Spiritual practice: Gratitude through praise
Allow me to confess that this came at a time when I felt especially ungrateful. In my humble opinion, nothing was going right. In my humble and accurate opinion, that was all my fault. I experienced a stretch of a day when I felt especially inadequate. To make matters worse, I could not think of anything for which to be thankful. Everything that I had at that point in time was something that I already had – so why be thankful?
The Lord began to convict me, revealing that I was treating gratitude as an item to mark off my checklist. Gratitude was a requirement. No wonder I felt like a grouch – I was failing my own requirement to be thankful. I wondered if I should resume reading 1,000 Gifts, but that thought did not appeal to me. The truth is, I was stuck.
Then I remembered a time in my life when I praised in spite of my circumstances. Whether I saw God working or not, I had praised him for who he is.
It started to add up. For the previous two days, I had turned off the music during my drive and had dynamic, conversational prayer. It had been exactly what I needed. But if we only allow ourselves to see God as a best friend, we soon lose sight of his majesty. His power. His magnificence. And if we begin to interact with God as a peer, we will have little reason for gratitude.
What we do not always see is the dynamic relationship of the Trinity, of the three-in-one. We might miss how amazing that is if we just have “fireside chats” with Jesus. We might miss that we should praise. And I remembered that I should.
I opened a new cd that I had recently purchased and began to sing along. Yet again the words and the sequence of songs spoke powerfully into my circumstances. God was my DJ, and God was also my audience. He was my reason for praise. And, within, 15 minutes, God had completely undone my self-imposed prison of thanklessness. As the day progressed, I began to see God everywhere. I began to write down all the things that I saw him doing, and I could not keep up.
By the end of the day I had gone from having no reason to be thankful to understanding that God uses EVERYthing. Why the change? Praise. Praise had shifted my eyesight. You do not praise one below, nor even one next to. To praise is to set one above, to rightfully elevate. I had rightfully elevated God by my praise, and that allowed me to take my rightful place: in his hand.
God s worthy of our praise – the only one worthy of our praise. If you want to experience your own deep sense of gratitude for what God has done, begin with praise.