"The Sacrifice of Praise"

Through Jesus, therefore, let us continually offer to God a sacrifice of praise—the fruit of lips that confess his name. And do not forget to do good and share with others, for with such sacrifices God is pleased." (Hebrews 13:15,16 NIV)

Sometimes offering praise does seem like a sacrifice, especially when we're in the midst of problems or pain or grief. But God is greater than any problems we may face and He deserves honor and praise regardless of our circumstances. I've found that pressing on to praise, in spite of my feelings, brings a change of heart and encouragement from God Himself.

Although our moods and emotions can interfere with our worship, it is during these dry times, when we don't feel like worshipping, that we most need to pray and praise God. If we make a habit of offering ourselves daily to God, just as we are, including our doubts and fears and resentments, God can and will change our attitude and will restore our joy and peace.

The Holy Spirit is always eager to enliven our worship and praise and Scripture is a wonderful resource of hymns and prayers. Try doing a search in a concordance for the word "praise" and read some of the Scripture references. One of my favorite psalms is Psalm 148—it is a reminder of the marvels of God's creation and I've found it to be an excellent "jump start" for praise and worship. A hymn book is another good source of inspiration for praise.

It is important to remember that our praise to God is vain unless we also "do good and share with others" (v. 16). This, too, can be a sacrifice, hard to do but necessary. Just as God is pleased to hear us praise Him, He is also pleased to see us doing good and showing love to others. He has even prepared, in advance, "custom-made" works for us to do for Him. (Ephesians 2:9)

"Come, let us sing for joy to the LORD; let us shout aloud to the Rock of our salvation." (Psalm 95:1)

"Lord, I will praise You always, in spite of circumstances. Help me to also offer to You the sacrifice of doing good and sharing with others, with a servant's heart. Amen."

© 2002 Marie DisBrow

[This devotional article first appeared in HEART-TO-HEART at www.e-ncouragement.com]