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Praise is the language of faith. Thanksgiving and praise is faith expressed and faith expressed releases the power of God!
If you're like me, you are always searching for spiritual secrets. Secrets that will help you pray more effectively. Secrets that will help you bring God's mighty power into places of need so His will can be done on earth as it is in heaven.

Recently, as I was studying the prayer life of the apostle Paul, I saw a pattern that revealed just such a secret. It was a pattern of praise and thanksgiving.

I've long known that Paul was a great man of prayer. I've read, studied, and prayed many times the prayers he penned for the New Testament Church. But lately I've been especially impressed by the fact that Paul praised and gave thanks to God as much as he prayed!

It's true. In fact, judging by the scriptural record, Paul never prayed without giving thanks! Read the following verses and you'll see what I mean:
We give thanks to God always for you all, making mention of you in our prayers...
(1 Thess. 1:2)

We give thanks to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, praying always for you....
(Col. 1:3)

I do not cease to give thanks for you, making mention of you in my prayers....
(Eph. 1:16)

I thank God, whom I serve with a pure conscience, as my forefathers did, as without ceasing I remember you in my prayers night and day....
(1 Tim. 1:3)

I thank my God upon every remembrance of you, always in every prayer of mine making request for you all with joy....
(Phil. 1:3-4)
Even at the Midnight Hour
Clearly, Paul cultivated a continual attitude of praise and thanksgiving toward God in his own life. What's more, he taught other believers to do the same.

He told the Thessalonians to give thanks "in everything" (1 Thess. 5:18). He instructed the Ephesians to "give thanks always" (Eph. 5:20). He urged the Philippians to make "every prayer and supplication with thanksgiving" (Phil. 4:6).

And when he wrote the Colossians, he said, "...whatever you do in word or deed, do all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through Him" (Col. 3:17).

What's more, when it came to giving thanks and praise to God, Paul didn't just talk the talk. He walked the walk. And he did it amidst some very tough circumstances.

In the city of Philippi, for example, where Paul went to preach the Gospel in obedience to the instruction of the Lord, he and his ministry partner, Silas, ran into trouble. An angry mob tore their clothes off, beat them with rods, then threw them in prison with their feet in stocks. Did they complain? Did they cry about how badly they had been treated?

No! They practiced what Paul preached. As they sat in that prison wounded and bleeding, Acts 16:25 says, " midnight Paul and Silas were praying and singing hymns to God...." They were praising and giving thanks!

That's Not Just Scriptural—It's Smart
What happened next is very significant. As they were singing and praising, "Suddenly there was a great earthquake, so that the foundations of the prison were shaken; and immediately all the doors were opened and everyone's chains were loosed" (v. 26). Then the jailer came running in, fell down before Paul and Silas...and before the night was over, he and his whole household were saved.

That proves—it's not only scriptural to give thanks and praise to God in your midnight hour—it's just plain smart. Why? Because praise is the language of faith. Thanksgiving and praise is faith expressed and faith expressed releases the power of God!

The Bible reveals that fact again and again. When the Israelites shouted to the Lord for giving them the city of Jericho, the power of God was released and walls of that city fell down flat (Josh. 6:16,20).

When King Jehoshaphat sent the praisers in front of the army of Judah, their enemies turned against each other and God's people got the victory without even having to fight (2 Chron. 20).

In Acts 13, when some prophets and teacher at Antioch were ministering to the Lord with worship and praise, the Holy Spirit moved in power and launched the mighty ministry of the apostle Paul.

How Full Is Your Praise Basket?
Wonderful things happen when God's people praise Him!

In her book Healing From Heaven, Lilian Yeomans tells of a missionary to China who contracted smallpox. The doctors told her that she would probably die, and even if she didn't, she would be severely disfigured by the disease. Instead of weeping at the news, however, the missionary confounded the doctors by praising the Lord.

Her physicians thought she was delirious but she wasn't. She was simply following the instructions of Jesus, the Greatest Physician of all. He had given her a vision of two baskets. One which was half full contained her praising. The other which was full contained her illness. The Lord promised that once the praise basket was filled to overflowing, the pox on her body would be gone.

So she kept the hospital ringing with shouts and songs of praise. Sure enough, in the end the smallpox vanished without leaving as much as a single scar.

Don't Put Your Mouth on Automatic Pilot
"But Lynne," someone might say, "I praise and thank the Lord every Sunday in our worship services at church. Why don't I experience the power of God like that?"

Often it's because we do it by rote instead of by the inspiration of the Holy Spirit. We just routinely sing songs we've sung a hundred times before, or read words from a songbook (or projector screen) without considering what they mean.

Even when we speak out our own praises or worship in tongues, we often put our mouth on automatic pilot and just say the same thing over and over.

That kind of praise doesn't minister to the Lord at all. It doesn't bless Him because it doesn't come from our hearts. There's no spiritual energy in it. There's no power in it. It's as empty as the clamoring of a broken record.

Even if the things we're saying come from the Bible, even if they're the truth, truth alone is not enough. It is dry as dust if it doesn't come forth by inspiration of the Holy Spirit as He moves on our hearts.

That's why Jesus said God is seeking worshippers who worship Him in "spirit and in truth" (John 4:23). It takes both of those elements to produce true worship.

When we worship in spirit and in truth, we don't just repeat praise songs and phrases like a bunch of Pentecostal parrots. We search our hearts and find those truths the Holy Spirit is quickening to us. We thank Him and praise Him for those things we are truly grateful for.

That's the spirit of Thanksgiving, and it will bless both you and the Lord!

Mac Hammond Ministries
All rights reserved.

Author Biography

Lynne Hammond
Web site: Lynne Hammond Ministries
A teacher and an author, Lynne publishes a newsletter called Prayer Notes, has written numerous books, and currently serves as the national prayer director for Daughters for Zion. Her passion for inspiring and leading others into the life of Spirit-led prayer continues to take her around the world to minister to believers whose heart cry, like hers, is “Lord, teach me to pray!”

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