Praise God…Are you Kidding Me?
I always thought nothing bad could happen to my family. Now my Mommy has breast cancer. How could you let this happen?
My eye caught a glimpse of my 10 year old daughter’s journal entry as I tucked her into bed and knelt to pray with her. Hours earlier the hospital had called to confirm that I did indeed have cancer, it was aggressive, and I needed a double complete mastectomy. My heart was already pounding in fear. But now, looking at my daughter’s journal lying open on her bedroom floor, new worries and what if’s assaulted my mind. What if I wasn’t alive to finish raising my four children? What if Steve couldn’t handle being a single dad? What if my kids walked away from God because they felt abandoned by Him? What if I didn’t live long enough to see my grandchildren?
In utter desperation, I called my mentor looking for comfort. After we prayed together on the phone, Linda had an idea that honestly caught me off guard. “Becky, why don’t you give God 20 minutes of praise every day for the next five days?” I was sure she had to be kidding! I mean I was just diagnosed with cancer. I was facing a double mastectomy in ten days. I hardly felt like jumping up and down and shouting, “Hallelujah!” Linda went on to explain that she wasn’t asking me to praise God for cancer she was asking me to praise God for who He was above the cancer. After wrestling with her idea, I decided to give praise a shot. After all, what did I have to lose?
In those first five days what I experienced was so profound it forever changed me as a person and as a parent! I began by sheer obedience, not feeling particularly thankful. I began praising the names and attributes of God starting with the letter A. God, you are the Anointed One, the One Who saves and protects. God, Your work is Awesome as you are truly awesome. I kept going and while I did this, the Holy Spirit began to work within my mind. He began to push the truth of what I was praising God for from my head down into my heart. And the twenty minutes flew by. The next day, I praised my way through some of the “I Am” statements of Jesus, Lord, I praise you because You are The Good Shepherd. You promise to restore my soul even when I am afraid. Lord Jesus, I praise You because You are the light of the world. Even though my world feels dark right now, You are the light of the world. Again, the twenty minutes flew by. The third day, I listened to worship music and let the music prompt my praise. As I continued beyond those first five days, God’s presence came close and He began to quiet my fears. I didn’t know if my cancer would be healed, but I was re-falling in love with Jesus all over again. Over time, I began to change. I struggled with less anxiety and felt more peace than ever before. I experienced the love and presence of God in new ways and that left me hungry for even more.
“I learned that praising God isn’t some glib hallelujah when finances are prospering, your health is flourishing and your family is thriving. Praising God is an intentional declaration by faith that exalts God above your life circumstances.”
The Psalmist David, wrote, “I will extol the Lord at all times; His praise will always be on my lips” (Psalm 34:1). When we dare to praise God above whatever is happening in our lives, our husband’s life or the lives of our children, it is a game changer in the heavens. Our eyes are lifted off of our problems and onto The Almighty Problem Solver. Strongholds come falling down, patterns of generational sin are broken and victories are won. I can’t explain it. I just know it to be true.
As I have continued the practice of praising God for at least twenty minutes per day over the last fifteen years, I have watched God do incredible things in our family. I am now more convinced than ever that praising God is key to transforming families.
Becky Harling is the author of Finding Calm in Life’s Chaos, Rewriting Your Emotional Script, which has also been published in Polish, and Freedom From Performing, The 30 Day Praise Challenge and The 30 Day Praise Challenge For Parents.