Seven times a day I praise you for your righteous rules. Psalm 119:164
Praise is reserved for Sunday morning worship. It does not characterize a fraction of most daily prayers. Knowing this, and reading of David’s frequency to praise God for His Word, I can be motivated by guilt to do better in order to be more like David. I can start building ‘prayers of praise’ into my day’s calendar, consciously making an effort every hour to say the words. How long can I perform under such pressure? A while. Eventually though, I’ll burn out because the problem wasn’t my schedule. It was my heart.
Such is the dilemma of how to apply scripture.
§ Job forgave his three insensitive friends. I should forgive mine.
§ Paul said that he was content in all circumstances. I should quit complaining.
§ Jesus said, “Not my will, but thine be done.” I should resign myself to whatever God wants and tell my heart to expect less.
§ James said that my tongue needs to be controlled. I’ll choose to sit on inappropriate comments.
Welcome to the way I used to live. This outlook toward my Christian life was shallow and consisted of nothing more than behavior modification. The Word became an exhaustive ‘to-do’ list while my heart languished for want of attention.
If I fail to praise, it is because my heart is not engaged. I am capable of praising other people and other things. I will go on and on about what is valuable to me, what is life changing and life saving. If I don’t praise God, spontaneously, for His Word, it is only because I haven’t found it to be my lifeline.
§ Wow, David praises God seven times a day for His Word.
§ I’m not sure my heart feels that passionately.
§ What is keeping my heart from feeling that way?
§ Lord, show me.
§ Awaken my heart to the power of Your Words. Give me the grace to apply them so that when I do, they save my life.
§ I see it, Lord. I praise what I love. I praise what has changed my life.
It’s always about my heart. Not about my performance. Thank you for teaching me to live love-driving, not guilt-driven. Amen