“Through Jesus, therefore, let us continually offer to God a sacrifice of praise- the fruit of lips that confess His name.” Hebrews 13v.15
PRAISE is something we tend to compartmentalize into the “Sunday morning” category of our lives- the moments spent singing those carefully selected songs as a congregation each week. It’s as if we switch gears to “praise mode” when we enter the sanctuary, suddenly becoming cherubim-like and ready to worship. In reality, that’s far from the truth and deep down we know it!
As a worship leader I have the opportunity to warm up before a service- not just vocally, but spiritually, too. As the band gathers to run through the worship songs in our set, we have the privilege of drawing near to the Lord as we pray, and then practice the songs. The words become etched on our hearts, the music fills us, and the Holy Spirit readies us to lead others before the throne. But I am very much aware this is NOT the case with most people who walk in “cold” at the start of a service. (I know this because I am that congregation member when I’m not leading!) Fighting kids, a last minute phone call, a wardrobe malfunction in the car, a crummy week behind us with stresses galore ahead, a pounding headache- all this and more is dragged into church with us. Feel like praising?
Praise mode cannot be contrived nor should it be. This verse in Hebrews calls it a “sacrifice of praise”. It’s not a mode, not a magic button to switch on when it’s expected of us. It’s an offering, something that takes effort on our part, maybe even at the expense of something else- our precious time or our undivided attention perhaps? Praise is not an optional extra, something to possibly consider. It’s to be on our lips, actually spoken or sung, an overflow of our hearts.
Praise is not to be a rare occurrence; rather it should be on our radar 24/7 “…let us CONTINUALLY offer to God a sacrifice of praise…” thus lessening the need to drastically change “modes” on a Sunday morning. If praising God is part of our everyday life, then gathering at a church service is just a natural overflow, a continuation of how we’ve been interacting with the Lord all week… wouldn’t that be wonderful?! Give God the glory when you’re in the shower, driving the car, studying, gardening, bathing the baby or jogging the streets. Whether we’re taking in a magnificent sunset on a stretch of beach or are wedged into a church hall crammed with fellow worshippers, there is nothing sweeter for our souls than praising God with abandon. A hint of the glory that awaits us.
It is “through Jesus” we are told to continually make our offering of praise, and after the ultimate sacrifice Jesus made for us, surely a sacrifice of praise should be our priority, even when life’s trials threaten to overwhelm us. May our desire to praise God in everything be woven into our beings that it might eventually come as naturally as breathing. For He alone is worthy of ALL our praise!