“Pray, pray earnestly and without ceasing, but do not forget to praise…”1 When I opened my eyes, it felt like I had just closed them. I turned my head to see my alarm clock — just a few minutes before six — my usual time to worship and pray. This quiet time before the day begins is precious and rare. It is my time alone with Jesus. This particular morning, though, I felt off. I usually love to pray. I usually look forward to worship time. I usually am thrilled to start my day with my time with Jesus. Not on this morning though, I felt this feeling of discouragement. I did not want to leave my bed, or pray, or read the word. I was feeling downright grumpy. Sometimes we let our feelings keep us from our time with Jesus. Knowing this, I dragged myself out of bed, sliding to my knees. As I started to pray, I could tell today called for something different than my usual routine. It felt forced and dry. I stopped the traditional prayer and switched to a conversation. “God?” I asked, “What is wrong with me this morning?” This heavy feeling, not wanting to pray, had me asking Him how to face these feelings. Praise Me And in the quiet and stillness of that early morning, a still small voice said two simple words, “Praise me.” That’s Christianity 101, I thought. So, despite my mood, I began to praise my Heavenly Father. I prayed. I praised Him for His goodness, His creative power, His never-ending love for us. I showed my gratitude for the ways that He works in my life, the miracles He performs, and the many promises He keeps. And the bad feeling was gone. The grouchy mood, gone; as if it had never existed. I had been in God’s presence in prayer. He shared with me His joy, His peace, and His Holy Spirit. As I continued to pray and praise, I lost track of time…until I felt a small hand on my back. My five-year-old had woken up and was ready to start her day. “Hi Mommy, are you talking to God again?” she asked in her small voice. My life is busy. I work two days a week at the hospital, and am raising two little girls. But no matter how busy I get, nothing can be more important than prayer. In Psalms, we are told, “Enter his gates with thanksgiving; go into his courts with praise. Give thanks to him and praise his name” (Psalms 100:4 NLT). The evil one had sought to steal my joy, my time with the Lord. Praise Jesus that He helped me to resist, by focusing on God’s goodness and mercy, and not my discouraged feelings. During these difficult times, we need to stay connected to Him. We need our time in prayer with the Lord, especially when we are tired and at our most discouraged. Call to Action Do you want to find God today, to be in His presence? Praise Him! Enter His courts with praise today. Start with thanking Him for everything that He has done for you. Then dive into His goodness, by praising him out loud for who He is. He can and will chase off the discouragement, and even the despair; all you need to do is pray with praise. The apostle Paul tells us to, “Always be joyful. Never stop praying. Be thankful in all circumstances, for this is God’s will for you who belong to Christ Jesus” (1 Thessalonians 5:16-18 NLT). Dear friend, I pray you will find your joy by praising God today!
Ellen G. White, Testimonies for the Church (Mountain View, California: Pacific Press Publishing Association, 1882), volume 5, p.317.