“Praise to the holiest in the height, and in the depth be praise. In all His words most wonderful. Most sure in all His ways.” Written by John Henry Newman, in 1865
When faced with a serious crisis, praise may not be the first thing that comes to mind! Panic, fear, and considerable concern may well up within us. We find the terrain of our lives shaken, our sense of control loosened and our hearts may sink in despair.
So what can we discover in the Bible about how to handle and respond to seemingly insurmountable circumstances?
Two Bible passages, one in the Old Testament and one in the New Testament demonstrate just how key and effective praise can be when faced with significantly adverse circumstances.
In 2 Chronicles 20 there is a strong theme of praise and worship which shows how God’s powerful intervention can be released, as the focus moves from the situation facing the people of Judah, to God. You can read more on this here There is also an audio meditation based on this chapter and theme.
This is clearly demonstrated again in the New Testament, in Acts 16, where Paul and Silas find themselves in prison having been whipped and beaten. Instead of focusing on their circumstances and injuries, they are praising God and as they do so, there is an earthquake which shakes the prison and frees them from their chains. As a result the jailer and his entire household become believers.
There have been a number times in my journey of faith when, facing significant challenges, I have taken 2 Chronicles and Acts 16 to heart.
I have resolved to focus on God and spend time praising him, rather than panicking about the traumatic or adverse situation, that I find myself in.
There was a season when I was living overseas, when I used to go up onto the flat roof of the house we were living in daily, and walk round it, singing hymns and songs of praise until…….either my voice began to wear out, or there were too many spectators on the roof next door, which was higher than ours!! Some times I could spot passers by, on the street below, looking around to see where the singing was coming from!
Praise also played a significant part, in overcoming a deportation order, while we were living overseas when my husband was working with The Leprosy Mission. While most people on receiving such an order left the country within a few days or a week or two……………God’s intervention enabled us to stay and complete the assignment. You can read a fuller account of this in the Written Reflection series entitled Facing the Challenge
There are wide variations in the way people praise and worship God.
- Spend a few minutes reflecting on the ways in which you have experienced praise and worship, within your own journey of faith.
- Think about what you enjoy about praise and worship.
- What do you find difficult?.
- How does God meet you personally as you praise and worship him?
- Spend a few moments in praise and worship.
Finally ponder on Psalm 7:17 (TPT)
But I will give all my thanks to you, Lord, for you make everything right in the end. I will sing my highest praise to the God of the Highest Place.