I have a confession to make. Praising God "on demand" is hard for me. For me, praise is something that comes spontaneously, a response to the goodness and kindness of God I experience in everyday life. I praise God a lot in those in-the-moment times. However, if I'm in a prayer group where the leader announces that "We're just going to spend some time giving praise to God," I freeze. Somehow, those times feel forced to me. I don't want to offer empty "Hallelujahs," but I don't know what else to say. I'm not proud of this deficiency and I don't make excuses for it--it's just how it is for me. An area for me to grow in, I'm sure.
So, when I was talking with God the other night and out of the blue I sensed Him saying to me, Praise Me! I froze. Abba, You know I love You, I replied. You are most definitely worthy of all praise! Help me! I'm not unwilling, but I don't want to be mechanical. I don't know how to respond from my heart.
As He always does when I admit my weakness and ask for help, God graciously came alongside me. He reminded me of a situation that He is miraculously unfolding for me and invited me to write a psalm about it. He pointed me to Psalm 30, which we'd studied in church that morning, and suggested I use it as a model for the structure of my praise-prayer.
Encouraged, I opened my Bible--and my heart--and to my surprise, spontaneous praise poured out. I found that I wanted to talk about the amazing things God was doing in my circumstances, and I wanted to make sure He knew--and everyone else did, too--that I was in awe of Him.
So, if, like me, you sometimes freeze when you are asked to offer on-the-spot praise to God, try opening your Bible and using a Psalm as a model to craft praise to God for something He's doing in your life. Let me know what happens.
Also, when you find yourself unable to do something that you know is right and good and would bring pleasure to God, don't give up or beat yourself up. Instead, confess honestly your inadequacy and ask God for help. He is our Helper and loves to be strong in our weakness. I can attest to that!