[#pictureLent] March 27: PRAISE

By Rev. Adam R. Knapp
First UMC
Edna, Texas

First, read Psalm 146:1-5 

Before I became Methodist clergy, I attended a charismatic church in Indiana. Worship services at this church lasted about three hours every Sunday, and featured about an hour and a half of praise in music, testimonies and offerings. 

One day, after the praise band finished its hour-long set, a young man asked if he could share a song. This young man was what some folks call “special needs” or “differently-abled.” We called him James. 

For five minutes, James played one chord on his guitar and sang “Jesus is powerful” at barely above a whisper. The music was not spectacular and James’ singing ability was not going to win The Voice; but to this day it is still the most powerful moment of praise I’ve ever experienced. 
I believe when the Psalmist wrote, “Praise the Lord! Praise the Lord, O my soul!” worshipful acts like what James did were what was intended. 

James gave all he had – his abilities, his passion, his soul – as an offering to the Lord. It was simple and it was beautiful. 

And it was praise.

Praise is our response to God. It is the primary work of the people of God, and it should infuse all our work as the body of Christ. It should be evident in our everyday lives.

In times of joy and times of sorrow, in plenty and in need, we should be people of praise because our hope is in the Lord our God.

Too often we focus on our limitations when God desires our willingness. Like James, we all have the ability to praise no matter our circumstance.

So, I encourage you to practice praise. And, if you have questions about why we should praise the Lord or how do we praise the Lord, well, I will let Rev. Danielle Knapp, my brilliant wife, shed some light on that in the next devotional. 

Discussion/ Reflection Questions: 

1. What are some blessings for which you can offer praise to the Lord? 
2. What ways of praise work best for you? 
3. How can you grow in seeing all of your life as a means of praising God?