The Power of Praise
IT may seem like a small thing -- praise for God. It may seem a nice little practice but without great consequence. Yet I've found the practice of praise to be a vital healing activity. It's like the little guy in the lineup at a baseball game. At first glance, his small size seems to preclude much hitting ability. But when he starts hitting the ball solidly, you realize that it's true -- good things can come in small packages. Or, in the case of praise, vital things can come in simple practices.
The Bible is full of praise for God. Its writers praise Him for being God. Then, there is praise for what God does -- ``mighty acts'' and ``great things.'' It seems clear that Bible writers had a conviction that praise is a worthwhile, even a vital practice. As the Psalmist said, ``Oh that men would praise the Lord for his goodness, and for his wonderful works to the children of men!''1
Because our eyes and ears often speak to us of a life that is a random conglomeration of mortal beings separated from God, struggling for survival, the idea of what life is can grow dismal. Yet the God the Biblical writers praise is Life itself. And because God is also divine Love, the one eternal good, true existence is good.
Our real being is not that of a mortal in isolation, separated from God, but the very outcome of divine Love, the child of Spirit, forever in the presence of God. ``What is man, that thou art mindful of him? and the son of man, that thou visitest him?'' the Psalmist asks God. ``For thou hast made him a little lower than the angels, and hast crowned him with glory and honour.''2
And what of God's ``mighty acts''? It might be easy to believe that such things belong only to Biblical times, in which the Red Sea was parted for the Israelites through divine power, when the three Hebrew captives were unharmed in the flaming furnace, and when the unparalleled healing works of Christ Jesus occurred. But healings continue to take place today in individual lives, though they aren't necessarily receiving widespread attention.
God is the one true Life of all. His loving care is eternal and in force now, everywhere, and on behalf of every individual. But we need to recognize this absolute truth and come to understand it more and more clearly so that we can increasingly prove the reality of His care in our lives. God does care for and preserve what He creates. ``Father-Mother is the name for Deity, which indicates His tender relationship to His spiritual creation''3 is how Mary Baker Eddy, the Discoverer and Founder of Christian Science, explains God in this light.
Surely the Psalmist's utterance ``Oh that men would praise the Lord for his goodness'' doesn't mean that we should praise Him only when things are going well. The healing love present in God's ``tender relationship to His spiritual creation'' is here all the time and is active in our behalf. Praising this love -- in the midst of difficulties -- can help turn our thought to its healing power.
In the midst of a difficulty, it may seem quite a challenge to find anything praiseworthy. Yet evidence of our own loving relationship to God can be discerned. It may require a great effort on our part to put aside the gloom so that we can commune with God and have our eyes opened to this evidence. But once we catch even a glimpse, we see the way to healing.
Praise for God is a practice that can bring us great joy. But more than this, it can be a gateway to healing.
1Psalms 107:8. 2Psalms 8:4, 5. 3Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures, p. 332.