Tuesday, April 5, 2011

Praise: Part One

Lord, open my lips and my mouth will declare Your praise. (Psalm 51:15)

This week my topic is Praise, specifically using names of God while we praise Him. The Bible is full of different names for God, names that each express one aspect of His character or His relationship to us. I love to use the names of God when I pray. I like to say that using a specific name of God to open my prayer time is like finding just the right way to begin a love letter. It puts me in that worship mood instantly! But more important than my mood is the fact that praising God by name glorifies Him.

Last week I posted about praying that we will be more aware of God. I mentioned the fact that He is aware of us. That is the simple truth expressed by this name of God: “The God Who Sees.”

When I began writing my Praise Patterns book, focusing on names of God, I was teaching my Sacred Signposts book. One Tuesday morning towards the end of class, my friend Ellen burst in the door. She'd just come from her doctor. She'd just learned that she had cancer. We all gathered around her and prayed, and my friend Maura gave her some very detailed information about what to expect. Maura had faced breast cancer herself a couple years before, and she knew what Ellen's next few months would hold. As everyone was leaving, Maura turned in the doorway and said, “I have a doctor's appointment today. Just a routine checkup. I'm not worried.” Well, as Maura said later, “that was a doozy of a statement!”

The routine checkup showed that Maura's cancer was back, and her diagnosis was very serious. At first her doctors didn't expect her to live more than a year. (Now, 15 months later, Maura is still with us, still needing treatments occasionally, but still with us!) Our women's group was very shaken up by this news. Maura is not only active in our Bible study, she's very involved in a youth ministry at another church. Maura has three young kids.

When Maura got this scary diagnosis, I kept telling God how valuable Maura was to everyone, how talented she is, how she is serving Him so whole-heartedly. I was so upset at the thought of losing Maura that I lost sight of God's sight. And then in my writing project, I reached my chapter about “The God Who Sees.” I found such comfort in this Name! I wrote this prayer:

O Lord Who Sees, it is so hard to praise You tonight! You know the news my friend got from her doctor today. You know her condition. You know her future. You know her needs right now. You see. You know. I will take comfort in knowing that You know.

When I use the expression, “Oh I see,” I mean “I understand now” or “I am aware.” God is always aware of us, and He understands us intimately. God sees each of us, in our unique situation, no matter how distant we may feel from Him.

Nevertheless, God's solid foundation stands firm, having this inscription: The Lord knows those who are His...(2 Timothy 2:19a)
Lord, You have searched me and known me. (Psalm 139:1)

This Praise series is based on my Praise Patterns book, and I shared these messages at Shiloh Bible Camp.

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