Tag Archives: praising God

Blessing God No Matter What

Have you ever had to make a volcano for school? It’s a pretty simple project to do. I like to use a small jar and then build the volcano around it. Once you’re done with that, it’s time to create the lava. The simplest thing to do is put baking soda in the jar, add a few drops of red food coloring and then pour in some vinegar. It’s not a crazy explosion, but what’s in the jar will come out. The same is true when we go through a difficult time. What on the inside of you will come out. How do you react to difficult situations? What do you say when you’re hurting mentally, physically or emotionally?

In Acts 16, Paul and Silas cast a demon out of a girl who had taunted them for days. When the demon came out, so did her ability to tell fortunes and her ability to make money for her owners. They became angry, got some soldiers and a crowd and made accusations against Paul and Silas. Without a court hearing their case, the guards stripped them, beat them and put them in a dungeon. Their shackles were placed around their arms and legs, holding them in a painful position that prevented them from sleeping. Instead of cursing or demanding that they were innocent, they began to pray and sing praises to God. Verse 25 says the prisoners were listening intently to them when God sent an earthquake that unlocked every prisoner’s shackles.

Psalm 34:1 says, “I will bless the Lord at all times; His praise shall continually be in my mouth” (AMP). Like Paul and Silas, we have a choice to seek sympathy, to demand we were wronged, or we can bless God knowing He’s in control. Other people around us are intently listening to us and our reaction when bad things happen. How you react could set them free or keep them bound up. It’s not easy to bless and praise God in the midnight hour when you’re bound up and in pain, but it is the appropriate response as a believer. He has the power to heal you, to restore you and to vindicate you. It may not happen immediately like it did for Paul and Silas, but it will happen.

Photo by Jon Tyson on Unsplash

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Continuous Praise

A friend of mine and I have been praying for each other’s job situation for a while now. We send verses to each other, specifics of what we’re praying or asking for and encouraging messages. In the physical realm, nothing seems to be changing, but we know God is at work. The other day he said, “I think we need to praise God for what He is going to do on our behalf.” It triggered something in me. All this time, I have been hyper focused on my need and seeking God daily, that I’ve forgotten to thank and praise Him ahead of time for what He’s going to do. I’ve been praising Him for the daily miracles I see, but haven’t been looking ahead to where God is leading.

We get so caught up in our requests that we fail to spend time praising God for the work He’s doing behind the scenes. Praise is an important part of our victory. The Israelites always sent their praise team out first before any battle because of its powerful effect. God truly does work all things out for your good (Romans 8:28), but there’s always that period of time where you begin to wonder what good can come from your current situation. Especially in those times, it’s important to praise God for what He’s going to do. The Psalms over and over remind us to praise God no matter what and at all times. If you’ve been seeking God for a breakthrough, take some time to add praise to your petitions.

Here are some Bible verses on praising God.

1. Praise the Lord! Give thanks to the Lord, for he is good! His faithful love endures forever.

Psalms 106:1 NLT

2. Let everything that has breath and every breath of life praise the LORD! Praise the LORD! (Hallelujah!)

Psalms 150:6 AMP

3. I trust in the Lord. And I praise him! I trust in the Word of God. And I praise him!

Psalms 56:10 TPT

4. Let us, then, always offer praise to God as our sacrifice through Jesus, which is the offering presented by lips that confess him as Lord.

Hebrews 13:15 GNT

5. I will praise the Lord at all times. I will constantly speak his praises.

Psalms 34:1 NLT

Photo by Priscilla Du Preez on Unsplash

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Power In Praise

There’s a worship song out that says, “This is how I fight my battles. It may look like I’m surrounded, but I’m surrounded by you.” I love that song because it’s a great reminder of the power of praise. It also reminds me of a time when I was in high school and I came under a spiritual attack that presented itself in a very physical way. A guy I knew attacked me in my home. One of my parent’s friends was there at the house and walked in at just the right moment. She told me to go collect myself. I went to the bathroom and began to praise because I recognized what was happening. When I came out, I was ready for battle, but God had already delivered me from the situation.

The story was similar in 2 Chronicles 20. A massive army came out against Israel. They prayed and fasted Seeking God’s help. They still had to go to battle, but they understood that the battle belonged to the Lord. On the way, the king consulted the people and they decided to send singers out in front of the army who were worshiping God. Verse 22 says that the moment they began to praise, the other army started fight among themselves and killed each other until no one was left. It took Israel 3 full days to gather the plunder left behind by the army. The Israelites were so grateful to God for the victory, they named the place “The Valley of Blessing”.

Verse 26 says, “On the fourth day they gathered in the Valley of Blessing, which got its name that day because the people praised and thanked the Lord there. It is still called the Valley of Blessing today” (NLT). If you’re in a valley facing defeat, spend time praising God. Not only does it invite His presence into your situation, it gets your focus on Him rather than your problem. Praise is a powerful weapon that we must learn to use in our darkest moments. People all throughout the Bible used it (Joshua at Jericho, Paul and Silas in prison, etc), we should be too. You may not feel like praising God in your current situation, but that’s precisely when you need to. There’s power in praise.

Photo by Xan Griffin on Unsplash


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The Prayers Of Paul

Paul lived an incredible life. He went from an aggressive persecutor of the church to an aggressive follower of Jesus Christ. He was shipwrecked three times, bitten by a venomous snake, stoned and left for dead, deathly ill for over a year, imprisoned and eventually beheaded. Yet he would write two thirds of the New Testament and stay firmly fixed on his calling to spread the gospel of Jesus Christ.

Paul was probably able to do all this because of his strong prayer life. Each of his letters to the churches are filled with him praying for them and asking for very focused prayers for himself. His recorded prayers are not long but they are powerful. Paul is very consistent with his prayers through each Epistle and Ephesians provides us with a great example.

When you have a chance I suggest that you start by reading Ephesians 1:1-23. Paul begins in verse two by praying a blessing of grace and peace over the church. (This was a standard greeting of the day and used by other Apostles). Grace and Peace are such powerful words. When you actually look at the original Greek, you see that Paul prayed for the Ephesians to be “lavished” with Grace and Peace. If you think about it, when you have God’s grace and His peace, what else do you really need? His grace is given to you freely. You don’t have to work for it and you don’t need to be good to earn it. His peace is complete; it is greater than our circumstances. Our circumstances may be difficult at times but His peace will see us through every time. It is a peace that invades our thoughts and emotions.

Paul then uses verses 3-14 to praise God and remind the Ephesians of the good things they have received from God. When life is hard, it is easy to forget the blessings that God has lavished upon us. Paul reminded them (and now reminds us) of how we have been adopted by God and how we are redeemed by the blood of Jesus. It is so easy to forget all of the good things that God has done for us. Paul wanted to be sure they never forgot the gift of the Holy Spirit and that we are counted as God’s very own possession. On a regular basis it is important to write down how God has blessed your life. When did He show up when you thought you had no hope? Then weave into your prayers those events along with Paul’s reminders.

In verses 15-23 Paul begins to thank God for the Ephesians and prays that they will receive God’s wisdom and revelation and that they would know Him better. Paul makes sure they know that the same power that raised Jesus from the dead is working in their own lives and that same power works in our life.

At the end of Ephesians, Paul asks for the church to pray for him. When he wrote this Epistle he was in prison. One would think he would ask them to pray for him to be set free. However, Paul saw beyond his current circumstances to something greater. He asked them to pray that he would preach with boldness. In Ephesians 6:19 he asks that he could speak “fearlessly” (NIV). He is in prison, in chains and all he asks for is the ability to preach fearlessly.

Let’s break it down to the few key points of Paul’s prayer:

1. Pray for the Grace and Peace of God to be lavished on you, your family and for others.
2. When you pray take time to remember the work of salvation and remember the specific blessings God has worked in your life.
3. Pray for yourself and others that you may know God in an ever deeper and richer way.
4. Pray beyond your circumstances. God is madly and passionately in love with you. He cares about your needs but something happens when we focus our prayers on a greater cause, a cause where you will live out his perfect and good will. If we have God’s grace and peace and pray beyond our circumstances, I am sure God will meet our needs in the right way.

These thoughts are not intended to be the only way we pray. My hope is that they will become a starting place so that your prayer life will grow richer and more effective.

I would love to hear your thoughts on the prayers of Paul. What other key elements stand out to you?

Jon Stallings is a bi-vocational pastor and blogger from Stockbridge GA. He is co-pastor, along with his wife Janice, of Life Church in Conyers Ga. He also works for a technology company in Atlanta. Jon is passionate about helping others live out their own God given calling. He blogs about faith, leadership and life at www.jonstallings.com. You can also connect with him on twitter @jonstallings


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