Honesty moment. Sometimes I just wasn't in the mood to throw my hands up in the air and praise God. I would have a really bad day, and everything had been going wrong that could possibly go wrong! I would have rather crawled under a rock and throw myself a pity party. And, that accomplished what, you ask? Nothing. Exactly.
It took a long time for me to realize that amazing things happen when you praise God on your mountain-tops, but you praise Him even harder in your valleys.
Paul and Silas are the perfect examples of praising God during their valleys in Acts 16:25-34:
About midnight Paul and Silas were praying and singing hymns to God, and the prisoners were listening to them, and suddenly there was a great earthquake, so that the foundations of the prison were shaken. And immediately all the doors were opened, and everyone's bonds were unfastened. When the jailer woke and saw that the prison doors were open, he drew his sword and was about to kill himself, supposing that the prisoners had escaped. But Paul cried with a loud voice, “Do not harm yourself, for we are all here.” And the jailer called for lights and rushed in, and trembling with fear he fell down before Paul and Silas. Then he brought them out and said, “Sirs, what must I do to be saved?” And they said, “Believe in the Lord Jesus, and you will be saved, you and your household.”And they spoke the word of the Lord to him and to all who were in his house. And he took them the same hour of the night and washed their wounds; and he was baptized at once, he and all his family. Then he brought them up into his house and set food before them. And he rejoiced along with his entire household that he had believed in God.
Despite their present circumstances, Paul and Silas chose to pray and sing hymns of praise to God. In the midst of their trial they displayed a supernatural joy. A joy that can only come from God himself. Because of this, not only were they freed from prison, but the Jailer received Christ and was baptized along with his family.
Like Paul and Silas, we too, can experience miracles in our lives and the lives of those around us, when we choose to exalt God in our lowest moments.
So, how do we praise our way out of pain and hurt?
1. Remember where He has brought you from.
Looking back and reflecting on how faithful God has been in your life will give you hope and remind you that He will continue to have His hand on your life. He never left you then, and He won't leave you now.
2. Cry Him a river.
Praising God will not always come from a heart that's happy. Tears are allowed, and encouraged. Take your pain, hurt, and brokenness, and meet Jesus at the Cross.
3. Go on a Worship walk with Jesus.
Put your headphones on and go for a walk. Walking releases endorphins and is good for your health while worship strengthens our faith and is good for our souls. Together, these two are the ultimate spirit-lifter for any occasion.
4. Praise Him anyways.
Yep, it's just that easy. Sometimes, we just have to force ourselves to fake it, until we make it. I promise you that within minutes, you will begin to feel better.
No matter what you may be going through, remember, that God is God. He is Sovereign. He is just. And what He allows you to go through, is only to grow you.