"When you enter his presence with praise, he enters your circumstances with power." (Jerusalem Prayer Team's photo seen on Facebook) These words speak volumes, don't they? They are worth re-reading a couple of times and if truth be told, we need to hear them more than once to just get this into our hearts! We see stuff with our eyes, hear it with our ears, and even get it into our minds okay, but getting it to actually affect our hearts takes some doing though. When we enter - we bring all manner of worry and heartache with our precursor of praise, don't we? When we enter - we bring all manner of emotional upheaval and depth of need, don't we? All we are called to do is enter - with praise on our lips - and then he does the rest!
Let your hearts fall under the rule of the Anointed’s peace (the peace you were called to as one body), and be thankful. (Colossians 3:15 VOICE)
It may seem hard at times to really praise God, especially when the circumstances are beyond our understanding, or the weight of our burdens has become too great for us to bear up under. Scripture reminds us to enter his gates with thanksgiving and his courts with praise (Psalm 100:4), but honestly, it is pretty hard to be thankful at times, much less be filled with praises about the circumstances we find ourselves facing. God doesn't expect us to be false in our praise, but if we remember the purpose of praise, we might just be inclined to praise even a little more than we might feel like it!
Praise is really a way of reminding ourselves who is in the "lead position" in our lives - it isn't us - it is God. This may be why he asks us to enter his gates with thanksgiving and his courts with praise. The courts were the place the King did his business - where he sat upon the throne and ruled. When we enter with praise, we are acknowledging he is the one on the throne of our hearts. In the mess of all the muddle around us, he remains the true one in control - giving him praise just acknowledges that control.
Praise is an acknowledgement that he is the one who possesses all we need in order to break free from all the worry, weight, and weariness we bring to him. It is truly as indicated above in the quote from my media feed - he enters our circumstances with his power. Power is the opposite of worry - for simply acknowledging the wrong one has been taking control of our thoughts might just open the door to the power that changes them from anxious thoughts into peaceful thoughts. Power is the opposite of the weight we carry - for even the action of simply beginning to lift our hands to the one who is all powerful requires us to lay down what we have been carrying, giving him the ability to pick it up and remove it from our midst. Power is the opposite of the weariness of our bodies and souls which brings us down and makes us slow - for the simple action of lifting our voice in words of heartfelt praise brings refreshing to our souls and eases the weariness of our bodies.
Praise is also a source of exchange - we leave behind what we came with (or without), and take up what he provides in exchange. We never leave God's presence empty-handed (or empty-hearted). In praise, we enter - acknowledging the one who meets our needs fully and without measure. It is praise which opens the doorway to his courts - the place where we find the power we need for the circumstances we cannot overcome without his intervention. We look for power in many places, but it is found only in the midst of his courts. We enter those courts through praise, then worship begins to break upon our hearts until we find ourselves "settling down" into the peace of those courts. There it is we find this exchange of our "missed opportunities" which have led to our lack of peace beginning to become the place we find the opening of new opportunities and the restoration of our peace.
As we enter his courts, we "fall under his rule" - our hearts acknowledge his position in our lives, but our spirits are filled to overflowing with the peace which comes from no other source. We bring worry, weariness, and weight beyond our control - he gives us peace, power, and provision - such an exchange has never been offered in any other source. Perhaps we have been looking for the circumstances to change in our lives. Maybe the thing we need to realize is the place where these circumstances actually change - in the courts of the King of Kings, and Lord of Lords! Just praisin!