When Do You Praise the Lord?

When do you praise the Lord? It's what we say when we don't know what else to say. 

When something turns out the way we wanted and maybe we think God is on our side. 

When someone compliments us and we don't want to take on the pride, when we need to be humble and recognize the Giver of every gift, when they think we have it all together and we know we don't.

Praise the Lord!

And again, when we don't know what to say.

Praise the Lord!

It can be one of those catch-all Christian phrases, insertable at anytime and perfect for a variety of uses. The Swiss army knife of Christianese.

Leah, when she had given Jacob four sons in four verses, guess what she said?

And she conceived again and bore a son, and said, "Now I will praise the LORD." Therefore she called his name Judah. Then she stopped bearing. {Gen 29:35 NKJV}

I find some humor in that verse, but I'm just that way. 

But Rachel, who had given Jacob no children - did she praise the Lord for that? Was there any humor in her longing and would you have comforted her with cliches, as her friend?

We are called to give thanks in everything.  And you probably knew this question was coming - do we praise the Lord for the hard things?

Sometimes I hear praise the Lord and my cynical-self thinks, "Don't blame God for that!".  

Sometimes I say those words myself and they are so hollow that a thousand cliches could float around in them.

And when I say that nothing too devastating has ever happened to me and I add a praise the Lord, is that like knocking on wood or crossing my fingers?  

Is it like insurance?

But this Psalm.  

It covers all of eternity in just 9 verses and I hear it singing. It chases out the cynic in me and puts everything in order, in perspective, and it's perfect and right to say praise the Lord here.

Praise the LORD! Praise, O servants of the LORD, Praise the name of the LORD! Blessed be the name of the LORD From this time forth and forevermore! From the rising of the sun to its going down The LORD's name is to be praised. The LORD is high above all nations, His glory above the heavens. Who is like the LORD our God, Who dwells on high, Who humbles Himself to behold The things that are in the heavens and in the earth? He raises the poor out of the dust, And lifts the needy out of the ash heap, That He may seat him with princes--With the princes of His people. He grants the barren woman a home, Like a joyful mother of children. Praise the LORD! - {Psa 113:1-9 NKJV}

Is there anything better to fill in the blanks? 


In community with A Holy Experience, Scribing the Journey, Titus 2sdays, Getting Down with Jesus, and Imperfect Prose.