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Back to Praise and Thanks

Encouraging Prayer / James Banks
The Truth Network Radio
September 4, 2021 12:00 pm

Back to Praise and Thanks

Encouraging Prayer / James Banks

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September 4, 2021 12:00 pm

It's so basic to the Christian life, but it’s often overlooked. We know we need to do it, but we often don’t just because we don’t feel like it. James & Robby talk about the importance of praise and thanks - and how to overcome the self-perpetuating cycle of neglecting to do so.

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Today on Encouraging Prayer, Dr. James Banks, author of the bestselling Prayers for Prodigals and many other books on prayer, provides weekly biblical insight to help you learn to love to pray. And now, here's James. We don't feel like it. But the problem with not feeling like it is that because it's self-perpetuating, James, I'll let you take it from there. You are so right.

It is self-perpetuating if we don't make the effort to kind of snap ourselves out of it. But I mean, I was starting to feel like I often would as a kid in church where you were talking there. That preacher, he's talking to me.

How did he know so much about my personal life? And it's actually the conviction of the Holy Spirit. But what we're talking about is praising and thanking God. How many times do I go throughout the day thinking, you know, I need to praise God more and I don't take the next step.

And there's a reason for that if we're really going to be honest, and that is it takes effort. And we all may feel like praising God when things are going well, and we know it's sometimes difficult to do when they're not. But what about the in-between moments, those mundane times that we go through every single day? My friend Daniel Henderson said the problem with Christian life is that it's so daily. Because this is where so much is really put on the line as far as our personal discipleship with Jesus is concerned. Am I walking with him in those moments or not?

That's the challenge, isn't it? And if you think about it, when we talk about praise, we often talk about the Psalms because there's so many references to praise and thanks like Psalms 103, right? Bless the Lord, O my soul, and all that is within me. Bless his holy name.

Bless the Lord, O my soul, and forget not all his benefits. That's David writing, but David didn't have all that we have in Jesus. And if David wants to praise God with all that's within him and not forget all the good things God does for us, how about those who have received salvation through his cross and all the hope and the promises that we have? Right, all the grace that we have received.

I mean, think of the sacrifices David had to offer, and you're so right. That's why there's so much in the New Testament about this like Philippians 4, you know? Rejoice in the Lord always. I will say and rejoice. But of course, this is where we come back to the challenge. And that's what Paul was talking about when he said, I will say it again.

How can I do that? And I think the best place to start practically is to ask for God's help to do it. Let's just start right there. Be honest with Jesus about not feeling it sometimes and ask him to change that. This is where I really like Hebrews 13, 15's advice, which says, Through Jesus, let us continually offer to God a sacrifice of praise, the fruit of lips that openly profess his name. So a sacrifice requires effort, and it's an action that costs us something. And it helps so much to understand that praising and thanking God really often starts that way, because we're naturally so self focused. So this is where we have to discipline ourselves to praise God more.

Darrell Bock Discipline? I mean, did you have to use the D word? Don't you have some tricks or tips or something that we can do an end run on our emotions and help us skip the hard part? I know, right? Because so often when you hear preachers talk about this, it's like they're angry.

You know, you need to do this. Praise God more. Praise a serious business, you know? And yes, it absolutely is. But that really isn't the right approach. I think it's healthier to look at ourselves and say, Yep, I got a problem with this.

But that's no excuse. I'm not going to let that stop me. I'm going to do this more. I'm going to work on this in my heart and my life because Jesus is so worth it.

And I know I do. Because otherwise, what are we doing? We're trying to praise him in our own strength.

And that never works out. So again, coming back to that humble place of saying, Lord, I need your help to do this really is the best place to start. Aha. So Jesus is the way. So it's an end run after all. No, no, it's just a run to Jesus. What we're talking about here is just honest prayer and being humble about our messing up with this. And do we have to make an effort?

Yes, yes. But the beautiful thing is that as we do, he will meet us in that place and help us and lift us and encourage us. Oh, yes, you will. Because, you know, if you think about it, Scripture talks about this principle in so many places. You will seek me and find me when you seek me with all your heart. God tells the people through Jeremiah or Jesus words, seek and you will find in Matthew 7.

Right. And that verse is in the context of praying, you know, it starts, ask, and it will be given you seek and you will find. So I think that there really is so much that we can do with this. And we have to find our own way to do it, you know, that are personal to us. But again, we just have to recognize it so often starts with effort on our part, and God will meet us there.

So let's go there for a bit. Robby, what is it that you do that helps you praise God? Well, for me, I really have started to memorize the Psalms. And I really praise God for an old guy like me that can remember stuff that just blows my mind how the Holy Spirit works really well with Scripture. Better than why I have walked into the kitchen, you know?

This is where you're so much more spiritual than I am. I do things like I go for a walk in the woods. This morning, Kerry and I were walking by the river in Durham, and it was just beautiful, a cool morning.

And, you know, the sun reflecting off the water. And I just realized, you know, God, what you've made is beautiful. I need to praise you for it. And, you know, in other mundane moments, what I do is I love to put on an app that has Christian music playing, you know, whether it's Pandora or Spotify or whatever, and just let that kind of lift me and help me.

And this matters. It matters so much for us, because these have been difficult days for so many people. And sometimes perhaps we've made them more difficult than they need to be by taking our eyes off our one source of hope and putting them on our circumstances and letting in a spirit of fear. And what we need to do is let in more of his spirit. And we can do that by praising him and thanking him for all the blessings we have. And again, remember that as we make that effort, he really will meet us. And we really will feel like praising him all the more. So, Robbie, would you just finish things off today by praying that we can all do just that?

Oh, I'd love to. Jesus, thank you. We do praise you. And we're so grateful for the message that James shared today, that it's a sacrifice because it requires effort. Lord, help us to make the effort. We need you in order to do this.

And it's so worth it because you are so amazing. And I thank you that we've had this today. In Jesus' name I pray. Amen. Amen. You can hear more from Pastor James by visiting his website,, or by visiting Peace Church in Durham, North Carolina. May God bless you and encourage you as you pray.
Whisper: medium.en / 2023-09-08 09:28:57 / 2023-09-08 09:32:33 / 4

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