I was at a concert the other night.
This concert was unique in two ways: one, it was as an acapella group performance, and two, they occasionally sang Gospel songs.
Now, I need to make it clear that the “occasional” Gospel songs in the case of the latter aspect is certainly not a bad thing. This group sang Gospel songs well. They sang an arrangement of two hymns that I love in such a way that was not only reverent, but also genuine in a way I’d never seen on stage before. It was something I could tell all the way from my seat in the audience. Even though they didn’t sing all Gospel music in their concert – they covered some Country, Rock, and Pop hits as well – you could tell that what they did share was from the heart; honest, even.
Dear readers, we should be able to praise God in the same way, wherever we are. We can praise God no matter our station in life, no matter our occupation, our age, or our circumstances.
How do we do so?
But wait, Savannah, you may be asking me, Isn’t prayer mostly just asking God for various things?
Well, here’s the thing: prayer has many facets, one of those being praise. In fact, the first thing Jesus does in His example of prayer for His disciples is say, “Our Father in Heaven, hallowed be Your name” (Matthew 6:9, emphasis added). Jesus demonstrates prayer by praising His Father first thing, quite literally in the first two lines of the prayer.
Not only did Jesus share praises with His Father, but numerous Psalms involve praise (see Psalm 145 and Psalm 100, just to name a couple).
Prayer and supplication to God is a fantastic starting point to praise God wherever we are. Another way to show praise is the following…
By glorifying God with our actions.
“So, whether you eat or drink, or whatever you do, do all to the glory of God” (1 Corinthians 10:31).
But what exactly does that mean? While it does equal verbal praise and praise via songs (Ephesians 5:19), for us as Christians, it means putting aside our complaints and making sure that God is honored by not only our actions, but our attitudes.
I am as guilty of this as the next person; it’s incredibly easy for me to whine and moan about the small things I really don’t want to do, especially when I’d rather do something else. However, these are the moments when we are called to be set apart (1 Peter 2:9); we’re not supposed to complain like everyone else (Philippians 2:14). Will we still complain? Yes, only because we’re fallible human beings in a fallen world. That’s where the grace of Jesus comes into play, and we must strive to do the best we can to give God the glory in all things.
As mentioned earlier, prayer is a great way to glorify God with our actions. And if you are struggling to glorify God with your actions, prayer is a great way to ask God for help with that. But there is another action we can do still…
By serving others.
If we’re talking about ways to glorify God with our actions, service is probably the first thing that comes to mind for many. And it’s for good reason…helping others ultimately helps God. “Truly, I say to you, as you did it to one of the least of these my brothers, you did it to Me” (Matthew 25:40b).
It should go without saying that the greatest example we have of service is Jesus Himself (John 13:1-20). But we also have other examples of service, like Abraham and Sarah hosting the men of the Lord in their own home (Genesis 18:1-15), Mary and Martha opening up their home to Jesus’ disciples (Luke 10:38-42), and the Disciples helping Jesus feed crowds of food in spite of overwhelming odds against them, and with very little food, too (Matthew 14:13-21).
Though their actions didn’t specifically involve praising God verbally, it’s important to note that they were praise and glory to God all the same, because love and obedience to God go hand in hand (John 14:15).
At the end of the day, our goal should be praising God above all else. We should pray our praises directly go God – because thanks to Jesus’ intercession, we are able to do so. We should glorify God with our actions, whether via verbal praise, singing, or our attitudes. And we should glorify God by serving others, because when we serve others, we bring glory and honor to Him.
We truly can praise God wherever we are, no matter what our station in life. God loves us no matter what, and He loves when we show love and praise to Him in return.
By Savannah Cottrell