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By Donna O’Neal – Columbia, Missouri

When my daughter, Mandolin, was young, she played on an intramural soccer team that was participating in “The Show-Me State Games.”

At the end of their championship game, the score was tied. Mandolin was one of three chosen for the “shoot out.”

She was first, kicked the ball into the goal, and captured their victory! We were screaming, jumping, hands in the air, yelling, and dancing around.

We were going crazy, possibly leaping and praising as much as the lame man praised God for his healing in Acts 3.

“And [Peter] took [the lame man] by the right hand and lifted him up, and immediately his feet and ankle bones received strength.

So he, leaping up, stood and walked and entered the temple with them – walking, leaping, and praising God.” Acts 3:7-8 NKJV

Image courtesy of Distant Shores Media/Sweet Publishing

Fans of the Father

Is anything wrong with our expressive enthusiasm for sports? No! As long as praise for our heavenly Father is more than that of a worldly event.

Hmm…how is it we can physically manifest praise at a sports (or other) event so naturally, and not be nearly so natural or colorful in praise before our Creator?

If everything has a spiritual aspect and everything in life either comes from God or not, then praise has to be in our thoughts always, in our hearts, to overflow naturally in the physical, thus pleasing our heavenly Father!

Our minds and thoughts can get infected by “the prince of the power of the air” (Ephesians 2:2).

Words are so powerful! If we over-contemplate worldly words, they become a part of our thoughts, our hearts, and too soon we are manifesting that in our spoken words.

Our hearts begin to harden to what God himself actually says.

“Thus saith the LORD: “Cursed be the man that trusteth in man, and maketh flesh his arm, and whose heart departeth from the LORD.” Jeremiah 17:5 KJV

Praise God for repentance! I believe praising God holds answers to prayer!

“Heal me, Lord, and I will be healed; save me and I will be saved, for You are the one I praise.” Jeremiah 17:14 NIV

Praise reflects our attitude of heart.

“Keep your heart with all diligence, for out of it spring the issues of life.” Proverbs 4:23 NKJV

“As in water face reflects face, so a man’s heart reveals the man.” Provers 27:19 NKJV

So, if our hearts reveal us, and praise is paramount to seeing God’s word come to pass, then maybe it looks like this—we fill our lives with overflowing praise for Abba Father, and it reflects in our hearts.

We are thankful that God will take care of us in all situations. Therefore, we worship God with extravagant respect, honor and devotion!

We sing, speak, and shout our praises to God, pleased and relieved, knowing that our Heavenly Father brings all the good in our lives. We overflow and praise continuously for our Father’s love for us!

Photo courtesy of Pxfuel 

“Rejoice always, pray continually, give thanks in all circumstances; for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus.” 1 Thessalonians 5:16-18 NKJV

It is written throughout God’s word. Jesus, our example, our Savior, our King, praised God and looked to God for everything (and surely still does).

“Let us come into His presence with thanksgiving [pleased and relieved]; let us make a joyful noise to Him with songs of praise.” Psalm 95:2 ESV

In a short (worth the read) blog called The Praise Cure by Kenneth Copeland Ministries, a missionary, Rosa Smith, had been diagnosed with small pox with no cure. She asked God in faith what she should do.

God answered Rosa with “Praise me. Praise me for my faithfulness to my word.” The doctors could not find an answer for her smallpox. “But God did. Praise was the cure.”

God did not tell Rosa to pray harder, gather more people to pray, or have more faith, He simply told her to praise him for his faithfulness to his word!

The Battle is His

Another example is found in 1 Chronicles 20. The city of Judah, God’s people, found out that a large army of Moabites and Ammonites was headed towards them to conquer the city.

King Jehoshaphat gathers together the people to fast and pray in order to seek the Lord’s guidance. His answer came through Jahaziel:

“As all the men of Judah stood before the Lord with their little ones, wives, and children, the Spirit of the Lord came upon one of the men standing there.

His name was Jahaziel, son of Zechariah, son of Benaiah son of Jeiel, son of Mattaniah, a Levite who was a descendant of Asaph.

He said, “Listen, all you people of Judah and Jerusalem! Listen, King Jehoshaphat! This is what the Lord says:

Do not be afraid! Don’t be discouraged… for the battle is not yours, but God’s.” 2 Chronicles 20:13-15 (NLT)

Singers and musicians were placed in front of the army. As they marched to battle the singers began to sing praises, and as they began to praise, God caused the enemies to turn on each other.

“At the very moment they began to sing and give praise, the Lord caused the armies of Ammon, Moab, and Mount Seir to start fighting among themselves.” 2 Chronicles 20:22 NLT

King Jehoshaphat’s army reached the battleground and the fight was over! God had already fought their battle, and all of the armies then realized it was God who fought for Judah and feared them.

Our Heavenly Father fights our battles while we do as he pleases and PRAISE!

So beautifully simple! God bears the burden of our deliverance, as we simply praise, because our Father is always faithful to His Word!

All Glory to Him

In all things, let’s give God the glory. We worship with a relieved heart that our heavenly Father, our protector, our provider, our healer, is working for us.

Our focus is to continuously praise Him for his faithfulness to his word!

For another look at the story of Jehoshaphat and the power of praise, check out Praise: The Posture of Our Hearts.

Donna O’Neal has been married to Dan for nearly 18 years, and they have two grandchildren, Averi (10), and Arlo (6). 

She is a retired music teacher and still loves playing music every chance she gets. Dan is a retired behavioral specialist, formerly working with kids and adults with intellectual disabilities.

Both enjoy being outdoors and spending time with area believers.