revdrwalter-t-richardson.jpgI 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 AM. Scott Peck begins his bestseller The Road Less Traveled with three simple, indisputable words: “Life is difficult.” There is hardly anyone that would argue with that.

Those words by Peck were made even more real to me when I recently received a call from a friend who, after more than 20 years of service in his government job, was being released. I advised him that his faith should not fail and that his worship of God should continue even in these economically challenging times. For even those who are financially successful find these times very challenging.

There are those who have as their mission assistance to the marginalized and even they have seen their own portfolios diminish in value. It’s not uncommon to hear words like “downsizing,” “re-evaluation,” “re-engineering,” “re-structuring,” “lay-offs,” “termination” and “elimination” used at least once a day. For many businesses, breaking even is seen as profitable and slight decreases are determined normal.

Yes, the current human pilgrimage is pressure-packed. There is pressure to make it, pressure to succeed, pressure to pay bills on time. Universally, it seems like 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, and more cents than dollars.

God’s servant David was a profoundly privileged man but found himself living under great pressure partly because of his loyalty to God. 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, organized his priorities and then, lastly, 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 and doing something as a physical signal that God is in control.

Singing, testifying, sharing, loving, smiling, embracing and being kind are ways to praise the Lord. Praise means reflecting on the end product and not focusing necessarily on the process, because you know God’s people will always triumph over troubles.

But praise has to be practiced. Praise must become habitual. The Lord’s name is to be blessed at all times. 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, charges, pressures, perplexities, and problems, we have to praise Him for His power, His provisions and His peace.

Lord, as I release my praise to you, I know you are releasing the pressure in my life. Thank you for the victory. Amen!

Walter T. Richardson is pastor-emeritus of Sweet Home Missionary Baptist Church in South Miami-Dade County and chairman of the Miami-Dade Community Relations Board. He may be contacted at Website: