Powerful Praise by Deanna Duncan

This Mother’s Day, I found myself in an unusual situation.  My daughter’s emergency dental surgery, medical school finals and important mission trip meetings meant that instead of spending the weekend here with my mother and mother-in-law, I had everyone’s blessing to miss the Lubbock celebrations and instead go down to the Houston area to be mom.

I soon discovered that almost all of pretty girl’s medical school friends were spending Mother’s Day alone and with a little bit of culinary creativity, I quickly threw together a Sunday Brunch/Study Break for all of them.

As the stand-in mom, it was my job to facilitate conversation so I asked everyone to tell their “origin story” for college and then medical school.  Really, I wanted to ease the pressure that each of them was under and I knew that recalling the Lord’s provision in your life and hearing other people share God’s Goodness (aka giving Him praise) is the ultimate stress buster.  As they all left laughing, with a smile on each of their faces, I was reaffirmed.

Praise is a pretty powerful thing.

In the Old Testament, we encounter Jehoshaphat in 2 Chronicles 20:1-30.  Things are getting a little tense.  A vast army of Moabites, Ammonites and Meunites is approaching Judah and things seem a little hopeless.  However,  Jehoshaphat stands before the temple of the Lord and reminds everyone of the goodness, power and faithfulness of God (aka praises Him).  Then,

After consulting the people, Jehoshaphat appointed men to sing to the Lord and to praise him for the splendor of His holiness as they went out at the head of the army, saying:

“Give thanks to the Lord for his love endures forever.”

As they began to sing and praise, the Lord set ambushes against the men of Ammon and Moab and Mount Seir who were invading Judah, and they were defeated. (2 Chron 20:21-22)

We see a similar thing happen in Joshua 5:13-6:27 when the Lord tells Joshua that His people will overtake Jericho—a mighty stronghold. For seven days, the army marched in front of and behind seven priests carrying seven trumpets and the Ark of the Covenant.  They would march once around the city walls and then return back to camp.  They were instructed to “Do not give a war cry, do not raise your voices.”

On the seventh day, they repeated the pattern, but this time, they marched around the city seven times and then Joshua commanded the army, “Shout!  For the Lord has given you they city!”

 When the trumpets sounded, the army shouted, and at the sound of the trumpet, when the men gave a loud shout, the wall collapsed; so everyone charged straight in, and they took the city.  They devoted the city to the Lord. Joshua 6:20-21

Sometimes, it’s easy to think that all the crazy power of praise is limited to the Old Testament,  but then we hit Acts 16.  Here we find Paul and Silas traveling throughout Macedonia, sharing the message of Our Savior.  A woman was following them around and creating a bit of a disturbance.  Annoyed, Paul commanded the fortune telling spirit within her to flee.  That, in turn, made some of the men upset as the woman provided a source of income for them. 

One thing led to another and Paul and Silas were beaten and thrown into jail without a trial.  Knowing how to claim a W, Paul and Silas pull from God’s playbook.  They start praying and singing hymns to God (aka Praising Him.)  The fellow prisoners were listening.

Suddenly there was such a violent earthquake that the foundations of the prison were shaken. At once all the prison doors flew open, and everyone’s chains came loose.  The jailer woke up, and when he saw the prison doors open, he drew his sword and was about to kill himself because he thought the prisoners had escaped.  But Paul shouted, “Don’t harm yourself! We are all here!”  Acts 16:26-28

Paul and Silas led the Jailer to the Lord and he and all his household were baptized.  Eventually, the officials apologized to Paul and Silas for the way they were treated and tried to appease them.  Afterwards, it continues:

They went to Lydia’s house, where they met with the brothers and the sisters and encouraged them.  Acts 16:40

Now, I was not there, but I can imagine that the way they encouraged their brothers and sisters was the same way the Medical Students were encouraged—by sharing the stories of what God has done.  Paul and Silas sure did have an amazing one.  Not only did the Lord free them, He did it in a way that brought others to Him as well.

Praise recalibrates our mind and emotions.  It can help us overcome fear, help recenter us when things are going great and we start crediting our own actions for the success and it can help those around us see a reflection of the power and love of the Lord.  King David made it a point to offer praise seven times a day (Psalm 119:164).  He made it intentional.

I wonder what would happen in my own life if I made it a point to offer praise seven times a day.  I can just envision some metaphorical chains and bonds that might start breaking.

What about you?  Are you ready to be intentional with your praise?  I am.  Come and join me and share YOUR story of what the Lord has done for you.

Deanna Duncan is a lover of all things created by the Lord. Family member, business owner and a creative, she can most often be found somewhere in nature with a great book.

BONUS:  The word “Praise” is mentioned 299 times in the Old Testament and 41 times in the New Testament.  We can dwell on Scripture like Psalm 148

Praise the Lord.

Praise the Lord from the heavens; praise Him in the heights above.

Praise Him, all His angels; praise Him, all his heavenly hosts.

Praise Him, sun and moon; praise Him, all you shining stars.

Praise Him, you highest heavens and you waters above the skies.

Let them praise the name of the Lord, for at His command they were created,


and He established them for ever and ever—He issued a decree that will never pass away. Psalm 148:1-6

Literally EVERYTHING is designed to Praise the Lord.  The Psalm continues listing all the things on the earth including us, “the people close to His heart.”

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