What does it truly mean to praise God? What is happening in that act?

Does God want our praise because God is lacking in affirmation or needs a confidence boost?

Could it be that it was our spiritual needs that God had in mind when commanding us to practice praise and to “give thanks in all circumstances”?

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Give thanks to the Lord because he is good, because his faithful love lasts forever. Let Israel say it: “God’s faithful love lasts forever!”

Psalm 118:1-2

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“Forever.” What a word! Full of hope and yet also evoking cynicism and doubt. Having presided over countless weddings where that word was spoken, I have a healthy sense of what it does and doesn't mean. For some, it’s religious jargon from a dusty old book. For others, it’s a sweet notion said at weddings because, well, that's just what you're supposed to say on that day.

Yes, this word is tarnished daily by people who use it to carelessly describe fleeting feelings. I get that. I see it all the time.

Yet, this word persists. It is aspirational. It points us to that one reality that is not fleeting, trendy, or unreliable. For me, “forever” points to the central feature of all reality. GOD IS.  That is the deepest comfort in life. And, when that truth is expanded into the idea that God is a “forever love," a divine force of unending affirmation, that comfort grows into total fearlessness.

Behold, God is forever love. What is there to fear? God is forever. God is love.

Wade Griffith

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God, help me to be mindful today of the “forever love” you have for me... the “forever love” that you are! May my courage and comfort always come from the knowledge that you are there, and there for me! Amen.

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Maybe true praise is less in the singing and more in the doing.

Does God want another song to rise from your lips, or would God prefer an act of costly obedience to come from your hands, feet, or mouth?

Forget the palm branches today and instead commit to giving God the palms of your hands!

Wade Griffith

Wade Griffith is a husband, father and pastor in Birmingham, AL. He attended divinity school at Vanderbilt University and leads an inclusive church that warmly welcomes those who are not accepted in other faith communities. When he has a free moment, he enjoys backpacking, reading, running, gardening, Alabama football, and wrestling with his boys.

Reflections on the Way: Lord, I want to be a Christian - This is My Father's World

Ken Medema

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