praise (15)



Selah is not translated in our English Bibles. We just have the transliteration of the Hebrew word. But if you follow its usage, you can get a good grip on its meaning. It is used at the end of each stanza of Psalm 46. I have italicized it for you.

“God is our refuge and strength,
a very present help in trouble.
Therefore we will not fear though the earth gives way,
though the mountains be moved into the heart of the sea,
though its waters roar and foam,
though the mountains tremble at its swelling. Selah
There is a river whose streams make glad the city of God,
the holy habitation of the Most High.
God is in the midst of her; she shall not be moved;
God will help her when morning dawns.
The nations rage, the kingdoms totter;
he utters his voice, the earth melts.
The Lord of hosts is with us;
the God of Jacob is our fortress. Selah
Come, behold the works of the Lord,
how he has brought desolations on the earth.
He makes wars cease to the end of the earth;
he breaks the bow and shatters the spear;
he burns the chariots with fire.
“Be still, and know that I am God.
I will be exalted among the nations,
I will be exalted in the earth!”
The Lord of hosts is with us;
the God of Jacob is our fortress. Selah”

Literally, Selah means, step up. It could have been a musical notation. I like the speculation that it was used when the people ascended Mt. Zion with singing. As they came to a pause in the music, they would all take a step, or several steps, up. They would pause to take a step nearer to God. 

There is a delightful little poem in Spurgeon's Treasury of David.

“Selah bids the music rest, 
Paused in silence soft and blessed;
Selah bids uplift the strain,
Harps and voices tune again;
Selah ends the vocal praise,
Still your hearts to God upraise.”

But as I said, whatever the meaning of the word, the most telling thing about selah is where it is placed in the text. Selah is a call to be still and know God.

Selah is used as a pause to reflect. 

We are to stop and think about what God is saying to us in what we just read in the Psalm.

Selah gives a pause to pray.
Scripture reading should be bathed in prayer. We need to pray for God to open our eyes and hearts to see and hear what He is telling us. We need to ask Him to plant His truth in our hearts to transform our lives.

Selah brings a pause to listen.
Are you aware that God will speak to you personally in His word? We need to stop to remind ourselves that God is speaking as we read. Selah reminds us to stop and listen

Selah is a pause to understand.
The more we think about and meditate on Scripture the more the Holy Spirit of God explains to us. Our Lord speaks personally to you in His word. You need to be still and know what it means that He is God.

Selah is a pause to absorb.
In several of the parables of Jesus we see that the word and the kingdom of God are planted into our hearts. In Luke 13:19 Jesus compares the kingdom of God to a mustard seed sown in someone’s garden, that grows to become a tree so that the birds make nests in its branches. This can certainly be applied to the kingdom of God being introduced to a tribe, a people group, or a city. But I think the Holy Spirit also applies it to each of our lives. James 1:21 calls us to, “receive with meekness the implanted word, which is able to save our souls.”

Selah pauses to remember.
It takes time and effort to fix God’s word in our minds. We will need to remember that God has said He is a very present help when trouble comes. We need to remember the stream that makes our hearts and cities glad.

Selah is a pause to tremble.
Considering that God has spoken to us, and that He is God over all our circumstances, should cause us to tremble. If you do not tremble before the Holy God, you do not understand.

Selah lets us pause to rejoice.
God is gracious, loving, mighty, and glorious! His people should rejoice as He draws near to speak to our hearts.

Selah is a pause to praise.
We need to exalt His name along with the nations. We need to stop where we are to praise Him. We will exalt His name forever!

Selah pauses to commit.
Unlike the person spoken of in James 1:24, who glances at the mirror of God's word and promptly forgets what he saw, we are to take time to commit ourselves to obey what God tells us in His word.



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It is important to see hope as something that makes a difference in our daily lives. Among the things hope affects are discouragement and depression. Most of us have experienced depression from time to time. Some of my heroes dealt with personal disconsolation. Among them Charles Haddon Spurgeon, the great nineteenth century pulpiteer. On several occasions as thousands who came to hear him on a Sunday morning sang hymns and waited for him to come to the pulpit, the great preacher wouldn't appear. Finally, his deacons would go and knock on his study door. “Dr Spurgeon, you must come out. It is time for you to preach.” He would answer, “I can’t.” And the deacons would take up an offering and send him for several weeks on the French Riviera.

Depression can have a terrible hold on our lives. I am no exception to that, but it was not a major problem for most of my life. However, depression is a side effect of some of my cancer treatments. And I have had to learn to break out of the gloom. I have not always been successful, but I believe that what I have learned about this from Scripture will be helpful to many people. Psalm 42 is a great place to start. The psalm concludes with these words.

“Why are you cast down, O my soul,
   and why are you in turmoil within me?
Hope in God; for I shall again praise him,
   my salvation and my God.”

Many of you are familiar with a gospel song that comes from Psalm 42, Why So Downcast O My Soul, by Marty Nystrom. Listening to this music always lifts my heart. Psalm 42 calls us to put our hope in God. Let me point out some means of putting our hope in God.

  • Praise

Praise is a major theme of the Psalms from beginning to end. The Hebrew people sang these songs in wonderful worship. You may be familiar with the story from the writings of Josephus about Alexander the Great ascending the Temple Mount on his white charger prepared to destroy the city. But as he did he saw the people dressed in white ropes singing the Songs of Ascent as they worshipped and prayed for the Lord to spare their city. Josephus says Alexander got off his horse and bowed with them in worship.

Praising God will certainly be counterintuitive to you if you are suffering from depression. But that is the very first thing you need to do to break depression's hold. Another gospel song that declares this truth is Praise The Lord, made popular by The Imperials . The lyrics read,

“For the chains that seem to bind you

Serve only to remind you

That they drop powerless behind you.

When you praise Him.”

Praise is an act of the will. You can praise God even when you are feeling down.

  • Remembering

Psalm 42 begins as the heart cry of someone who feels far from God. But in verse 4 the psalmist remembers glorious worship he has been part of in the past. Remembering is crucial to walking with Christ. We need to remind ourselves of what we know about God. We need to remind ourselves who God is. We need to remember what He has done for us. Remember His promises. In Psalm 42 we are called to remind ourselves of worship when we did feel like worshipping. Have you ever thought about this? When your heart is stirred as never before in worship, you are making memories that God can use to break depression when you are plagued with it?

  • Talking to Ourselves

In verse 5 of Psalm 42, as in the final verse, the psalmist talks to his own soul. “Why are you so downcast, O my soul? Put your hope in God.” The world, the flesh, and the devil will speak constantly to your heart. To counter those words you need to talk to yourself. You need to tell yourself to hope in God.

  • Corporate Worship

Psalm 42 speaks of the joy of corporate worship. Ephesians 5:18-20 relates worshipping together to the filling of the Holy Spirit. I seldom think of the filling of the Spirit in these terms. But my idea that the filling of the Holy Spirit is something that only happens to individuals relates to a major American heresy. We think of spiritual growth, and service, and devotion as things we do alone. But we are filled with the Holy Spirit in communion with the family of God.

  • Listen to God

Listening to God is another important tool in overcoming depression. I do not mean simply remembering precious things God has told me in the past. I am also talking about actively hearing His voice in the present. I do several things to hear God’s voice. First, I listen to great preaching. I thank God for the technology that brings me teaching and preaching by great preachers like Rick Warren, N.T. Wright, Michael Ramsden, Ravi Zacharias, Tim Keller, and the list goes on.

It is also important to listen directly to God in His word. God regularly speaks to His children in Scripture. And when I memorize a verse or a passage, I store God's word in my mind for Him to speak to me again and again.

  • Meditation

I need to list meditation as a separate discipline here. When we spend time thinking about God's character, promises, directives, and assurances, He plants those things deep into our souls. In Psalm 119 David said he hid God’s word in his heart that he might not sin. God changes our character as we meditate on His truth. God will use this to transform our lives through the renewing of our minds. And breaking depression requires new thinking.

  • Rest

In our modern world we seldom think of rest as a spiritual discipline. However in Genesis 2:3 the Bible says God sanctified the Sabbath. Rest is Holy. When Elijah was discouraged and exhausted in 1 Kings 19, God gave him food, and He gave him rest.

I indicated earlier that some of my malaise has physical causes. I do not believe you have to have cancer for this to be the case. One of the physical and spiritual causes of depression is lack of sleep. I can devote time to rest. That may mean putting my cell phone out of reach, or even closing the computer, or turning off the TV at night.

Psalm 127:2 has been a favorite of mine for a long time. It says God gives his beloved sleep.

I had a chemotherapy treatment today. I often can’t sleep at all the first night after chemo. I can spend my wakeful hours in God’s word. And I can pray for my family and other prayer lists. But I also ask God to help me sleep.

  • Fellowship

Christian Fellowship is also an important tool for getting our minds off our own concerns. This can be difficult because when you are depressed you do not wish to be around people. But it is important to remember that we need one another in the family of God. Loving them and being with them is a blessing.

  • Giving

Giving will lift your spirits. In Acts 20:35 we are reminded that Jesus told us “It is more blessed to give than it is to receive. Giving someone else a gift brings more joy than receiving. This is especially true when your giving is being stretched by needs that God shows you. I am aware many of us no longer believe this. You have to put it into practice to realize how great this blessing is.

  • Praying for Others

Praying for other people is an important discipline for our spiritual lives. And it is an important means of getting our eyes off our own feelings. Several days ago I was feeling particularly down. I had gone with my wife to a large grocery store with a coffee shop. While she shopped I set outside the coffee bar and tried to pray, not only for the people sitting at other tables, but for people entering and leaving the store. I cannot think of anything I've done in a long time that made me feel better.

  • Obey

Obedience is a crucial means of lifting our spirits. In Luke 16 Jesus told a parable about being faithful in small things. When you are down it is good to look for some small thing you can do to obey God. When we stand before God, we will will hear Him say, “Well done, good and faithful servant.” But we can already hear Him whispering those words into our hearts as we obey even small things He has told us to do.

  • Giving Thanks

Finally, I believe the most powerful tool for breaking depression may be saying, “Thank you.” Thanking God is at the heart of this. I occasionally try to devote and entire day to giving thanks that God is working in the lives of people I meet, that he is present in my life, that he is worthy of my praise.

It is also good to formally thank other people for things they have done for us. It is worth sending someone a card or going to the trouble of writing a letter to say “Thank you,” to someone who has blessed you.

I know I have given you a long list. But small measures are seldom enough to break the hold of moods. I recommend that you print out this list, and try to do most, if not all of these things. I do not want you to feel guilty because this is too much. But I do encourage you to work hard to break the hold of depression. Depression protects itself by keeping you from wanting to be freed from it. Your depression itself will fight anything you do to break it. Pray that God will change your desires and behavior as you ask Him to deliver you from depression.



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Jesus said it in Matthew Chapter 7. “You can't grow grapes from thorn bushes.” This applies to every area of our lives from running a marathon to raising your children. And it especially applies to writing which is the fruit of your soul. I remember reading something Baxter Black wrote on how he began writing poetry. He told about writing a poem with a religious theme for an English class in college. He got the paperback with the words writ large and in red across the top of the page, “WRITE ABOUT WHAT YOU KNOW!” Who does not agree with this principle? You must write what you think. You write about what you care about. And yes, you write who you are. Your own character is the foundation of all your writing.

I recently read a quote by Danielle Steel, a secular writer, in a secular book on writing.

“Where do the ideas come from? I don't really know. I've always had a deeply religious feeling about my writing. I feel very unimportant in the scheme of it all. I pray a lot before I start a book and as I work through it. And the less important I feel the better the book goes.”

Let me deal briefly here with four aspects of prayer that are essential to writing.


We spend time in prayer to develop intimacy with God. The more time you spend in direct fellowship with God the more He shapes your character.


Character development is painful. We need to allow God to make changes in our lives. And we have to come to Him with a tender heart repenting of attitudes and actions that do not please Him.


To get the most nourishment we need to pray the word of God. We take prayer to the level of meditation by memorizing a scripture and then thinking about it over time, maybe several days.

Many years ago I pastored church in a rural community in Texas. I am convinced that during the five years I served there a man who died shortly before I came continued to have the most Godly influence of anyone in that community. His wife told me every morning as he began his day he would fix a Bible verse in his mind. Then he would repeat that verse over and over all day long. And God developed his character and multiplyied the fruit of his life.


Praise is sometimes a neglected element of our prayer life. And yet nothing that I know of develops faith, courage, hope, joy, or peace as thoroughly as praising God for who He is and what He does.


Do you spend time talking to God about His mission for your life? Sense of mission it is essential to the attractiveness and benefit of your writing. This is of course true in writing Christian non-fiction. But it is also an underlying foundation for all writing, fiction or nonfiction.


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For the past few days I have been dealing with some severe anxiety and depression. Does the Bible say anything about this? It does indeed. In fact the Bible deals more comprehensively with depression than any other source I know. In places like Elijah in the cave in 1 Kings 19 and quite a number of Psalms God shows us that the cause depression can be physical, dietary, cultural, situational, psychological, moral, or spiritual. It is often caused by several of these simultaneously.

And being tempted in all points like us,(Heb.4:15) Jesus also faced anxiety.

God has spoken powerfully to me in John 12:27,28 where Jesus said,

“Now is my heart troubled, and what shall I say? 'Father, save me from this hour'? But for this purpose I have come to this hour. Father, glorify your name!" Then a voice came from heaven: ‘I have glorified it, and I will glorify it again.’”

Let me share with you four crucial perspectives by which Jesus dealt with His own anxiety.


First Jesus saw the Perspective of Time.

He said, “Now is my heart troubled.” Your anxiety, and for that matter your crisis, is temporary.

Viktor Frankl rightly directed people to ask themselves how they would want to behave in a particular situation if they were looking at it from the end of their lives. Jesus clearly dealt with more horrific circumstances then you and I can imagine. He endured them for the joy set before Him.(Heb.12:2) While your reason for anxiety is not nearly as great as His, you will share in the fullness of His glory.


Jesus also saw from the Perspective of Purpose.

He asks, should I pray for God to deliver me from this trial? “But,” He concludes, “it was God's purpose for me to be disturbed in trial.” God has put you in this place as well.

Do you remember what Satan said to God when the Lord pointed out Job’s obedience? “But you've put a hedge about him. Job doesn't really love you. He just serves you because you've made it easy for him.”

You need to be in this place for God to prove that He can work even your anxiety together with everything else for good.

The chorus of Laura Story's hymn, Blessings, says,

“What if Your blessings come through raindrops?

What if Your healing comes through tears?

What if a thousand sleepless nights are what it takes to know You're near?

What if trials of this life are Your mercies in disguise?”

You are going through this trial for the high purpose of Almighty God on the earth and in eternity. Stand straight. Be strong. Call upon God for His grace to obey Him in the midst of it.


Jesus prayed from the Perspective of God's Glory.

Jesus knew that His purpose in eternity and upon this Earth was to glorify God the Father. That is our purpose as well. Many of you know that activity, especially good, wholesome, productive activity is a great help in dealing with depression. I know of no activity that so effectively counters anxiety and depression as that of praising God out loud. Our anxiety is worsened because we are so focused on ourselves. And until we break our self-preoccupation with praise of Almighty God, it will keep us bound.


Finally, Jesus experienced God's Presence.

God thundering from the heavens was a rare occurrence, even as Jesus walked upon this Earth. But the presence of God is not rare for a believer in Jesus Christ. And nothing usher's you into nearness with God like recognizing His presence and praising Him, praying and glorifying His Name. When you connect with the reality, purpose, and Glory of God, you will sense His presence as never before. Philippians 4:5 says, “Let your reasonableness be evident to all, the Lord is near.” The King James Bible says, “Let your moderation be evident.” In 1 Timothy 3:3 this word is translated, “gentle.” There the King James used the word, “patient.” The point is, you don't need to be anxious, the Lord is near you.


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Ramadan begins this coming Saturday (May 27), and many throughout the Arab Peninsula will be fasting, going to special prayers at the mosques, and spending time reading the Qur'an more. Pray that Jesus will visit many in dreams and visions during this special time, and that there may be a hunger for Truth among many in the Arabian Peninsula. Also pray for the Muslim background believers during this time--that they will hold on to their faith with steadfastness and not be ashamed of the Gospel. 

Pray that believers in the Arabian Peninsula will keep themselves in the love of God (Jude 1:21). Ask that the believers will gladly receive the never ceasing stream of living water, i.e. the love of God, with praise. Pray that the believers will sense the love of God in the workplace, streets, in conversations with local neighbors, in whatever they do... 

A cholera epidemic has hit the country of Yemen with over 50 deaths in the capital alone according to  Reuters news. Garbagemen have been on strike because they are not being paid. The people have been told that vegetables are contaminated. Please pray for those who are grieving the loss of family. Please pray that the epidemic will be contained and eradicated. Please pray for peace in Yemen.
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I have written quite a bit here on praise in the past few years. But in fact I am convinced that I have not written nearly enough about it. Jesus began His model prayer for us with a crescendo of praise. "Hallowed be thy name." I think it is important to note that Jesus is not simply giving us a mechanical order for the words of our prayers like the helpful A.C.T.S. of Prayer, Adoration, Confession, Thanksgiving, Supplication. He is saying praising God is to be preeminent in our character and the prayers that rise from it.

I recently heard a marvelous sermon on this by Tim Keller. He noted that neither confession nor petition can be right when praise is not preeminent in our thoughts. I highly recommend that you take the time to listen to this sermon.* I think you will find it to be uplifting and life changing even if you already understand this principle.

But this leaves me at a difficult place. How do I develop a heart that desires God's praise and glory above everything else? I have several suggestions of things we can do to affect our character in this way.

  • First, ask God. I begin my morning prayer time each day by asking God to help me long for His glory above all things. I draw this from the implication that God's Spirit must produce every good thing in my life. However, I have not found a direct command or even an example of this in scripture.     From you comes my praise in the great congregation;
  • Think about all the reasons we have to praise God. Meditate on His majesty and power. Consider His wondrous grace and infinite love for you. The Bible is full of commands, examples and helps for this. Still, this is not my most important or biblical suggestion.
  • The most important thing you can do to inculcate praise into your heart and life is to exercise praise. The scriptures are replete with examples and admonitions to praise and worship God. Jesus told us the greatest commandment is to love the Lord our God with all our heart. We are to lift up His name in praise. And you can be sure that when you worship the Holy Spirit is near. You would not be worshipping if He were not prompting. And you can sense His work in you as you praise God. As I begin my prayers with praise I note that my whole perspective changes. Sometimes I am even able to praise God for what I have been worrying about. This is God transforming my heart in the act of praise.
  • Let me add one more word which is actually part of the exercise of prayer. Regularly engage in corporate worship. I find corporate worship reinforces my private praise. It is no small thing to begin my personal devotions armed with a hymn or scripture song that I learned at church. And my attitudes are often lifted as I remember worshipping together with others who lifted their voices with me in the family of God.



I would like to attach this prayer trailer for the movie War Room to some of my blog posts. It is certainly worth watching.



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In 2 Cor. 4:17 Paul says our earthly suffering is working for us an eternal weight of glory. This statement gives us an interesting insight into the word, "glory.” The Bible's use of words for the glory of God actually change the meaning of the words in at least four languages. The Greek word translated in 2 Corinthians 4 is "doxa." We take the word doxology from doxa. But before the Bible was put into Greek the word only meant importance in the opinion of people as trite as popularity. Our English word glory comes to us from the Latin word gloria. It too originally held the shallow meaning of the Greek word. The Hebrew word for glory was much more substantial. It reflected the reality of God. Its root meant weighty or significant. Anywhere we find the glory of the Lord people and even the earth is shaken by the weight of His significance.

The use of doxa for this Hebrew word in the Greek Old Testament, increased the power of the word infinitely. The word went from a trend to an earthquake or a thunderstorm. Or it might be better to call it a divine lightning storm. Even though the word began as weighty, it describes the shikina glory that settled on the mercy seat in the tabernacle. It was the glory that shown on Moses' face when he left the presence of God. And the glory of the Lamb is what will light the holy city described in Revelation 21. Our words in English Latin Greek and even Hebrew have come to mean unapproachable splendor. So we can sing "shining in the light of his glory."

If you truly come into the presence of God in prayer you will be overwhelmed by the recognition that God's glory is brighter than your darkness. His weight is greater than your needs or wants. If you have experienced the lightening storm of God's presence, nothing else can be as significant in your life. In His presence our prayers will be shaken by His Glory.

Let me point out three facets praying the glory of God.

The first thing that may come to your mind is praise. Praising His Glory

Isaiah 42:12 equates glorifying God with declaring his praises. We glorify God in praise. This can be in private as well as public worship. It can also be in witness of his glory to people we come in contact with each day.

Praying God's glory includes Praying for His Glory.

One of the most stunning examples of this is found in John 12:27-28. Jesus begins this passage by grieving over His coming sorrow. "Now is my soul troubled. And what shall I say? 'Father, save me from this hour'? But for this purpose I have come to this hour." Instead, Jesus simply prays, "Father, glorify your name." At that a voice came from heaven saying, "I have glorified it and will glorify it again." Some of the crowd said it thundered. Others thought an angel had spoken to Jesus. He said that the voice had come for them not Him. God answered by glorifying His name as Jesus asked.

Finally, you pray His glory by Praying for His Glory Through You.

God is working His glory in us. When you begin to catch a glimpse of the glory of God, you realize how preposterous that is. How could Almighty God gain any glory from me? Well, if we return to 2 Corinthians 4:17 we see again that through the light and temporary troubles that we face God is working an eternal weight of glory."

O God, may it be so! By Your power bring it about.

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"'Now then, if you will indeed obey My voice and keep My covenant, then you shall be My own possession among all the peoples, for all the earth is Mine"....Exodus 19:5
Heavenly Father, we long to abide in Your Presence all the days of our lives and in eternity. Therefore, Lord we commit our way from the hour of our redemption and rejuvenation to now, the rest of this year and always, to obey You, listen to You, walk in Your Ways and Keep Your Covenant.
Thou hast shown us the way of all Truth. I thank Thee, Oh Lord.
Thou hast given me the Road Map and the spiritual fuel to go the distance. I am so grateful, my God.
Thou hast given me the Faith and Endurance to persevere until the end. I am all in for ever, oh God.
Thou hast shared Thy bountiful Goodness and all the Earth which You create and watch over. I am so humbled, my God.
Thou hast taken me out of the pit, sit my feet upon a rock, put a NEW song in my mouth - a hymn of Praise to our God. I will proclaim Thy Name throughout the Earth, for as long as life shall last.
I rest under the Shadow of Thy Wings.
I bow down in the Sanctity of the Throne Room.
I surrender to the Will of Christ.
I commit my ways and will to the Obedience You asked me to choose.
I am Yours. I abide in Thee and long to dwell in Thy Holy Presence on a soon coming day, choosing as King David wrote for my life verse "One thing I have asked from the LORD, that I shall seek: That I may dwell in the house of the LORD all the days of my life, To behold the beauty of the LORD And to meditate in His temple".
On this I stand, oh God, and not just me but all who love Your appearing! Even so, come Lord Jesus! In Your Name I pray. Amen. 

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You are God of all (1).

I confess that I often approach both You, and Your gift of prayer, with too small of a mindset.  Sometimes, I imagine the things I have the ability to accomplish or dream up, and then ask You to do only that much.  Yet, You're able to do immeasurably more, as Paul wrote in Ephesians 3 (2).  Other times, I only pray thinking of the things of which I want or desire.  While it's not wrong or bad to do so, I confess that I often forget or neglect to worship, praise, and thank You for who You are, what You've done, and are doing (3).  I often fail to pray for others' concerns, joys, and for the lost (4).  I confess that I mostly consider Your actions and provisions ahead of You, Yourself.  Forgive me and continue to grow my trust, joy, and understanding in/of You (5).

Thank You for Your grace, forgiveness, compassion, and care (6).  Thank You for giving Your Holy Spirit to dwell within me (7).  Change my thinking, understanding, compassion for others, and more (8).  Continue to fill me with Your Spirit, that I may see others, and their situations, through Your eyes (9); that I may hear what they say, and don't say, accurately, as with Your ears (10); and that I may read, take to heart, and apply what Your Word says (11).

Help me to pray from Your Word and heart (12); think Your thoughts; see myself, people around me, and our matters of agreement and disagreement accurately and lovingly as You do.  I am not capable of any of these things on my own.  I yield to You.  You're the Rock that I stand upon (13).  You are my Joy and Strength (14), (15).  You are the Light of my life in this dark world (16), (17).  You are the Lifter of my head when I become discouraged, distraught, and even self-centered (18).  You are the Corrector of my vision; helping me to see You, myself, people, and matters with far greater accuracy than I could ever imagine or attempt to understand on my own (19). 

You are Lord of All.  Some try to convince me and others that You are not Lord at all (20).  Help me to love and pray for them with Your perfect love, compassion, and care.  Also, quicken the hearts and minds of other Christians to meet these people where they're at, to pray for them, and with them as Your Spirit leads and prompts.  Increase my sensitivity to Your Holy Spirit's promptings.  I desire to be obedient to bring You, and Your Name, glory; fulfilling things You've prepared for me to do since before You created time (21). 

I worry not about what's to come because You are there (22), (23).  I worry not about the things of the past: for You are my perfect Redeemer (24) (25).  I worry not about the present (26), because You are near, and Your Spirit and Word are guiding, sharpening, correcting, and renewing me; providing light to my feet and a lamp for the path before me (27).

I worship You, Jesus; Lord of All.  Nothing is too great or small; for You created and care for it all.  Continue to shepherd me through this day and night ahead (28) for Your glory alone.  In Jesus' name, and in increasing and endless praise, (29) Amen.

(Numbered Scripture references).  Their links, within the prayer, will take you to the verse(s), online.

1. Isaiah 37:16
2. Ephesians 3:20-21
3. Revelation 1:8
4. James 5:15-20
5. Nehemiah 8:10
6. 2 Corinthians 12:9
7. Acts 5:32
8. Luke 11:13
9. Psalm 33:13-14
10. Psalm 34:17
11. Psalm 119:105
12. Luke 11:1-10
13. 1 Samuel 2:2
14. 1 Chronicles 16:27
15. Psalm 28:7
16. 2 Samuel 22:29
17. John 1:5
18. Psalm 3:3
19. Exodus 4:11-12
20. 1 Thessalonians 4:8
21. Ephesians 2:10
22. Mark 13:11
23. Matthew 6:34
24. Job 19:25
25. Psalm 19:14
26. Matthew 6:27
27. Psalm 119:105
28. Psalm 23
29. 1 Thessalonians 5:16-18
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If you significantly increase your prayer life you will certainly come under spiritual attack. So if I am going to encourage you to pray more, I need to help you prepare for the onslaught of the evil one.

I believe one of the most important things you can do when you come under spiritual attack is praise God. It is true that you need to wake up to the reality of our enemy’s schemes. But you also need to connect with the reality of our God. Nothing focuses us on the power, glory and victory of our Lord in our lives and on the earth as swiftly or thoroughly as praise. Without it even our prayers can be filled with discouragement.
I write regularly in a prayer journal. This is often my best outlet for the frustration and fear of spiritual attack. But I discipline myself to begin every entry with praise. “Father, You are glorious! You are majestic! You are mighty! You are holy! You are God Almighty!” Such praise changes the entire perspective of my prayers. I challenge you to spend some significant time today simply praising God. He is worthy of our praise and worship. He will deliver you from the hand of the enemy.
”Jehoshaphat bowed with his face to the ground, and all the people of Judah and Jerusalem fell down in worship before the Lord. Then some Levites from the Kohathites and Korahites stood up and praised the Lord, the God of Israel, with very loud voice.”
(2 Chronicles 20:18,19)
Verse 22 tells us that when they began to praise, God began to bring about their deliverance.
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In most American worship and church services, God is worshiped by the singing of praise choruses, hymns, and other songs.  Sometimes, congregants are encouraged to pray silently while music quietly plays in the background.  While these are completely good and acceptable forms of worship, something seldom seen or modeled in American churches or around society is worship-based prayer.

Around two years ago, I was introduced to worship-based prayer.  It was different than other ways I had learned to pray.  Throughout my life, prayer was mostly an ask-and-receive form of communication with God.  Prayer was a last-resort; something to do when all my creative and constructive efforts fell short.  Worship-based prayer moved prayer to the top of my priorities- it made prayer enjoyable, frequent, and it quickly deepened my personal relationship with God!

Worship-based prayer isn't the newest form of prayer, nor is it the only way to pray.  What it is though, is a form of prayer that deepens one's understanding, reverence, closeness, awe, and wonder of who God is.  It helps the person praying to push back against his/her flesh, the world, and our adversary- all of whom constantly try to diminish and eclipse God from our minds, hearts, eyes, and attention.  Worship-based prayer restores and/or expands a person's understanding of the fullness and completeness of God- in His attributes and beyond them!

God is Always Worthy to be Worshiped

One of the ruts that worship-based prayer pulled me out of was a mindset that God was to be worshiped on a Sunday morning, but then put away and seldom considered again until the following Sunday morning.  Until introduced to worship-based prayer, God's attribute of Provider was pretty much the only attribute of His that I considered or focused upon with any regularity.  Later, as my prayer life grew a little more, I'd ask God to work in my life with greater frequency, but largely, my prayers were still 98% request-oriented.

But there is no one else like God.  Consider what God said to Job in Job 38, 39, 40, 41, and 42 (please read these instead of quickly skipping past them).

God is matchless and is complete in power.  God is infinite in each of His attributes.  His creativity, sovereignty, holiness, love, grace, power, wisdom, justice, mercy, being all-knowing, being everywhere at all times- always, and more, are perpetually and perfectly infinite.  He alone is complete in every way- lacking in nothing!  Even typing these out has lifted my heart in worship to Him- hopefully the Holy Spirit is lifting your heart in worship as well!  But don't just take my word for it, search the Word- for it is authoritative and true!

God can and should be worshiped in all times and in all places.  Worship is not represented in a physical position or series of positions (as some religions and faiths attempt); it's the position of the heart before God.  It exalts God as Lord over all, Maker of all, and amongst everything He's created (He's perfectly personal).

Worship is not to only be done in one location.  While worshiping in a church building is good, we can worship God everywhere.  We can praise Him in our hearts while we shop for groceries, wash dishes, tidy the house, while we drive or ride from one place to another, and more.  We can praise Him while in a hospital bed, while we're in distress, while things are going well, and when things don't seem to be going as well as we'd like.

He doesn't change even though our hearts turn in different directions away from him at times.

Worship Defeats Worry

Worry is a familiar and common sin in America.  It's so common that little is thought about it.  It's accepted as something people routinely do.  Some even call themselves "professional worriers," as if it were some badge of honor! But few press into God to overcome worry.  Jesus spoke directly about worry in Matthew 6:25-34.  While the worries of that day consisted of where the next meal would come from, and other basic and essential needs, worry can worm into almost any situation or circumstance- if allowed.

When we worship God, He is seen and understood more fully as who He truly is.

“The word is near you; it is in your mouth and in your heart,” that is, the message concerning faith that we proclaim: If you declare with your mouth, “Jesus is Lord,” and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved. For it is with your heart that you believe and are justified, and it is with your mouth that you profess your faith and are saved. As Scripture says, “Anyone who believes in him will never be put to shame.” - Romans 10:8-11

Worry puffs up problems, challenges, circumstances, dreams, or even desires, to become larger than they should be.  It can make the circumstance eclipse a person's view of the fullness of God; sometimes to the point where God doesn't seem as powerful, authoritative, perfect, present, good, compassionate, or any other of His perfect attributes.  Worry causes a person to question God and allows self and circumstances to dominate one's heart and/or mind instead of God.
Worship-based prayer helps put worry in its place.  It's not enough simply to know that worry is a sin and that one should not participate in it.  It must be eradicated entirely!  This is done by reading and praying worship-based Scriptures, praying for the Holy Spirit to illumine the Word as we read it, then help us take to heart what it says; praising and worshiping God for the truth of who He is contained therein!  Praying Scripture is also an excellent way to memorize Scripture!  When we memorize worship-based Scripture, we develop a growing reservoir of truth about God within our hearts and minds- a reservoir readily available to draw from, especially in difficult or challenging times!
When we see God rightly and accurately, everything else falls into its exact and appropriate place before Him.  It won't necessarily make our circumstances perfect, but it will help us to see God and our circumstances correctly- which is important.  When we see God and circumstances inaccurately and out of proportion, that's where trouble and confusion quickly begins.

Here's a Psalm that's useful in "tuning one's heart" to speak, meditate, and praise God for who He is.  Let's worship at His footstool! (v. 5)

The Lord reigns,
    let the nations tremble;
he sits enthroned between the cherubim,
    let the earth shake.
Great is the Lord in Zion;
    he is exalted over all the nations.
Let them praise your great and awesome name—
    he is holy.

The King is mighty, he loves justice—
    you have established equity;
in Jacob you have done
    what is just and right.
Exalt the Lord our God
    and worship at his footstool;
    he is holy.

Moses and Aaron were among his priests,
    Samuel was among those who called on his name;
they called on the Lord
    and he answered them.
He spoke to them from the pillar of cloud;
    they kept his statutes and the decrees he gave them.

Lord our God,
    you answered them;
you were to Israel a forgiving God,
    though you punished their misdeeds.
Exalt the Lord our God
    and worship at his holy mountain,
    for the Lord our God is holy.
  -Psalm 99

Carry worship of God with you wherever you go!  You'll bless God as you do so, and He'll bless you in seeing and knowing Him more completely and deeply than ever before.  Continue in worship now...

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potpourri of Scriptures

Let them praise the name of God—
it's the only Name worth praising.
His radiance exceeds anything in earth and sky;
He's built a monument—His very own people!
Praise from all who love God!
Israel's children, intimate friends of God.
(Psalm 148:13-14 Message)

Wait for the Lord;
be courageous and let your heart be strong.
Wait for the Lord. (Psalm 27:14)

The Lord is my light and my salvation—
whom should I fear?
The Lord is the stronghold of my life—
of whom should I be afraid?
(Psalm 27:1)

I have asked one thing from the Lord;
it is what I desire:
to dwell in the house of the Lord
all the days of my life,
gazing on the beauty of the Lord
and seeking [Him] in His temple. (Psalm 27:4)

Lord, I am tired today and I have a headache, yet I have quite a few things I need to do.
You are my intimate Friend, and I ask You for courage and strength.
Be my Light, my guide, my joy.
Show me Your beauty as I seek You
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Jumping Up and Down

Isaiah 61:10: I greatly rejoice in the Lord, I exult in my God; for He has clothed me with the garments of salvation...

A few days ago I looked up the meaning of "exult," and I saw that one of the definitions (now outdated) is "to leap with joy." Isn't that a great description of praise? I thought of my children and how sometimes they enjoy the singing at church so much that they actually jump up and down. (I try to settle them down before they crash into each other.) This is how excited Isaiah was about God's salvation.

What has God done in your life lately that made you want to jump up and down with delight?
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Cultivating a Thankful Heart

"Be joyful always; pray continually; give thanks in all circumstances, for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus” (1 Thessalonians 5:16-18).

Perhaps you are facing a difficult circumstance - financially, relationally or with your health. During challenging times it is not always easy to give thanks, but this is the very thing we must do in order to see God’s will accomplished in our lives. This is how we move into higher realms of faith for ourselves, for our city, and for our nations.

Thanksgiving breaks the power of the enemy. Whenever you give thanks to God, despite the most difficult circumstances, the enemy loses a big battle in your life. When you give thanks in the midst of hardship, you bring pleasure to God's heart and breakthrough begins. He is looking for Christians who live in a realm of praise and thanksgiving where the enemy no longer has an ability to hold or manipulate a person. Satan is defeated when we have a thankful heart because thankfulness during difficulty is a sacrifice, pleasing to God.

Are you thankful?

Are you thankful for your present circumstances?

Are you thankful for your salvation, your friendships, and your job?

Thankfulness is a key to a victorious prayer life. We enter His courts with praise. It is the key that turns your situation around because it changes you, your outlook, and your attitude. There is power in a thankful heart. Thanksgiving brings contentment. An attitude of thanksgiving accepts and embraces God’s will.

Begin to thank God for all the blessings he has given instead of dwelling on the negative. Discontent dries up the soul. Look at what Elizabeth Elliot - who lost her husband on the mission field and has faced multitudes of hardships - says about loving God's will and being content. In her book, Secure in the Everlasting Arms, she says:

"To love God is to love His will. It is to wait quietly for life to be measured by one who knows us through and through. It is to be content with His timing and His wise apportionment. It is to follow in the steps of the Master, as did Paul, who was able to say that he had learned contentment no matter what the circumstances. His circumstances when he wrote that? Prison. No easy lesson, but great gain which is the sum of godliness plus contentment (1 Timothy 6:6)."

Look at the example of Jesus. He followed the will of His Father to the very end. He obeyed without complaint. In Philippians 2:5-8 Paul says that we should have that same attitude. Jesus made himself nothing and took on the very nature of a servant. He humbled Himself and became obedient to death. We also are to have this same attitude with a humble and thankful acceptance of God’s will for our lives. Elizabeth emphasizes the fact that Jesus embraced hardship without a complaint:

"Jesus loved the will of His Father. He embraced the limitations, the necessities, the conditions, the very chains of His humanity as He walked and worked here on earth, fulfilling moment by moment His divine commission and the stern demands of His incarnation. Never was there a word or even a look of complaint."

The Duke of Wellington was the Great British military leader who regretted that he had not learned the secret of praise during his lifetime. He had many great accomplishments and even defeated Napoleon at Waterloo. He was a brilliant and demanding man and when he was older, he realized that there were areas in his life that needed to change. In his old age a women asked him this question,

“What would you do differently if you had your life to live over again?”

He thought carefully and said, “I would give more praise.”

This is a lesson for all of us. That we would learn to be people of praise and thanksgiving to God all the days of our lives would be a great accomplishment. William Law, who wrote the book A Serious Call to a Devout and Holy Life, stresses the greatness and the happiness of thanksgiving. He says:

“Would you know who is the greatest saint in the world? It is not he who prays most or fasts most; it is not he who gives most alms or is most eminent for temperance, chastity or justice; but it is he who is always thankful to God, who wills everything that God wills, who receives everything as an instance of God’s goodness and has a heart always ready to praise God for it… Could you therefore work miracles, you could not do more for yourself than by this thankful spirit, for it… Turns all that it touches into happiness.”

David writes in Psalm 116:17, "I will sacrifice a thank offering to you and call on the name of the Lord.”

Did you know that thanking God for a difficulty is actually an offering that He highly values? You are bringing a gift of thanks to Him. It makes Him smile. It’s so easy to complain and point the finger and find fault. But to come in the opposite attitude and gives thanks brings breakthrough and joyful contentment. Let each of us seek to have an attitude of gratitude and thanksgiving during this Thanksgiving season, and rise to a new level of holiness. Here are some ways to practice this attitude in everyday life:

*Thank and praise God for everything in your life - Thank Him for even the difficulties. It is a sacrifice to do this, but He can turn troubles to triumph. “Through Jesus, therefore, let us continually offer to God a sacrifice of praise - the fruit of lips that confess his name” (Hebrews 13:15).

*Don’t allow yourself to complain about anything - During the difficult times, be very careful to watch your tongue. Instead of complaining, think of ways you can verbally offer God the sacrifice of thanksgiving. “Do everything without complaining or arguing, so that you may become blameless and pure, children of God without fault in a crooked and depraved generation, in which you shine like stars in the universe” (Philippians 1:14-15).

*Don’t compare yourself with others - Don’t wish your life were different. God knows what is best for you. The Bible says having a thankful heart is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus. When we begin to thank God for what we have rather than comparing ourselves with others, it opens the door for God’s blessings. “Each one should test his own actions. Then he can take pride in himself, without comparing himself to somebody else” (Galatians 6:4).

The Apostle Paul was a wonderful example of one who practiced thanksgiving in prayer. He didn’t complain about anything even when facing imprisonment. He didn’t fall into self-pity or compare himself with others. That would be hard for most of us. Instead, Paul thanked God in every circumstance, even the difficult ones. He was thankful in his prayers for others even when they were having trouble spiritually. See 1 Corinthians 1:4, Ephesians 1:16, Philippians 1:3, Colossians 1:3, 1 Thessalonians 1:2, 2 Thessalonians 1:3, 2 Timothy 1:3, and Philemon 4.

Most of us are in need of breakthroughs in prayer. The enemy is fighting hard with fiery darts of discouragement and lies. The way we will begin to deal with the lies in our lives and the vicious ways he tries to destroy our joy is through cultivating a thankful heart.

As we cultivate a lifestyle of worship and praise, we will be able to break through the strategies of the enemy. A worshipful and thankful life permeates the atmosphere with the presence of God because worship is the atmosphere where God’s truth dwells. Thanksgiving turns all that it touches into happiness.

A Prayer for a Thankful Heart

“Lord, teach me to offer you a heart of thanksgiving in all my daily experiences of life. Teach me to be joyful always, to pray continually, and to give thanks in all my circumstances. I accept them as Your will for my life (1 Thessalonians 5:16-18). I long to bring pleasure to Your heart. Break the power of the enemy in my life. Defeat Him through my sacrifice of praise. Change my outlook and attitude into one of joyful contentment with my present circumstance. Help me not to dwell on the negatives because discontent dries up my soul. I thank You for… (Name a difficult circumstance in your life presently and thank God for it). I offer this to You as my thank offering (Psalm 116:17).

Jesus, I want to be like You who obeyed the Father without complaint. You embraced the chains of humanity when you walked this earth. Convict me whenever I complain or compare myself with others. Give me Your attitude of humility and thankful acceptance. I want to be like the Apostle Paul who learned contentment in every circumstance. I choose to continually offer you a sacrifice of praise, the fruit of lips that give praise to Your name (Hebrews 13:15). I want to give You enjoyment through a life of thanksgiving. I long to bring a smile to Your face. Teach me the power of a thankful heart. I know that Your truth dwells in a thankful heart. In Jesus’ name, amen.”

"God smiles when we praise and thank Him continually. Few things feel better than receiving heartfelt praise and appreciation from someone else. God loves it, too… An amazing thing happens when we offer praise and thanksgiving to God. When we give God enjoyment, our own hearts are filled with joy." Rick Warren

Debbie Przybylski

Intercessors Arise International

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The Power of Worship

"Whatever the issue in your life is, the key is to worship a holy God who created you and knows everything about you - your failures, shortcomings, insecurities, besetting sins and fears. He sits on His throne, omniscient, and says something like this: 'I know your final destination, and I know how to get you from where you are now to where I want you to be. I know why I created you. If you'll worship Me, I will visit with you. I can tell you how to get untangled from the snares in your path and how to move forward. I can even reveal to you things to come that are pertinent to your life and world.'" Chuck Pierce with John Dickson

There is power in worshipping God. If we want to see breakthroughs in our life and in the lives of others, than this is the time to enter into deeper levels of worship both personally and corporately. It is only as we ascend to the throne room in worship that we can descend back into the harvest field here on earth, praying and warring for victory in every area of life. When you and I come boldly to God's throne in worship, He gives us His plans and strategies for our lives here on earth. There is no way that we can walk in His peace, power, and perfect plan without a lifestyle of worship.

To ascend is to arise, come up, increase, recover and restore. God wants us to rise up. He knows what He is doing here on earth. He can make sense of things that are happening and can show us the way through challenges. He can strengthen us in prayer and intercession and give us keys during our seasons of worship that unlock the path before us and bring glory into our situations here on earth. It's time to devote our self to a greater worship of the Lord.

Worship changes our lives and how we see our circumstances.

It is amazing to see life from God's point of view instead of our own. Living for many years on a missionary ship, at sea I would often feel seasick. Some voyages could be quite long and very stormy. If you’ve had the flu, you can imagine how uncomfortable that could be. One day on a rough voyage would
seem like an eternity! There was no way to escape the up and down or side to side motion of that ship.

But I did find one way to lessen the pain. My solution was to walk out on deck with my worship music and praise God as I gazed intently at the ocean. After an hour on deck worshipping God, my situation would seem very different - I would even feel better physically. It seemed like a miracle at sea, and in a very real sense worship does bring forth miracles.

A lifestyle of worship is the key to life.

We are entering turbulent waters, and we must lay hold of this reality so that each one of us may stand firm, hold steady, and pray fervently as the days unfold before us. There is no storm that Jesus will not be able to
conquer. If we worship Him in the midst of resistance, we shall see His victory. He can break through any obstacle when we make worship our lifestyle. The Psalms are filled with worship. Psalm 96:1-3 is a good example.

"Sing to the Lord a new song; sing to the Lord, all the earth. Sing to the Lord, praise his name; proclaim his salvation day after day. Declare his glory among the nations, his marvelous deeds among all peoples.”

Best-selling prayer author, Stormie Omartian, shares about an extremely difficult time in her life when she felt empty, paralyzed, and depressed. During that time the Lord spoke to her and said, “Simply worship Me.” This radically changed her life. In her book, The Prayer That Changes Everything, she says,

“We were created to worship God. It’s a state in which our soul finds true peace, rest, and purpose. But it must become a condition of the heart, a way of life, a pattern woven into the fabric of our being. Worship must become so ongoing that it is no longer even a decision that has to be made because the decision has already been made. Worship must become a lifestyle. When you make worship a lifestyle, it will determine in whose image you will be formed and what you become. Sometimes praise and worship will be the only thing you do in a situation. You will stand and praise God while the tornados of life whirl around you, and you will see God move on your behalf. And then you will understand the hidden power of praise. When you understand that concept, it will change your life.”

We all go through difficult times. In the midst of them, God loves persevering worship. Do you find it easy to worship God when facing difficulty? None of us do. This week we are moving out of our home in Virginia Beach after living here for 15 years. It is not easy packing, selling cars, or saying good-bye to so many people. It is not easy for my husband to drive a truck loaded with all our belongings to a place where we do not yet have a home. But the solution is praise and worship. God has it all figured out, and worship opens the way before us. There is power in worshipping God.

John Dickson was a man who faced an oppressive cloud of difficulty. He operated a Christian bookstore that went through a terrible financial crisis. Here is his testimony of how God broke through in his life.

"Sometimes we just have to tell our soul what to do. Our soul does not always feel like praising God. As I praised Him as an act of my will, my spirit began to awaken inside me. As my soul began to line up with my proclamations, a flow of anointing began to be released. The oppressive cloud would lift, and the presence of God would come into my store. Over time my business turned around, and I knew it was not because of my keen business… It was the Lord. He turned my business around because I praised Him in the hard place."

Are you overwhelmed by the troubles of life?

Are you overwhelmed by your circumstances?

Then praise and worship God with all your heart. Be radical and see the enemy flee. As you press through the heaviness, a transformation will take place. You will begin to see the beauty and greatness of God. Your faith will rise up. Your spirit will begin to sing. But you must take the first step. Open your mouth and begin. He can turn any darkness into light. Here is a breakthrough prayer and song to help you cultivate a lifestyle of worship.

Blessed be Your Name -

A Breakthrough Prayer for a Lifestyle of Worship

“Lord, I choose to praise and worship You today. You know how to break through the difficulties in my life. I choose not to be overwhelmed with circumstances, but instead I choose to behold your beauty and greatness. I choose to say blessed be Your name. You are my victorious God. I will praise Your name and proclaim Your salvation day after day. I will declare Your glory among the nations, Your marvelous deeds among all peoples (Psalm 96:1-3). I will sing to the Lord a new song.

Teach me to ascend to Your throne room in worship and then descend back into the harvest field here on earth, praying and warring for victory in every area of life. Help me to have a lifestyle of worship, thanking You in every situation. I believe that worshipping You is a key to breakthrough in every area of my life. I believe in the power of worshipping You. I know that Your truth dwells in a worshipping heart. I offer You a sacrifice of praise right now. Blessed be the name of the Lord. In Jesus’ name, amen.”

Notice the transformation that took place as John Dickson began to praise God right in the midst of a crisis. God brought victory and breakthrough. We can easily be overwhelmed by personal trials, but instead let’s be overwhelmed by the beauty of God. He loves it when we persevere in worshipping Him. He breaks through in
our situation when we do this.

"When things are wonderful, we praise Him. When things are horrible, we praise Him. Whether we are happy or sad or terrified or bored, we are determined to offer to God our sacrifice of praise. Everything in us should give praise to the Lord.”

This is from my new e-book called Breakthrough Prayer: Praying God’s Truth - overcoming Enemy Lies. To purchase this e-book, see Be sure to put 1 for quantity. The paperback version is not yet available.

Written by Debbie Przybylski

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