Sunday, July 21, 2013

Awaken My Praise... Every Day!

They will celebrate your abundant goodness and joyfully sing of your righteousness.  Psalm 145:7 NIV

As a family, we are so blessed to be going to a wonderful spirit-filled church with awesome worship.  The worship was one of the main reason we decided to make this church our home church.  When the worship begins, the presence of God becomes manifested within minutes of the first song.

One particular Sunday service I was singing with the congregation as usual.  But this time I felt the Lord impress upon my heart that praise and worship are not only to be done at church, but should be bountiful in my daily life.

I've always listened to worship CD's and Christian radio in my car and home, but usually during times when I'm distracted by conversations with my children, cleaning the house or while using the computer.  Even though there is nothing wrong with listening to worship songs as I go about my day, I felt the Lord was asking something different from me.  What if I started taking time each day to be alone and praise the Lord without distractions, even if it were only for a few minutes?

I took this prompting seriously.  So on my way home from church that day I stopped at Walmart to pick up a new CD player since my old one recently died.  When I got home I gathered up all my worship CD's and put them in a place where I would see them everyday and where they would be easily accessible.

The next day I was reading my Bible and I stumbled across a verse in the Psalms.  It said...

Every day I will praise you and extol your name for ever and ever.  Great is the Lord and most worthy of praise; his greatness no one can fathom.  Psalm 145:2-3 NIV

This verse touched my heart in a way I didn't expect.  The words every day stood out on the page.  God had my attention.  I knew He was wanting me to be intentional about setting some uninterrupted time each day to focus on Him in song.  Since He is most worthy of praise, I set about making a new habit of singing to the Lord.

Each day I try to find a quiet moment to sing and focus on the Lord.  Sometimes it will be during my quiet time in the morning before my children are up, other times it's in the car while driving alone.  Most days I'm listening and singing to a song on a CD or my ipod, but sometimes I just sing a song from my heart while washing the dishes.  It varies from day to day.

One of the sweetest aspects of forming the habit of intentional praise is my discovery of solo piano music.  Nothing seems to draw me into the presence of God quite like the tender sounds of this beautiful instrument.  I've discovered some Christian piano artists that I love to listen to.  Some of my favorites are David Nevue, Fernando Ortega and Josh Tesh.  In the evenings I softly play one of their CD's while getting ready for bed.  Playing piano music before bed brings a peaceful atmosphere that helps me to unwind and re-directs my thoughts to God before I go to sleep.  My husband also has commented on the benefits of it.

I cannot say that praising God in song comes automatic to me yet, especially when my days are full and hurried.  Some days I wake in the morning with a song on my heart, other days my mind is racing about the activities of the day.  But I've learned that it's my responsibility to awaken that praise and be deliberate about it.

Singing to the Lord takes my heart and mind to deeper places.  While I sing it helps me to focus on Him, dwell on the truth of who He is and reminds me how greatly He loves me.   That alone is enough reason to make singing to Him a priority in my life.

As I've been writing this, one of my favorite worships songs comes to mind...

Every day, I'll awaken my praise 
And pour out a song from my heart
(Gateway Music, "You Are Good.")
Click here to see the YouTube video of this song.

Let my words be as David's words in this Psalm...

I will praise God's name in song and glorify him with thanksgiving.  Psalm 69:30