chronicles 20
I encourage you to read this entire story but I'll give you a few highlights...King Jehoshaphat faced an enemy. The bible describes it as a "vast" army. Vast means very large in quantity. That's kind of intimidating right? What happens next sounds irrational (like taking a nap to cure hunger) but check this out. The King consulted with his people and came up with a fail-proof strategy. He told everyone to sing and praise to the Lord. Yep. You read that right. SING AND PRAISE THE LORD. In verse 22 the bible says that as they began to praise, the Lord set ambushes against the enemy. They ended up destroying one another. Praise is a weapon.
You might not be facing a vast army or anything right now. However, I guarantee if you aren't already, one day you will face something. It happens. When you are met with a challenge that seems too much for you to handle what will you do? You can complain, kick, scream, pout, cry, run, or display another predictable type of reaction. Or you can try the Jehoshaphat Strategy. Let a praise well up in your spirit and flow from your lips. Lift up a hand or two. Sing praises to God. You might not feel like it. It might go against everything your mind and body wants to do...but do it anyway. Praise will change your perspective. Praise will shift the atmosphere wherever you are. Praise will take the focus off your problem and point it towards THE solution.
Father, we thank you and praise you for this moment. You are awesome in all of your ways. There is nothing too hard for you. How amazing are your works. You are great and greatly to be praised. Your love is everlasting and your mercy endures forever. Lord we lift your name up. Great is your mercy. Thank you for being our help. You give us hope. Thank you for being our provider. Thank you for making ways for us that we cannot see. Thank you for protecting us. Thank you for delivering us. Father, you are faithful. Father, you are our everything. Hallelujah!