October 4th – The Pulling Power of Praise

One of the best known invocations in the English language Prayer book is this:
O Lord, open my lips and my mouth will declare your praise. Psalm 51:15
But normally it is not our lips which are closed, it is our hearts.
The prayer for today is to ask God to open our lives and fill them with praise, with thankfulness and with gratitude. The springs of praise are not in our mouths. Praise does not dwell in any part of us by natural gift. Praise has no abiding place in our instincts. It is a gift of God, not given us for what it does for God, but for what God does for us, when we do it. When I praise God I open my locked up selfish little heart which, without Him, is cold and dark. When I praise, I ignore for a moment my needs, my complaints and my life. I enthrone God and that alone is the proper attitude of my soul, and for which it was made. In every other position I am filled with self: occupied by self-interest and self importance,self survival and self satisfaction, self consciousness and self glorying: self pity and self poverty, self righteousness and self justifying. Without praise to God, I am all ME!
When I enthrone God I am for a while set free from the sin of all humanity, that of my obsession with myself. Praise opens the locked doors in my life and pulls apart that smothering, choking, iron curtain. I am then open to the light and warmth of glory – selfless glory. In praise I can sing the music of creation. In praise I can be truly at home – lit, warmed, accepted and included. When I praise the Lord I am open to the selfless sunshine of glory, and I reach up and grow towards that light. Praising God is not for God’s benefit, but for ours. Hence:
O Lord, open my lips and my mouth will declare your praise.
But Psalm 51 does not just ask for this. It sets it in the only true context of praising: that of admitting and confessing our sin. Only when we know we are forgiven and right with God, can we truly praise. Here is just one telling fragment of the Psalm:
Restore to me the joy of your salvation ….Then I will teach transgressors your ways, and sinners will turn back to you. Psalm 51: 12a and 13
A Prayer:
Truly praising you, Lord, is the only genuine attraction of all evangelism. The enjoyment of you Lord is infectious.
Now read Psalm 51.

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Thought 4 The Day

What ever your heart clings to and confides in, that is really your God. (Martin Luther)

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