Yesterday, I started tackling this great question, “Why do we pray?” I say it’s a great question because I believe that God is big enough for all of our questions and enjoys watching us grow. So, I’m working through the big ideas in the few lines of James 5. For today, it’s “Is anyone happy? Let them sing songs of praise.”
Now, I’m a singer and anyone who has been with me for any great length of time will hear me at random places (public and private) hum, sing softly, or even sing loudly. I can sing by ear or note, in choirs, groups, or solos. Microphone in hand and feet on the stage or barefoot in the living room or the pasture – singing is a form of prayer for me. It is a way for me to communicate with (speaking, listening, receiving, responding) to God.
I have a beautiful little chocolate lab who had surgery earlier this week. When she is back up on all fours, she will be doing her happy puppy dance once again. When she is happy, you can’t help but know it. There is a dance in her step, a prance in her walk, and a happy tail waggle. In her own way, she is singing a song of praise.
Praise is just a much part of prayer as petition. So, when we are in trouble we pray. When things are going well and we are happy – we praise. For many of us, that takes care of two major mood groups right there. But, it does beg the question – why praise? Have you taken a good look at the news out there? I have a couple of thoughts. One is that it’s infectious. It really is! When someone around you is happy and sharing that joy, others perk up as well. I think that we are meant to help share that happiness with others around us. But, maybe it helps perk God up to. In the sense that it makes Him happy to hear us realize the gifts in our own designed (albeit limited) ways. Another is that the good seems to be weighed down by the bad these days. The news can be hard to take. Praise reminds us that God really is sovereign and in charge – in the good and the trouble.
Give it a try today, burst out in song. Maybe someone will even sing along!