The Praise Principle


Are you ever discouraged? When you are, what do you do about it? Are you ever worried, even scared about your future? Are there times that you are facing monstrous problems and you do not know what to do about them? What about facing persistent pain that seems to follow you wherever you go? Are there any remedies to help us deal with these struggles?

Absolutely! Why not praise God through song?

"But", you ask, "How could that help me with all those problems?"

We often forget that we live in two different dimensions - the dimension that we see and the dimension that we do not see-the eternal dimension.

"But where is that found in the Bible?"

Eph 6:12 "For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms." NIV

"Wow! You mean there are actually agents trying to discourage me by creating huge stumble blocks in my life?"

Absolutely. Only through God's power can you resist them. The most effective ways of fighting these are through dependence on God and through praise Him through songs of worship. The principle is simple: When we praise God, the devil and his agents cannot stand by. They will flee from you. However, the opposite is also true of God. When we are praising Him, we are inviting His Holy Spirit to dwell in us and remove any insecurities that we may be facing.

James 4:7-8 "Submit yourselves, then, to God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you. Come near to God and he will come near to you." NIV

Tom White, president of The Voice of Martyrs experienced this when he was captured by Cuban authorities on May 27, 1979 after his plane crashed on a Cuban highway after dropping Christian literature over Cuba. The Cuban authorities weren't too keen about what he had done and tried to break his spirit by placing him alone in a dark, ice-cold cell. A terrible icy draft was coming into his room through the vents.

At first he was discouraged. He tried to keep himself warm by walking around. It didn't work and he was getting colder by the minute. He then tried to put himself into a foetal position in the corner of his cell with his pant legs stuffed into his socks so that the cold air would not go up his pants. He then put his head in his shirt and tried to keep himself warm with his breath. It helped for a few minutes, but the cold soon became intolerable again, and he started to shake more and more.

The only comfortable position would be to stand and lean against the ice-cold wall with his forehead. He was in despair and started to panic. He then remembered why he was in prison and told himself that he was approaching his problems the wrong way. He invited God's Spirit to come dwell in him and started to praise God out loud by singing every Christian song he knew. The Cuban guards were confused, but every time they went to check on him, he was continuing to sing.

When asked how he could sing, even in such circumstances, he answered, "Because I love Jesus!" They replied: "If you love Jesus, stop singing." But he didn't. He continued to praise God through song, and soon he realized he wasn't that cold any more. In fact, the cold was not bothering him at all! God had come to his rescue from the bitter cold!

DC Talk and the Voice of the Martyrs. Jesus Freaks. Tulsa, Oklahoma: Albury Publishing, 1999, p. 256-260. www.persecution.com

Praising God through our singing is effective my friends! Try it. Sing with conviction and with love towards your Heavenly Father and you will notice an immediate a change in how you are feeling about your situation. God is awesome!

Now I would like to base the effectiveness of praising God on God's Word. There are so many texts to choose from. Paul and Silas in prison, David facing trouble, etc.. But I would like to base this message on a text that isn't as well known in our Western world. The text is found in 2 Chron. 20: 1-27. We find ourselves in a time period where Jehoshaphat is king of Judah. Unlike his predecessors, He was a good king who had a close relationship with his Maker. Being a firm believer doesn't keep trouble out of our way though! The Moabites joined ranks with the Ammonites and the Menunites and decided to conquer Judah. This was a "vast army" and Jehoshaphat had no way to match it. The inhabitants of Judah, naturally, became discouraged. They were sure they would all perish or become enslaved by their enemies!

Jehoshaphat first reaction was to assemble his people and pray to God. You know, my friend, you can never go wrong when you consult first with your God in Heaven! Whenever you are facing a huge problem or an impossible trial, try God first, not last!

I love Jehosaphat's conclusion in his prayer: 2 Chron 20:12 "For we have no power to face this vast army that is attacking us. We do not know what to do, but our eyes are upon you." In other words, Jehosaphat is saying, "with our eyes on you Lord, I hand over my problem, because it is a God-sized problem! Humanly there are no solutions to it. Only You have the solution!"

Immediately God's Spirit revealed Himself through Jahaziel and he made the following prophecy: 2 Chron 20:15-17 "Listen, King Jehoshaphat and all who live in Judah and Jerusalem! This is what the LORD says to you: 'Do not be afraid or discouraged because of this vast army. For the battle is not yours, but God's. Tomorrow march down against them. They will be climbing up by the Pass of Ziz, and you will find them at the end of the gorge in the Desert of Jeruel. You will not have to fight this battle. Take up your positions; stand firm and see the deliverance the LORD will give you, O Judah and Jerusalem. Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged. Go out to face them tomorrow, and the LORD will be with you.'" NIV

More easily said that done, right? Of course we know we should not be afraid when facing problems, because we know that: "the battle is not yours, but God's." But so often we forget who our partner is when we become Christians. God is our Father, why would He neglect helping His children?

"You will not have to fight this battle." The people of Judah received God's guarantee that they would not have to lift one finger or sword against this huge army. Incredible! How is this possible? Because God is in control!

2 Chron 20:20-21 "Early in the morning they left for the Desert of Tekoa. As they set out, Jehoshaphat stood and said, "Listen to me, Judah and people of Jerusalem! Have faith in the LORD your God and you will be upheld; have faith in his prophets and you will be successful." 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." NIV

Can you imagine facing a vast enemy army and instead of spears and swords, you only have songs of praise? This defies logic. Some would even say that this is ridiculous! However, the fact remain that Jehosaphat and the inhabitants of Judah were facing their enemies with only songs of praise! "Can a song of praise defeat an army?" Let us find out.

2 Chron 20:22-24 "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. The men of Ammon and Moab rose up against the men from Mount Seir to destroy and annihilate them. After they finished slaughtering the men from Seir, they helped to destroy one another. When the men of Judah came to the place that overlooks the desert and looked toward the vast army, they saw only dead bodies lying on the ground; no one had escaped." NIV

The whole enemy's army started to fight one another and kill each other! None of them remained alive! Jehosaphat never even lifted his sword! Are songs of praise effective? Absolutely! They defeat vast armies!

Let's especially pay attention to the phrase: "As they began to sing and praise". The cause of Judah's victory is given to their songs of praise. Praising God invites Him into your situation and chases the enemy away!

Are you facing huge problems? Are you facing monstrous uncertainties? Is pain your companion? No matter your situation, start praising God through songs of worship and hand over your problems to Him. All your problems will be placed in their right perspective and victory will be yours! God will come and rescue you! Encouragement will replace discouragement, peace will replace worries, relief will replace pain. But most important of all, you will feel God's Spirit dwell in you and feel his loving arms embrace you, telling you that you are not alone in this, you have the most powerful ally on your side: Jesus Christ and His armies!

Jesus promised: Matt 11:28 "Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest." NIV

Do you have burdens? Hand them over to Jesus. Do you have worries? Hand them over to Jesus. Do you have discouragements? Hand them over to Jesus by praising Him through joyful singing. He will give you rest, my friends! He is your Sabbath. He is the only one who can give you that inner peace!

But let's finish the story: 2 Chron 20:25-26 "So Jehoshaphat and his men went to carry off their plunder, and they found among them a great amount of equipment and clothing and also articles of value-more than they could take away. There was so much plunder that it took three days to collect it. On the fourth day they assembled in the Valley of Beracah, where they praised the LORD. This is why it is called the Valley of Beracah to this day." NIV

Not only was Jehoshaphat victorious over his enemy, he was blessed beyond imagination with their spoil! My friends, your problems are insignificant when you hand them over to God. Not only does He guarantee you victory, he also guarantees you eternal blessings! Could there be a better blessing than obtaining eternal life?-life without strive, life without pain or suffering, life filled with love and peace, life without death-this is what awaits you, my friends! Praise be to God, our awesome God!

When it was all said and done, notice what Jehoshaphat and his men did: 2 Chron 20:27 "Then, led by Jehoshaphat, all the men of Judah and Jerusalem returned joyfully to Jerusalem, for the LORD had given them cause to rejoice over their enemies." NIV

You can rejoice over your calamities as well. What do you need to do? Just hand over your problems, your pains, your uncertainties, your anxieties, your depression to Jesus, and He will give you rest!

Will you invite Him in your life now? Will you try the Praise Principle in your life? Try it. You will not be disappointed!

Rob Chaffart



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