Monday, September 10, 2012

Praise as Prayer

David and the whole house of Israel were celebrating with all their might before the Lord, with songs and with harps, lyres, tambourines, sistrums and cymbals (2 Sam. 6:5, NIV1984).

David pours out his soul to bless, praise, and admire the great God for his lovingkindness to such poor, vile wretches. "Bless the LORD, O my soul: and all that is within me bless his holy name. Bless the LORD, O my soul, and forget not all his benefits: Who forgiveth all thine iniquities; Who healeth all thy diseases; Who redeemeth thy life from destruction; who crowneth thee with lovingkindness and tender mercies; Who satisfieth thy mouth with good things; so that thy youth is renewed like the eagle's" (Psa. 103:1-4). Thus is the prayer of the saints sometimes turned into praise and thanksgiving and yet is still prayer. This is a mystery: God's people pray with their praises, as it is written, "Be careful for nothing; but in every thing by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known unto God" (Phi 4:6). A sensible thanksgiving for mercies received is a mighty prayer in the sight of God; it prevails with Him unspeakably (John Bunyan, Prayer).
When the enemies are many and the burdens weighty, I am tempted to white-knuckle my prayers, heaping one "fix this now" petition atop another, the urgency increasing with the feeling of not being heard.

At such times, perhaps even more than at easier, more ebullient times, praise is the habit of heart I need to cultivate. Praise ascribes to the Lord the honor due His name and reminds me of His character and work (in short, His utter sufficiency for the needs at hand). Praise nails my hopes to the God who is great and good. Sometimes, praising God from the truth of His Word is the best weapon to wield in our intercession.

As they began to sing and praise, the Lord set ambushes against the men of Ammon and Moab and Mount Seir who were invading Judah, and they were defeated (2 Chron. 20:22, NIV1984).

Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us in the heavenly realms with every spiritual blessing in Christ (Eph. 1:3):
~For He chose us in Him before the creation of the world, to be holy and blameless (!) in His sight (Eph. 1:4).
~In love, He predestined us to be adopted as His sons through Jesus Christ, in accordance with His pleasure and will, to the praise of His glorious grace, which He has freely given us in the One He loves (1:5-6).
~In Him we have redemption through His blood, the forgiveness of sins, in accordance with the riches of God's grace, that He lavished on us with all wisdom and understanding (1:7-8).
~ And he made known to us the mystery of his will according to his good pleasure, which he purposed in Christ, to be put into effect when the times will have reached their fulfillment—to bring all things in heaven and on earth together under one head, even Christ (1:9-10).
~ In him we were also chosen, having been predestined according to the plan of him who works out everything in conformity with the purpose of his will, in order that we, who were the first to hope in Christ, might be for the praise of his glory (1:11-12, this weeks verses).

~results back from the GI biopsies showed no abnormalities except mild, chronic stomach inflammation and nothing whatsoever to explain chest pain or swallowing difficulty (we will speak to my rheumatologist next week before deciding about the one remaining GI diagnostic option)
~eye exam today showed everything stable
~relief of checking off the last medical homework assignment before my next lupus check next week
~strength for an unusual number and degree of obligations outside the house
~sleeping better at night

~release from prison of Iranian pastor who had been charged with apostasy because of his Christian faith and ministry (WORLD news report at this link)
~another faithful witness who loved Christ more than her own earthly life (prayers needed for this worker's family and colleagues, follow-up story at this link)
~the heroic actions of so many on that sad Tuesday, 11 years ago today
~the sacrificial service of our military personnel and first responders right now

~watching the white and the great grey herons soar above the pond
~a bright planet gleaming in the sky between the crescent moon and breaking dawn
Phone camera - the moon seemed so much bigger and the planet brighter in person.
~a pair of new yellow birds taking nourishment from the Turk's cap

Photo: Big Al

~lovely fellowship with the ladies at the first Bible study gathering of fall
~courage to leave my comfort zone for lunch with a neighborhood acquaintance

~Allen's successful completion of a yard project
~record-breaking hot weather finally relenting enough for him to resume bicycle commute
~roses he brought home with the groceries
(gratitude journal, #7264-7285)

To the many of you who have encouraged me with kind, thoughtful comments in the last few weeks, thank you. A crowded schedule has meant inadequate time to respond to you all or even post at my usual intervals. Please know that you are not forgotten; on the contrary, you are daily remembered with gratitude before the Father. You are a blessing. May the Lord bless you with every sort of blessing you need today and with heart-eyes to see and thank Him.

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Thank you for sharing your day with me! Your presence here is a gift. *You* are a gift. Right now I am unable to reply to every comment, but please know I read and pray for each and every commenter. Grace and peace to you in Christ.