From the rising of the sun to its setting the name of the Lord is to be praised. (Psalm 133:3)
For the next few weeks we will be turning our attention to the Psalms. This collection of prayers/songs is an amazing treasure trove of spiritual resources and depth. No matter what you are feeling and what you are going through, there is probably more than one Psalm in this collection for you to connect with at any given time.
The verse above is a joyous and celebrative one. It is a call to recognize that no matter what time it is, it is time to praise the Lord. God’s goodness and commitment to doing good are praiseworthy 24/7. While we can find ourselves in a number of situations, some of which as we go through them may not naturally elicit praise for us. But the following well know call and response is always true:
L: God is good.
C: All the time.
L: All the time.
C: God is good.
Praise in life does two things and both of these are important in our relationship with God as well.
First, praise orients us in a positive way toward the other. Studies show that as much as 85% of the interactions between parents and their children are either instructive or critical. Less than 15% are simply affirming – things like “You are doing well,” or “I am proud of you,” or “I love you.” In some families that 15% is even less. The smaller it is the less positively the parent and child are likely to be in their orientation with each other. They simply become objects to manipulate or direct and lose their humanity.
This is true with God as well. If you spend most of your time when you are paying attention to God giving instructions, even in the context of prayer, it is easy to think of God on a purely practical level. “Dear God, fix this…” reduces God to simply a magical go-fer. Being intentional about praising God, thanking God and celebrating God’s goodness reframes us and keeps us oriented in a more positive way toward God.
Second, praise and celebrating goodness elevates our vision. I was just in a group of leaders who said that it seems like every organization has someone who is mostly negative – an Eeyore character. A few bad days or just a bad break or two and we can become that Eeyore character. But praise reminds us that what God is dreaming and what God is up to is higher than or current experience. It lifts our eyes toward the vision and pulls our spirits upward with it.
So, at various times between the rising of the sun and its setting, you may find yourself in a less than perfect place dealing with less than desirable circumstances. Remembering this verse in the midst of that can reorient you, reconnect you to God, and reposition you to act in ways that take something that isn’t yet what it could be and somehow make it look a bit more like the vision we know God has for it.
There is never a bad time to raise your eyes toward a higher vision!