By Nathaniel A. Urshan
It is a very unusual thing to note that expressions of praise, coming from the lips of people, to be audible praises that are sounded from the depth of the heart. In recent years, throughout the length and breadth of churchanity and Christianity, the “amen comer” has become silent. People who used to lift their voice in praise are not found today in many church houses in the land of North America.
This is a strange thing because, as far as the Word of God is concerned, we are often urged to praise the Lord. When David wrote, ‘Praise ye the LORD. Praise God in his sanctuary: praise him in the firmament of his power. Praise him for his mighty acts: praise him according to his excellent greatness” (Psalm 150:1-2), he was saying that the Lord enjoyed the praise of the people. And when David said, “Praise ye the LORD,” he was not exhorting his hearers to a profitless drudgery: he was inviting them to a most delightful exercise that actually pays huge dividends of blessings, not only in the spiritual realm but in the physical and material realm as well.
If Not Praise, What?
When we open the gates of our hearts to praise the Lord, we open them to receive the bounty of our Heavenly Father, Who always loves to give an abundance of good gifts to His children. And so the psalmist declared, ‘I will bless the LORD at all times: his praise shall continually be in my mouth” (Psalm 34: 1). The psalmist had discovered than an empty mouth can be the devil’s sounding board for all kinds of gossip, for critical, harmful talk, and for filthy conversation that is harmful to the spiritual character development of the individual.
As long as we are praising the Lord we are not saying things that we shall later regret. Our words are important. The Lord Jesus Christ warned us that every idle word that men shall speak, they shall give account thereof in the day of judgment for, “by thy words thou shalt be justified, and by thy words thou shalt be condemned” (Matthew 12:37). It is in our power, then, either to destroy ourselves or to edify ourselves by the words we speak. Why not edify and help our hearers by holding back words that do not grace or bless? When tempted to give way with some expression, doubt, fear, or discontent, let us quickly remember the glorious promises of God and simply say, “Praise the Lord.”
It is amazing how the utterance of a single praise can dispel the gloom and fill the heart with song. Many years ago on an Indianapolis street I met one of the ladies of the church that I pastored. Those of you who are familiar with the apostolic Pentecostal language will recall that “Praise the Lord” is the first greeting that is offered by many people who are Spirit-filled and who love the Lord Jesus Christ. I was walking between a businessman and an attorney in our city when a fine lady greeted me with “Praise the Lord.” I, in turn, expressed the same statement to her. There was quietness as the two men and I continued to walk down the street. After a little while the attorney asked,
“What did she mean?”
“What did she say?” I replied.
“She said, ‘Praise the Lord.”‘
“That’s exactly what she meant,” I answered.
Then he made this observation: “Why not keep that for the church?”
It Is Not Relegated to the Church Building Only
I would like to say this to you who are reading this article. The praises of God need to be sounded not only in the church but also on the streets of the great cities, hamlets and villages of every nation. Praises to God need to be sounded across the world today. The praises unto God bring remarkable and glorious demonstration of the power and the presence of God and also helps to keep an unpolluted social climate that has been defiled by the filthiness of not only the people of the street but now through our media, radio, and television. The four-letter words and the ugly expressions are destroying the dignity of mankind.
Let me remind you that praising the Lord can bring us Pentecostal blessings. Go back in memory to that great day when Solomon dedicated his magnificent Temple to God. The king and the Levites had an elaborate musical program planned. The trumpeters had their pieces to play. The choir had songs to sing. The priest had ceremonies to perform. But, suddenly, God’s cloud of glory came down while the people were praising and thanking the Lord and the glory of God filled the house of God so that the priest could not minister.
It is well to have a meeting organized. But we must always be willing to let God disorganize it. When the people of God lift their hearts and voices to heaven in volumes of praise, the cloud of blessing is sure to come upon them.
Praise Brought the Miraculous
It was so on the Day of Pentecost. Day after day the disciples had continued in the Temple praising and blessing God. When the Day of Pentecost came, they were still praising and blessing God when suddenly God’s glory that came in Solomon’s day came down to sanctify this new temple, the living church. For, we read, ‘And suddenly there came a sound from heaven as of a rushing mighty wind, and it filled all the house where they were sitting…They were all filled with the Holy Ghost, and began to speak with other tongues, as the Spirit gave them utterance” (Acts 2:2, 4).
For awhile the disciples, like the priests of Solomon’s day, could not minister, judging by the words of the mockers who said, “These men are full of new wine.” But, by the time the crowd had gathered, Peter was able to stand up and say, “These are not drunken, as ye suppose,” and he preached with such anointing that three thousand people were won to the Lord Jesus Christ that day. The disciples had prepared themselves for the Pentecostal blessing by being continually in the Temple praising and blessing God.
The best way to prepare ourselves to receive the mighty outpouring of the Holy Ghost today is to get a praise to God on our lips. Praise is the highway on which God comes riding triumphantly into the hearts of His people. I want you to know that you are invited to a church where you can open your heart in real and remarkable heart-warming praise. You will find in United Pentecostal churches a desire to praise the Lord. Praising the Lord not only brings Pentecostal blessings but the Lord will bring us joy that satisfies.
If Christians praised the Lord only when they felt like it, there would not be much praising done. The Bible commands us to offer the sacrifice of praise to God, continually. When we offer it to God
continually, praising becomes almost habitual-a way of life. Praise would not be a sacrifice if it did not cost us something.
The Old Testament priests had to offer up sacrifices continually. Nothing was to stop them in this duty. Our duty is to serve God as members of His royal priesthood, always showing forth praises of Him who has called us from darkness into this marvelous light. We have plenty of reason to praise Him. Therefore, let us praise Him, whether we feel like it or not. We will find that the man was right who said, “Often I start praising the Lord simply because I know I ought to but I always end up praising Him simply because I want to.” When we praise the Lord, the joy of His great salvation springs up like a fountain within our hearts, and we are constrained to bless His name.
Notice that the patriarch Abraham set us a good example. He was ninety years old. He had no children because his wife was barren. But the Lord God appeared to him and promised him a son. The Word said that he staggered not at the promise of God through unbelief, but was strong in faith, giving glory to God. He had to walk by faith, not by sight. Everything he could see in the natural indicated he would never have a son, but the Lord had said that he would have a son. He chose to believe God rather than sight, reason, or feelings. And, in the fullness of God’s time, Isaac was born and Abraham’s joy knew no bounds.
One dear elderly child of God said, ‘If I do not praise the Lord, it’s hard to get the victory.” The devil fears our praise to God more than anything else. Try praising God! Be like Abraham, strong in faith, giving glory to God. Stagger not at the promises of God. God has promised to answer your prayer. Praise Him for His willingness to fulfill His promises in your life. Your praising will be the proof of your faith, and your faith will bring the answer. Thou shalt call thy walls Salvation, and thy gates Praise” (Isaiah 60:18).
Let’s keep the praise gates open. Let our hearts be going out to God at all times, day and night, in a constant stream of thanksgiving.
The Lord, in return, will send a constant stream of blessings into our lives. Peace will attend our way; joy will be our portion; victory will be the consummate end: health and prosperity in all that we do will be a sideline blessing. My friend, it pays to praise the Lord!
Praise the Lord During Illness
Let me point this out to you very carefully. A blind man came to a minister for prayer that he might receive his sight. The minister told him that only God could restore eyesight, and he would have to exercise faith and praise the Lord for God’s healing power. He prayed for the man and told him to keep praising God for his healing. This is what Jesus meant when He said, ‘Whosoever shall say … and shall not doubt in his heart, but shall believe that those things which he saith shall come to pass; he shall have whatsoever he saith” (Mark 11:23).
If you will keep reminding the Lord of His promises, you’ll find that victory will come. We demonstrate our faith when we praise the Lord for the answer even before it has come to pass. Then our God sends the answer. There is a treasure chest of God’s divine anointing awaiting you if you will open your heart in wonderful praise and thanksgiving.
Throughout these past two weeks we have seen the floodgates of divine power failing on human lives as men and women opened their hearts in rapturous praise. To you who are bound by sin, drugged by addiction of drugs, dragged to a place of frustration, if you will open your heart in praise to God, He will hear and answer your prayer. Your bondage will be delivered. Your slavery will become freedom. For from the lips of those who praise God there is poured into their hearts an unceasing stream of refreshing.
I challenge you by faith to receive God’s promises with openhearted praise to Him. Make your home, automobile, and even place of work a place of praise to God. Even in times of distress, if you will praise God, that burden will lift. When praise to God is done with a deep sense of faith in God, it brings to the heart of man wondrous miracles to supply his personal needs!
People like to be praised, even when we do not deserve it. This is true in the human realm, and it is also true of God who loves to hear the praise of His people and He deserves it. He is magnificently the Eternal One who has given life and breath and all things. By our faith in Him, we can bring rich treasures of His blessing into our lives, through simple acts of praise.
Is it not time for you to praise God?
THE ABOVE MATERIAL WAS PUBLISHED IN THE OCTOBER EDITION OF THE PENTECOSTAL HERALD, AND WRITTEN BY NATHANIEL URSHAN. THIS MATERIAL HAS
BEEN COPYRIGHTED AND MAY BE USED FOR RESEARCH AND STUDY PURPOSES ONLY.