You’ve lost your ability to speak for 9 months and suddenly regained it. What would you say?
Maybe you’d address a need: “Would someone please scratch my back in the place where it itches most?”
Or a craving: “I’m dying for a hamburger with a huge side of fries! And a chocolate shake!”
Perhaps you’d express your feelings: “I love you!”
Or state your gratitude: “Thank you!”
Zechariah’s Example of Praise
It’s interesting to read what Zechariah said. This priest was silenced for approximately 9 months, from the day he learned of the Lord’s promise until the day it was fulfilled. (If you missed the last post that detailed his story, you can read it here.) Luke 1:64 tells us that “Immediately his mouth was opened and his tongue set free and he began to speak, praising God.”
His first words after a long season of silence were in praise to the Lord.
Imagine all the worship that he’d held inside, suddenly pouring out from his mouth. I’m convinced Zechariah went on for quite some time. Did he sing? Or quote the Scriptures? Did he declare God’s wonders at the top of his voice? The Bible doesn’t tell us, but I’d sure love to know. I can only imagine the beauty of his words and the heartfelt expression of his love and adoration of the Creator.
Mary’s Example of Praise
During the time that Zechariah remained mute, Mary, the mother of Jesus, received some of the most startling news ever recorded. She learned that she would be overshadowed by the power of the Most High when the Holy Spirit came upon her. She’d conceive and give birth to a son while she’d never been intimate with a man. Such news impacted her life as well as eternity for all of humankind.
Mary hurried to see her relative, Elizabeth, who at that time was pregnant at an old age. The Bible says that Elizabeth was filled with the Holy Spirit when she heard Mary’s greeting and the baby inside her leaped for joy (Luke 1:41). At this point, Mary erupted in spontaneous praise to the Lord. We’re given a record of her wonderful expression in Luke 1:46-55. The passage is certainly worth reading slowly enough to soak it in.
The Power of Praise
Take a peek now at Psalm 148, which commands all of creation to praise the Lord. Can you imagine the sun and moon, the stars and even the trees and animals praising God? What a glorious thought. In Luke 19:40, Jesus said of those praising Him, “If they were to keep silent, the stones would cry out!” (See 19:37-40 for context). The created of God can’t help but praise the Creator! Obviously, the action of praise is a high priority in the heavenly realm. Some notable benefits to praise include the following:
- We read that God is enthroned on the praises of Israel (Psalm 22:3) in other words, He inhabits the praise of His people. And what our holy God inhabits, evil forces have no choice but to flee. That’s one of the many reasons I believe that we can find fullness of joy in His presence.
- Praising God for His specific attributes can help us stand firm and fix our minds on Him during a struggle. Consider Psalm 27:1 (HCSB): “The Lord is my light and my salvation – whom shall I fear? The Lord is the stronghold of my life – of whom should I be afraid?”
There are other benefits to praising God as well (Crosswalk.com provides a wonderful article here).
Following the Example of Praise
We like to praise God on Sunday mornings while led by the music team at church. Throughout our study (Lord, Teach Us to Pray), we’ve learned to offer a few seconds of praise as we open our prayers. Praise is far more than a scheduled event. As we see in the examples of Mary and Zechariah, praise can take place spontaneously – out of the fullness of our hearts. What a splendid offering to the Lord!
I’d like to encourage each one of us: erupt into spontaneous praise to the Lord more often!
Consider a few instances:
- I know you’ve experienced moments when your heart feels so full you think it might burst. This is a wonderful time to burst into song or an outpouring of praise.
- If you’re overcome with stress, or fear, or sadness – praising God will take your focus off of your troubles and place it firmly on the One who will help you navigate them.
- We often see the Lord’s hand through His creation – like an amazing sunrise or a glimpse of breathtaking mountain peaks. Let this spark your praise.
- When prayers are answered in ways that are far above what you asked or imagined, let your praise flow!
God is so big, so marvelous, so beyond our comprehension, so filled with love and mercy, any moment is a great moment to let our hearts explode in expressive praise to Him. It blesses Him, and it’s sure to bless you too.
Let it flow.