What is the one thing that can perk up the ears of another beyond compare? A little PRAISE. As true as it is in the classroom that one will jump through hoops with the right prescription of praise sandwiched amidst constructive criticism, so it is true in our families, our friendships, and in society in general. Perhaps one of the most neglected aspects of our relationships in life, both in earthly and Heavenly realms, is the utterance of praise. The ruts and routines steal our wonder at the everyday miracles around us, which are truly gifts from God and nothing less. I am filled with amazement that He should deign to call us His children when we often bear no resemblance of His majesty. The awe of Psalm 8’s praise to God in regard to His Creation, “When I consider the works of your hands, the stars….what is man that you are mindful of him?” never lessened for my late father, an Auburn University botany professor, steeped in awareness of God’s handiwork, nor should it for even the most casual observer of nature.
In my emerging faith journey, there are times when thanksgiving to God reigns. Thanksgiving is the overwhelming urge to bestow my deepest gratitude on all of the things He has done in my life and in the world. Sometimes, in the low times, all I can muster is an attitude of pleading, “Lord, please help me in this time of crisis!” Sometimes they are offered on another’s behalf, “Father, _________needs Your loving arms right now. Please make Yourself so real to him/her that he/she cannot help but be filled with Your strength and comforting presence. Help __________to learn to lean upon You.” And petitions are all right in God’s book, too!
However, it is PRAISE that is music to God’s ears. Different from thanksgiving, praise is giving glory to God not for what He has done for us, but for WHO HE IS. For His magnificent imagination (look at a platypus!)…for His on-target sense of timing…for His incredible patience with us…for His never-ceasing stamina (on call 24/7)…for His completely perfect wisdom that so defies our own and strips it bare…for His foresight in providing a bridge to Him through Christ…the list goes on and on. Though He doesn’t need the “pats on the back” in His infinite power and might, it is one of the major reasons we were created: to give Him much-deserved glory and honor. And it should FLOW. It does, mightily, in the Book of Psalms and throughout the entire Bible as eyes began to be opened, glimpses at a time, to the multitude of facets that comprise the awesome God we are privileged to serve. Even the tiniest of creatures cannot help but offer praise to such a glorious Creator: “From the lips of children and infants, you have ordained praise.” (Psalm 8:2).
Jesus said, even if we cease to praise God, the stones themselves will cry out (Luke 19:40). If an inanimate object can find something for which to praise God, how much more can we, create by His infinite mercy and in His divinely perfect image? Praise God that He is more than worthy of praise!