In a stray from status quo, this week has not been spent in hushed “thanks” and fervent petitions. Instead, my week has been a self-imposed period of pure praise, and nothing but praise. You may think that sounds quite Evangelical, and I might concede that it is. And, if you listen carefully, you just might hear me admit that I read a “how to praise” article that admonished me to “raise [my] hands in the air if compelled to do so.” Evangelical implications aside, my institute teacher last week talked about praising God, asking why we don’t do it more often. The byproduct of that class was my decision to spend every prayer for the next week praising God. I imposed a strict moratorium on all prayers of simple gratitude and petitions.
I must admit that at the beginning of the week I felt rather silly and awkward, primarily because I was not accustomed to such ways of speaking and expressing myself. Yet as the week progressed, I noted a sense of liberation coursing through my body. It was invigorating to be free from my usual desires, appeals, and rote expressions that I try to pretend are not rote. I began to realize that my wants and desires had been ruling my life to the point that I had no time to ponder God’s goodness and mercy. Even my spurts of gratitude had succumbed to hollowness and lack of real feeling. Praising revitalized not only my prayers but my feelings toward and understanding of God. This week I have again realized how perfect God’s plan is, how merciful and just He is, and how complete His love is for us. This understanding is something that must be captured over and over. Psalms 107 well sums up my feelings: “Oh that men would praise the LORD for his goodness, and for his wonderful works to the children of men!” At first praises may be feeble; but, the very act of praising Him opens the soul to infinite reasons for which He is praiseworthy.