Monday, January 27, 2014

Praise Challenge

They say that the best way to learn something is to teach it. I cannot argue with this as I have learned the most about the things that I have set out to teach. My experience as prayer coordinator has been no different. One thing I'm discovering is that God desires our praise, and we are nearest to Him when we praise Him. I've spent quite a bit of time praising God over the last few months, and the more I do, the more I reap the benefits and the stronger my desire to praise Him becomes.

Genesis tells us that  God created mankind in His own image. It also tells us that He created man first and then woman. Of course, we are both in His image. We each represent different aspects of His character. But He did create males first. And He represents himself as a male - God the Father, not God the Mother. When He sent the savior, He sent a man, not a woman. Not to say that female characteristics are not important to God. The feminine qualities of tenderness, love and mercy are clearly displayed in the Bible in many places, and Jesus compares himself to a mother hen protecting her chicks in his love for Jerusalem, for example. But clearly God puts prominence on the male aspect of himself.

Anyone who has ever read anything about marriage has no doubt come across a list of the primary desires of a man. At or near the top of the list is always a desire for respect. Men want to feel successful and be praised for their accomplishments. Even little things make them happy. I recently told my husband that the two scarves he got me for Christmas are now my favorites (and I have a LOT of scarves). That was probably obvious by how much I have been wearing them, but he liked hearing it. It was a small endeavor, but he was successful in it and that made him feel good.

God doesn't need us to tell Him that he is successful - He already knows that He is perfect and perfectly successful. But He desires it. Hearing the praise of His people makes God feel good, just like hearing the praise of his wife makes a husband feel good. And God reflects the pleasure He feels in our praise back into ourselves. I simply cannot describe the joy I feel when I manage to make that connection to God through praise. And it makes me desire all the more to please Him. It fills me with a hunger to spend more time with Him, because of the pleasure I receive in His presence.

So here's my challenge to you. For the next week (or, if you're really daring, the next month) spend at least fifteen minutes a day just praising God.

Read Psalms of praise to Him, pick some songs that praise Him (make sure they're ones focused on praising God/Jesus, rather than how God makes us feel).

Really focus on God and let him know how much He means to you and acknowledge His greatness. See if it doesn't make a difference in your life!

1 Samuel 2:1-10
1 Chronicles 16:8-36; 29:10-19
Psalms 8, 19, 24, 25, 29, 33, 47, 65, 77, 92, 93, 96-100, 104-107, 111, 113, 117, 119, 134-136, 146-150
Isaiah 12:1-6, 52:7-10
Luke 1:46-55, 1:67-79
Revelation 4:8-11, 5:9-14, 7:10-12, 19:1-7
Hopefully that is enough to get you started!