Awe of God!
Think of a time when you saw something that you were in awe of. I think of the beauty of the White Mountains covered in snow that I viewed from atop Mount Jefferson. Or, holding my son, Caleb, and daughter, Naomi, for the first time after witnessing their birth. I can tell you about it though these feelings are at some level beyond explaining.
CS Lewis struggled to get hold of praising God. He finally discovered, “If God is the greatest object of admiration behind all other beauties and magnificent [and I would add, human innovations and exploits], then to praise and admire God would be [as Lewis discovered] ‘simply to be awake, to have entered the real world,” while not doing so would be to become far more profoundly crippled than those who are [seriously physically ill or injured].”
How do you think “Praising the Lord” makes us “awake to the real world?”
Read Psalm 146:1-10. Read it again, this time out loud and with passion. This is the beginning of living in awe of God. Keep at this. You might experience an almost fervent desire to stop. This is our bent toward cosmic ingratitude where we have come to live in the illusion that we are spiritually self-sufficient. You see, if we take seriously the command in Psalm 1-2, “Praise the Lord. Praise the Lord, my soul. I will praise the Lord all my life” then, well, we are obligated to God and must resist to live as we wish.
Yet, when you learn to “Praise the Lord” as the beginning and the goal of all your praying, well, you will come to experience from Ephesians 3:19, “that you may be filled to the measure of all the fullness of God.” The “fulness of God” speaks of how God makes his presence and power known in your life and our world.
Here are some things to consider as you get ready to engage with the message this coming Sunday:
How does your praising God lead to a truer connection to God?
If you praise the Lord (even if you praise with little or no passion) in the midst of a time of pain and struggle, what do you think God will do in your life?
If praise becomes the beginning and the goal of your praying, how will this effect and shape 1) your prayers of confession and repentance and 2) your prayers for your needs and the needs of others?
See you Sunday!