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Praise in Spiritual Battles

By Michael Youssef, Ph.D.

We are in constant spiritual warfare against Satan. He tries to enslave our bodies with addictions and excesses, our minds with heresies and paralyzing doubts, our spirits with guilt and shame. He seeks to take away our joy, rip apart our families, and wreck our relationship with Jesus Christ and His church. When you are facing trying times and temptations, these are the moments when praise is most needed.

Praising God empowers us to defeat the devil. Why is this? Because praise speaks the truth about God, something the devil cannot stand to hear. The great strength of our praise in spiritual warfare is that through it we are declaring with childlike faith that God loves us and has gained the victory over Satan. God loves and God wins. Period.

So how do you praise God during spiritual struggles? Praise God for sending Jesus to win the eternal war over your soul. Praise Him for using the Holy Spirit to convict you of your sins and convince you of your need for a Savior. Praise Him for His guidance and strength in overcoming obstacles. Praise Him for His overwhelming love for you, even when you struggle with temptations.

You can spend hours praising God for your salvation, and you will not even have scratched the surface of how much God is worthy to be praised. In our praise, we defeat the forces that seek to destroy us, undermine our faith, diminish our influence, and demolish our integrity.

Prayer: God, thank You for your love and for sending Your Son to die for me. Thank You that in the midst of spiritual battles, I can find victory as I praise Your holy name. Amen.

“Praise be to the LORD my rock, who trains my hands for war, my fingers for battle. He is my loving God and my fortress, my stronghold and my deliver, my shield, in whom I take refuge” (Psalm 144:1-2).

 


Changed by Praise

By Michael Youssef, Ph.D.

Praise opens our eyes and ears to God. When we focus on the Lord in praise, we’re much more likely to hear God’s commands. This explains why praise is often so difficult for us: Praise demands that we make changes in our lives, and most of us don’t welcome the prospect of change. Sometimes the change God commands will require us to confess and repent of a sin and to make adjustments in how we live, especially in how we think of and relate to others. Sometimes God’s command compels us to move to a deeper level of commitment or to take a bold step of faith. Whatever He wants to tell us, it will be easier to hear Him clearly when we’re praising Him.

It may be difficult to begin a lifestyle of praise if you haven’t been engaging in one already. There will be times when you just don’t feel like praising God, or times when you may begin praising Him without having a completely thankful heart. But once you start praising God, it won’t be long before your negativity gives way to hope, your frustration gives way to peace, and your despair gives way to joy.

I have seen this happen over and over again in my own life. No matter how bleak or sad my circumstances, I am uplifted as I praise the Lord. As I honor God for who He is and for the glorious things He has done, my eyes are opened to God’s abundant provision and blessing.

Once you begin looking for things to praise God for, you will be overwhelmed by just how good He is. You will become excited about praising God. You will look forward to praising God. It will become a natural part of your daily life.

Prayer: God, help me to develop a lifestyle of praise. I want to be changed as I praise You. Amen.

“I will bless the LORD at all times; his praise will always be on my lips” (Psalm 34:1).


The Adventure of Praise

By Michael Youssef, Ph.D.

Praise is an empowering adventure. In praising God, we have a chance to really know who God is, to know who we are, and to experience the great mystery and power of God’s work on this earth.

No matter how difficult or unjust our circumstances become, we can exercise our free will and choose to praise God rather than ignore Him. We can choose not only what we will praise Him for, but how long, how frequently, and how intensely we will praise Him.

The times when you don’t feel like praising God are precisely the moments when it’s most essential to do so. The next time you’re discouraged, start praising God. When you feel defeated or unable to break loose from bad habits, start praising God. When your most treasured relationships seem to be falling apart, start praising God.

Praise is about what God desires us to do, not about the power of your circumstances. When you get your eyes off your immediate problem and put your focus on God, you are redirecting yourself toward what God will do for you, not what man has done to you. At that point, God can work in your life to produce real growth.

Prayer: Lord, even though I may be discouraged, I am choosing to praise You. I believe that You will bring good from my current situation and so I am focusing on You, not on my circumstances. Amen.

“But my eyes are fixed on you, Sovereign LORD; in you I take refuge” (Psalm 141:8).


David's Call to Praise

By Michael Youssef, Ph.D.

If King David were with us today, no doubt he would sound this clarion call to every believer: “Praise the Lord!” He would encourage us to clap our hands, to make a joyful noise to almighty God with musical instruments, and to shout praises to the Most High God. That’s right, shout! And David wouldn’t quietly stand before us, meekly offering this as a suggestion for us to consider. No, he would be animated; he would implore us to join him and all the saints of God in praising.

So if you were to meet David today, would you gladly heed his call to praise God with your entire being—all that you are, all that you have, and all that you will ever be—every day of your life?

Praise is more than obligation—more than a simple spiritual exercise. It is something more than singing songs in church on Sundays. Praise is the path that brings us near to God and His love, His power, and His grace. It brings us closer to the throne of God, to a more intimate relationship with our Creator, Savior, and Lord, and to a more fulfilling life on this earth.

We are driven to know our reason for being. We want our lives to make a difference, to bring out something of lasting value. One of life’s great questions is this: “What is the purpose of my life?” For those who believe in Jesus as their Savior, the purpose of life is clear: We exist to bring glory to God. To find a life of meaning, we need to concentrate on praising Him.

Not only does praise put us in closer communion with God, it also reveals things to us about ourselves. Praise opens our eyes to spiritual reality, to the love and power of God, and to our desperate need for Him. As we pursue our life’s purpose in following Christ, our very lives are an expression of praise to God.

Prayer: Father, help me to embrace my purpose in life—to glorify You. May I praise You today with my entire being. Praise the Lord! Amen.

“The LORD lives! Praise be to my Rock! Exalted be God my Savior!” (Psalm 18:46).


A Sacred Song

By Michael Youssef, Ph.D.

David faced extreme highs and lows throughout his life. He experienced times of closeness with God that led to victory, and he also experienced times of defeat after trying to do things his way instead of God’s way. Yet one constant in his life was his sacred song for God. Even in his psalms of brokenness, he had praise in his heart for God: “A righteous man may have many troubles, but the Lord delivers him from them all” (Psalm 34:19).

Read 2 Samuel 22. This psalm of praise is often referred to as the Song of David. In this banner song for a true champion, David reflects on the power and goodness of the almighty God. David begins his praise with, “The Lord is my rock, my fortress and my deliverer” (2 Samuel 22:2). We can visualize David reflecting on the numerous times he sought refuge and shelter in the loving arms of His heavenly Father. He faced countless life-threatening and life-altering storms in his life, yet God was always there for him.

When you face valleys in your life, never forget that God is infinitely mightier than your problems, and He is watching over you. No matter how desperate your circumstances may seem, God is sheltering you and protecting you. He is upholding you and empowering you.

Prayer: God, help me to always have a sacred song of praise for You. Thank You for Your faithfulness. Amen.

“The LORD lives! Praise be to my Rock! Exalted be God, the Rock, my Savior!” (2 Samuel 22:47).


Vessels of Praise

By Michael Youssef, Ph.D.

Our lives are vessels of praise to the Lord. When we make a commitment to obey God, we honor and praise Him with our obedience. Our prayers are offerings of praise to God, and express our devotion. When we show kindness to one another, we are living lives of praise and reflecting His love to others.

Satan hates praise, and he will do anything to stop us from glorifying God. He knows that God indwells the praises of His people. He also understands the power of praise. When our eyes are set on Christ through praise, we will gain a mighty victory as we submit our lives and our hearts to Jesus Christ.

Praise changes the atmosphere of our trials. Those who know the secret of praise understand that feelings of depression, fear, doubt, and worry vanish in the wake of prayer and praise. Feelings of bitterness, resentfulness, and fear flee when we praise the Lord for who He is and for what He has done.

Our praise to God acknowledges His authority over our lives. This is because in times of praise, we submit ourselves to Him for His glory and purpose. Our humility and courage to trust God demonstrate our dependency on Him alone. Even a few words of praise from the overflow of a humbled heart can be a sweet aroma to the Lord.

Express your love to the Savior and your gratitude for His faithfulness by praising God today.

Prayer: Father, I pray that my life would be a vessel of praise to You every day. You alone are worthy of my worship. Amen.

“Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ! In his great mercy he has given us new birth into a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead” (1 Peter 1:3).


A Positive Testimony

How do we live as positive testimonies for Christ? We show our faith through our conduct, the way we live, our obedience to Christ, and in the joy that our relationship with our Creator brings us. As we follow Christ each day, we manifest the fruit of the Spirit and radiate our eternal joy.

When we are walking in obedience to Him, He will continuously pour His power into our lives. The world will see the power of the Resurrection in us as we are transformed more and more each day in Christ-likeness. When His power is fully at work in us, our joy will be infectious, and others will want to know Jesus.

The apostle Paul told the Philippians, “Do everything without complaining or arguing, so that you may become blameless and pure, children of God without fault in a crooked and depraved generation, in which you shine like stars in the universe as you hold out the word of life—in order that I may boast on the day of Christ that I did not run or labor for nothing” (Philippians 2:14-16).

When we are experiencing full joy, we cannot help but let that show outwardly to everyone around us. When we face trials and crises, we can continue forward in confidence and with joy, knowing Christ is with us. When we experience great successes, we can rejoice in the blessings that God has given us. Our gratitude and thanksgiving will overflow and show the world we worship a truly amazing and sovereign God.

The world is always watching us. Whether we want to be or not, all Christians are living testimonies who represent our Christ to the world.

Prayer: God, I want my life to be a positive testimony for You. I pray that no matter what is going on in my life, I will always be a consistent witness to the joy of knowing You. Amen.

May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace as you trust in him, so that you may overflow with hope by the power of the Holy Spirit” (Romans 15:13).


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