“I will praise you, my God and King, and bless your name forever and ever. I will bless you every day, and I will praise you forever.” Psalm 145: 1,2
Even those who are financially successful find these times to be very challenging. Those who have as their mission the assistance to the marginalized have seen their portfolios diminish in value.
It’s not uncommon to hear words like downsizing, reevaluation, re-engineering, re-structuring, layoffs, terminations and eliminations at least once a day. For businesses, breaking even is seen as profitable, and slight decreases are determined to be normal.
Yes, the current human pilgrimage is pressure-packed. There is pressure to make it, pressure to succeed, pressure to pay bills on time. There are limited resources, and unlimited challenges.
Schools are under pressure to teach and train with less financial support. Emergency responders are under pressure to rescue and serve with fewer personnel. There are more tasks than time, more work than it’s worth, and more cents than dollars.
God’s servant, David, found himself living under great pressure. The pressure he faced caused him to become disoriented, degraded, deserted, depressed and temporarily defeated. But he fought the pressure when he verbalized his problems to the Lord, and then recognized God’s presence in his life.
He realized his provisions from God for the long haul, then organized his priorities. Last, he energized his praise. If David can praise God under pressure, so can you!
Praise actually means saying something positive about God, and thinking something positive about His work in your life, as well as doing something as a physical signal that God is in control. Singing, dancing, testifying, sharing, loving, smiling, embracing, and being kind are ways to praise the Lord.
Praise means reflecting on the product, and not focusing necessarily on the process, because you know God will always come out on top. And when God wins, so do you!
But praise has to be practiced! Praise must become habitual. Just as the Jews practice saying, “Shalom aleichem (peace be with you),” and the Muslims practice saying, “assalamu alaikum,” the Christian response to be practiced is “Hallelujah,” which literally means, “Praise the Lord.”
If the doctor can practice medicine, and the attorney can practice law, then the saints of God, the servants of God, ought to practice praise. Praise is what we DO! “Hallelujah, anyhow!”
In spite of all the challenges, changes and charges, we need to:
• Praise Him for His power;
• Praise Him for His protection;
• Praise Him for His provisions;
• Praise Him for His prominence;
• Praise Him for His permanence;
• Praise Him for His performance;
• Praise Him for His presence;
• Praise Him for His promises;
• Praise Him for His pardon;
• Praise Him for His peace.
Proactively and persistently practice praise, and the power of the Prince of Peace will protect you, preserve you, and perfect you!
The Rev. Dr. Walter T. Richardson is the senior pastor emeritus of the Sweet Home Missionary Baptist Church, 17201 Southwest 103rd Avenue in Perrine. He is also an adjunct professor of religion at St. Thomas University in Miami Gardens.