30 Seconds to a Deeper Relationship with God?
I started a new habit that has changed my perspective, my attitude, and has taken my walk with God to new depths–which is saying a lot, since I’ve been a believer for decades. It takes less than 30 seconds. I do it first thing in the morning and the last thing before bed.
And, no, I’m not talking about a diet, exercise, or pyramid scheme.
Here’s how it started and how it’s changed me…
Last month, my pastor/hubby, JP, and I were discussing what we’d been reading in the Bible recently. It’s his practice to read at least one Psalm a day along with whatever else he reads in scripture. But this day, he made a kind of “no-duh” observation that changed both of us.
JP noted that David praised God whether his circumstances warranted it (from a human vantage point), or not. In fact, Psalm 145 – 150 (which JP happened to read that morning) commands us to praise God. Psalm 145 even tells us what to praise God for!
Here’s a portion of what JP read:
6 Let everything that has breath praise the Lord.
Praise the Lord.
I will exalt you, my God the King;
I will praise your name forever and ever.
2 Every day I will praise you
and extol your name forever and ever.
3 Great is the Lord and most worthy of praise;
his greatness no one can fathom.
8 The Lord is gracious and compassionate,
slow to anger and rich in love.
9 The Lord is good to all;
he has compassion on all he has made.
10 All your works praise you, Lord;
your faithful people extol you.
The Lord is trustworthy in all he promises
and faithful in all he does.
14 The Lord upholds all who fall
and lifts up all who are bowed down.
The Lord is righteous in all his ways
and faithful in all he does.
18 The Lord is near to all who call on him,
to all who call on him in truth.
19 He fulfills the desires of those who fear him;
he hears their cry and saves them.
20 The Lord watches over all who love him,
but all the wicked he will destroy.
21 My mouth will speak in praise of the Lord.
Let every creature praise his holy name
forever and ever.
That morning, about six weeks ago, JP simply said, “praising God is a command.”
Well….duh. Of course.
Except, since it’s a command, doesn’t that mean we actually need to do it? Like, every day? Even when we don’t feel like it? Or, even when we don’t see, hear, or read about how other Christians make this a habit?
Because, frankly, in my Christian experience, most believers I know praise God on Sunday, or when God answers prayer, or when things go well, but, every day? Out loud? Not so much.
Praising God as a way of life isn’t one of the spiritual disciplines we talk about in Christian circles all that much. Don’t get me wrong, it’s not that we don’t talk about it at all, and it’s not that we don’t practice praise sometimes. We do.
But, I don’t think we praise God to the degree that He deserves our praise.
Or, perhaps I should simply speak for myself; I haven’t praised God to the degree He deserves my praise.
(Side note: On this side of heaven, none of us ever arrive in our walk with God. There’s no shame in realizing we have areas we need to grow in–as long as we actually change and grow.)
In our American Christian experience, most of us equate Monday-Friday praise with listening to worship music. And that’s great. But, it’s incomplete.
Praise isn’t something we practice with our ears, praise is something we proclaim with our lips.
So, back to my conversation with JP. He says, “praising God is a command.” I respond with, “Then, I guess we should do it.”
So, we did.
As we stood in the middle of our bathroom (don’t you love how the most spiritual conversations can take place anywhere?) I started praising God, out loud. I realize this may sound weird, and truthfully, I felt awkward at first. In retrospect, if I hadn’t just jumped right in and started, I’d have placed praise on the shelf where I’ve too often placed other commands I mentally mark, “do this some time.” Only “some time” never seems to come.
My “standing-at-the bathroom-sink” praise was nothing fancy; in fact, it was super basic.
“God, I praise you that you see me and you hear me right now. I praise you because you saved me. I praise you, God, for the gift of family.”
It was surprisingly powerful.
That night, after JP turned out the light and we lay in bed, I bravely spoke into the darkness. “God, I praise you for giving us another day. I praise you for your care. I praise you for your love. I praise you because you are faithful.”
In the stillness of the dark, JP chimed in.
I’m not sure words can express the holiness we felt envelop us in that moment.
It. Was. Beautiful.
So, every morning and every evening for the past six weeks, I’ve started and ended my day with praise. Again, nothing fancy; just three or four sentences, said to God, out loud.
Sometimes JP has joined me, sometimes it’s just me. Or, rather, just me and God. Because, as the Bible tells us, “God inhabits the praises of His people.” (Psalm 22:3)
And, I can tell you from firsthand experience, that He absolutely does!
You are loved,
P.S. If you haven’t listened to my podcast, “That’s Just What I Needed” I’d love you to join me! It’s a great way to spend time while you’re driving, walking, or doing household chores. You can find the “That’s Just What I Needed” podcasts everywhere you listen to podcasts–Apple, Spotify, Stitcher, Podchaser, and many more!
More than a Bible teacher, Donna is a self-described Bible explainer. A colorful storyteller who combines Biblical truth with real-life anecdotes, her messages not only help listeners understand God’s Word, but most important, grasp how to live it out in real life.