By: Katie Stone
Praise might be the most neglected exercise in the Christian life. We know it is important to pray, read the Bible, and gather with other believers. Praise, on the other hand, has a reputation of being an add on to the Christian life for the good days. It’s nice but not necessary.
A look at the Bible reveals that praise is not just an accessory to the Christian life. It is a powerful weapon against doubt, a strength for our faith, and the right response to our salvation.
A Powerful Weapon
One of my favorite passages in the Bible is about King Jehoshaphat and what I like to call his “praise warriors.”
The tiny nation of Judah was under siege by a great army. King Jehoshaphat was greatly afraid and “set himself to seek the Lord.” (2 Chronicles 20:3) People gathered from across the country to join the king in prayer.
As they prayed, the Lord spoke through one of His prophets. “Do not be afraid nor dismayed because of this great multitude, for the battle is not yours, but God’s…You will not need to fight in this battle. Position yourselves, stand still and see the salvation of the Lord, who is with you!”
“So, they rose early in the morning and went out…and when [King Jehoshaphat] had consulted with the people, he appointed those who should sing to the Lord, and who should praise the beauty of holiness, as they went out before the army and were saying: ‘Praise the Lord, for His mercy endures forever.’ Now when they began to sing and to praise, the Lord set ambushes against the people…who had come against Judah; and they were defeated.” (2 Chronicles 20:14-24, emphasis mine)
Some might argue, praise was not the direct cause of God’s deliverance here. However, the fact the Bible mentions the praises of the people in such close connection with the defeat of Judah’s enemies, indicates praise did play an important part in God’s dramatic intervention.
Strength for our Faith
Most of us aren’t fighting armies but many of us do battle doubt and discouragement. Praise works powerfully to overcome these personal battles too.
Praise conquers doubt by combining prayer and faith. Prayer is talking to God. Faith is believing God. Praise is our verbal response to God when we believe Him. If you’ve ever wondered how to overcome doubt or how to pray with faith, the answer is simple: Praise the Lord!
It is impossible to genuinely praise God and entertain doubt at the same time. They cannot coexist.
When we praise God for His saving power, His love, His role as creator and sustainer, His sovereignty, and His justice, we remind ourselves of who God is and what He has done. This fortifies our faith and drives out doubt.
Nik Ripken, who has interviewed hundreds of Christians living in countries where they encounter great persecution, wrote, “Music is vital for the survival of faith in situations of persecution… There are few disciplines in the life of believers more vital than singing God’s praises, especially singing God’s Word back to Him.”*
To illustrate, Ripken told the story of a Christian man he talked with who spent several years in prison for his faith. Every morning this man stood in his cell and sang a song of praise to God. Every time he found a piece of paper and pencil, he wrote scripture and the lyrics of hymns all over it and stuck that paper high up on a metal pipe in his cell as an offering of praise to God. For doing these things, he was frequently beaten and mocked. Yet, they couldn’t stop him.
One day, the guards came to execute him. As he was escorted out of his cell, the entire prison, filled with hundreds of hardened criminals, stood and sang the song he had sung every morning to praise the Lord.
It was so powerful, the guards looked at him in terror and asked, “Who are you?”
He replied, “I am a child of God.”
If singing God’s praises has the power to sustain faith in the midst of a prison cell, it certainly has the power to sustain faith in the midst of our doubts and difficulties.
Called out of darkness that you may proclaim His praises
Beyond being a source of strength for our faith, praise is the purpose of our redemption.
The Bible says, “You are a chosen generation, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, His own special people, that you may proclaim the praises of Him who called you out of darkness into His marvelous light.” (1 Peter 2:9, emphasis mine)
We were saved so we could praise God.
Remember, praise is a response to God when we believe Him. The unbeliever, by definition, does not have faith in God. Therefore, only those who believe can praise Jesus Christ.
How to get started
If you’re not in the habit of praising the Lord regularly, it might feel mechanical or insincere at first. I encourage you to start anyway. Praise is an action of faith, not emotion. The more you practice praising the Lord, the more it will become a natural response to His goodness and His word.
Here are some practical ways to get started:
- Begin your prayer time by singing or listening to a song of praise and continue to praise God with thanksgiving throughout your prayer.
- As you read the parable of the lost sheep and the prodigal son, stop and praise God for being the good shepherd and the waiting father.
- As you observe God’s work and meditate on His truth throughout your day—respond in praise.
- When doubts arise in your mind, think upon what you know is true of God and praise Him for that.
We may not feel like praising God every day. But when we choose to praise Him, regardless of feelings, we take up a powerful weapon. It dispels doubt, strengthens our faith, and magnifies Christ.
Jesus is worthy of our praises—everyday, all day. For He has delivered us from the power of darkness and conveyed us into the kingdom of His Son! (Colossians 1:13)
Therefore, “I will bless Your name forever and ever. Every day I will bless You, and I will praise You name forever and ever.” (Psalm 145:1-2)
*Insanity of Obedience, by Nik Ripken, B&H Books, 2014, pp. 291-292.
Katie lives in a big city near the Canadian Rocky Mountains. Which means she loves a trendy coffee shop as much as the smell of campfire and pine. She currently works as a graphic designer/social media manager/content creator but is most happy while leading worship and discipling younger girls. At 16, Jesus transformed her quiet time from 10 minutes of duty into her favorite part of the day and ever since, Katie has had a passion to encourage and equip others to get into God’s word for the purpose and joy of knowing Jesus.