“The Lord inhabits the praises of His people.” Where real praise is, there God is. It is impossible to overestimate the power, victory, blessing, healing, encouragement and inspiration embodied in this wonderful secret of praising the Lord. “Praise the Lord at all times.”
“Oh! But you know that I could never put anything on, I never could praise the Lord unless I feel like it!” someone exclaims.
Unless you feel like it! Oh! Is that the gauge by which you measure your offerings of praise? Is that the foundation upon which your Christian experience is based?
My dear brother, sister: Feelings are a poor and very uncertain guide upon which to rely when it comes to praising the Lord, or any other Christian experience. Only one man in the Bible that I know of went by feeling—that was dear old Isaac, and you remember how he felt the hands and arms of Jacob, his son, and how deceived he was.
Oh, dear hearts, praise Him, not because you happen to feel like it, but praise Him “at all times” and let His praise “be continually in your mouth.” Because He is worthy.
Begin to praise Him whether you feel like it or not, and you soon will feel like it. Why, it is impossible for me to lift up my hands and begin to praise and adore my Master without a downpour of His blessing that is as rain to the thirsty fields and flowers, or as the anointing oil upon my head, running down to the borders of my garments.
“Let everything that has breath praise the Lord.” Why, according to David, the only excuse you have for not praising the Lord is being out of breath!
“Oh, Sister, I praise Him in my heart. I could never shout aloud or be demonstrative. It is not my make-up or disposition.”
Beloved, when you have put on your beautiful garments of praise, you are lifted above your own make-up and disposition and swing far out into the realm of the Spirit. As for praising the Lord in your heart, why, your heart is no different from anyone else’s. When it gets just so full of glorious praises and adoration and He becomes so real, your heart will run over and you will shout His praises, and your voice will be blended with the voices of all the other redeemed ones and soar upward to the Lamb that sits upon the throne.
I was much impressed recently, while in New York, by the notices posted on the subway and elevated trains and in other public places, warning the people of the severe penalty awaiting anyone who should try in any way to break the morale of the soldiers by talking of possible defeat, or failure, or by lauding the strength of the enemy. This should be a warning to Christians, also.
[For example], two saints attend the same meeting. One enters with a long face, takes her seat, looks solemnly about and exclaims, “Oh, Lord, what is the matter here? There is such a binding spirit, such a power of darkness.” Immediately every eye and every thought is directed to the devil, to darkness and binding spirits, and of course—like Peter when he got his eye on the waves—when we get our eyes on the devil, we have them off Jesus. When we advertise and meditate upon the greatness and strength of the devil, and show fear, we underestimate the power of the great I Am, the Mighty Conqueror who never lost a battle.
The other saint enters the same meeting, where it seems that not one breath of heavenly gales is stirring, feels the same pressure upon the meeting, and refusing to look at or recognize the enemy, says: “This is the time to praise our Jesus. Thy glory and presence fill the heavens and the earth. They fill my heart just now. It overflows and fills this room.”
Such faith and praise is contagious. The fire of unwavering confidence in God that burns within this temple soon leaps over its parapets, spreads first to those in the seats nearby, then on to the farthest corner of the room, inspiring, encouraging, lifting up drooping heads, strengthening feeble knees, and in a moment every eye is fixed on Jesus … the Latter Rain is heard pattering on the roofs, running down the troughs, overflowing the rain-barrels, the dry ground is saturated, and the wilderness and the desert places are blossoming as the rose!
Adapted from This Is That by Aimee Semple McPherson, copyright 1923. Published by the International Church of the Foursquare Gospel.