In kindergarten, I was taught that to make a word that ends with “y” plural all I have to do is change the “y” to “ies”. For instance, the plural of fly is flies. Similarly, I can say the plural of “pray” is “praise” (permit me for the grammatical error).
Thank God for prayer but praise work faster. The truth about prayer is that it moves the hands of God but praise moves the heart of God. Which would you prefer?
Prayers can be deferred but praise commands God’s urgent attention. God values the praise of mankind because that is the main reason for man’s creation. In Isaiah 43:7&21 God says
They are my own people, and I created them to bring me glory.
They are the people I made for myself, and they will sing my praises!
So they asked Jesus, Do you hear what they are saying? Indeed I do, answered Jesus. Haven't you ever read this scripture? You have trained children and babies to offer perfect praise. Matt 21:16
Write down for the coming generation what the lord has done, so that people not yet born will praise him. Psalm 102:18
The reason we don’t receive answers for prayer is because we pray amiss, so friends you can pray amiss but you can never praise amiss. Praise put a sign of urgency on our mail to God, and a thanksgiving son will always receives preferential treatment. We don’t even know what we pray for, most times we pray in doubt and in sin, for you to receive answers for your prayers you must be whole because God will always send His angels to deliver answers and angels must follow certain protocol before you get delivery but when you praise God, He steps down from His throne for your sake. How do I know this? In the book of Act, the Bible gives us two basic illustrations about God’s response to prayer and praise.
In Acts 12:5-10;
So Peter was kept in jail, but the people of the church were praying EARNESTLY to God for him. The night before Herod was going to bring him out to the people, Peter was sleeping between two guards. He was tied with two chains, and there were guards on duty at the prison gate. Suddenly an angel of the Lord stood there, and a light shone in the cell. The angel shook Peter by the shoulder, woke him up, and said, Hurry! Get up! At once the chains fell off Peter's hands. Then the angel said, Tighten your belt and put on your sandals. Peter did so, and the angel said, put your cloak around you and come with me. Peter followed him out of the prison, not knowing, however, if what the angel was doing was real; he thought he was seeing a vision. They passed by the first guard station and then the second, and came at last to the Iron Gate that opens into the city. The gate opened for them by itself, and they went out. They walked down a street, and suddenly the angel left Peter.
After several hours of fervent prayers (that had probably lasted for days) by the church, the only thing God did was to just send an angel to get Peter out of the prison. Please note that the manual gate was turned to an auto gate by the presence of an angel (in verse 10). But in Act 16:25-30 something bigger happened, God came down Himself;
About midnight Paul and Silas were praying and SINGING hymns to God, and the other prisoners were listening to them. Suddenly there was a violent earthquake, which shook the prison to its foundations. At once all the doors opened, and the chains fell off all the prisoners. The jailer woke up, and when he saw the prison doors open, he thought that the prisoners had escaped; so he pulled out his sword and was about to kill himself. But Paul shouted at the top of his voice; don’t harm yourself we are all here! The jailer called for a light, rushed in, and fell trembling at the feet of Paul and Silas. Then he led them out and asked, Sirs, what must I do to be saved?
This time around the door did not just open but all the doors were let loose and all prisoners set free. When God steps in, there is always a lasting impact, He will not just sneak you out of that situation but will cause an earthquake for your freedom and liberation. Paul and Silas did not sing praise fervently all they did was just to sing hymns and God came down.
God can not turn down your praise, it is impossible. That is His own food, He doesn’t ask you for sandwich, bugger or hot dogs all you can give God is praise. Praise is the life blood of God: But thou art holy, O thou that inhabitest the praises of Israel. Psalm 22:3 that is why the key card to open the gate to the dwelling of God is thanksgiving and the sole command the door to His court responds to is praise.
Enter the Temple gates with thanksgiving; go into its courts with praise. Give thanks to him and praise him. Psalm 100:4.
There is a huge difference between thanksgiving and praise. Thanksgiving is done gentlemanly, that is, when you raise your hands and say “thank you God for this or that” but praise is more intense, it means misbehaving in the presence of God. You dance and dance and dance as if you are a baby. My pastor is one of the richest men in my country but you need to see how this man dances whenever it praise time. We don’t joke with praise. God will go to any length to protect those who praise Him and He can do anything, just about anything for them. People that praise God do not need to lift a finger to fight their battles, God automatically respond on their behalf. Oh! I love the story of Jehoshaphat. He did an interesting thing that gave him and the Judeans victory in 2Chronicles 20:18 & 21. In verse 22-24 God responded with another lasting impact;
When they began to sing, the Lord threw the invading armies into a panic. The Ammonites and the Moabites attacked the Edomite army and completely destroyed it, and then they turned on each other in savage fighting. When the Judean army reached a tower that was in the desert, they looked toward the enemy and saw that they were all lying on the ground dead. Not one had escaped.
The best kind of praise is the type you give God while you are in pain (suffering, lack or depression, etc.), it puts the devil in confusion and spur God to action. The best blow you can give to the devil is confusion. That is what praise does. Praise also demonstrate your faith better than prayer.
Praise can turn things around for you. Even when God Himself closes your case praise can easily turn His decision around in your favour. There was a King named Hezekiah who was really ill and God sent His prophet to warn him that he will not recover (2 kings 20:1) but he reminded God of something in verse 3, he said; “…..and that I have always tried to do what you wanted me to….” (and remember as quoted earlier, the only thing God requires of us is praise), immediately God said “oh! Sorry Hezekiah. Now Isaiah, turn back and say to him that I have added to him 15 more years” (verse 4-6).
My pastor will always say that God has no problem blessing you as long as you have no problem returning the trophy back unto Him. Of course, the trophy is praise.
I am the worst sinner you can think of but you need to see me dance before God in my room and yet I still don’t praise Him well enough but He just keep surprising me with unmerited blessings. You don’t have to wait till you are in church before you praise God, it can be even in your bedroom, office, etc. Every morning when you wake devote five minutes of your time to God in thanksgiving and praise.
Remember, when you sweat before God everything in life sweats for you, that is, you can not sweat for God and still sweat over your finance, over sickness, over depression, over failure, etc., that will make God a liar. You can not give Him what He wants and not get what you want. My God never lies.
Always endeavour to carry around you, in any situation, an atmosphere of gladness. Never get tired of praising God because He is never tired of blessing you.
You can climb even higher more in that career if you praise Him a little bit more. What is it that is giving you concern? Praise God for it and He will act in your favour.
David enjoyed God’s favour and blessings because he was a king that knows how to praise God. Nebuchadnezzar was dethroned because he failed to give God praise (Daniel 4:28-33) and as soon as he realized his mistakes and gave God praise everything he lost was restored back to him. Please it is very dangerous not to give God thanks and praise because when you failed to acknowledge Him you are merely telling Him that you got all you have all by yourself and it signifies contest with God. Can any man contest with his maker? Can a pot say to the potter; ‘I am better than you’? God hates proud men for He is a jealous God and will never share His glory and praise with anyone (Act 12:23).
Give God what belongs to Him and enjoy what belongs to you.