Psalms: Songs of Praise
PRAISE, not pity. That's the repeated message found in Psalms. Praise for the goodness of God and for the constant, loving care He gives His creation runs throughout this Old Testament book. It carries, also, the spirit of a deep devotion to God, and a willingness to trust Him in any circumstance. It overflows with testimony of God's love, His power, His faithfulness, His righteousness. In times and circumstances when we might expect pity, the psalms can turn us to praise. And this praise for what God is already doing can open the door to healing.
The truths found in Psalms reveal God's unfailing care for man. But they do it in a special way -- through praise. As it says in Psalm 107, ``Oh that men would praise the Lord for his goodness, and for his wonderful works to the children of men!''
Praise, of course, is not something we plug into so that things will work out for us. The very thought ``Praise God!'' recognizes the presence and power of God right where we are. Mary Baker Eddy, the Discoverer and Founder of Christian Science, says in Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures, ``God is not moved by the breath of praise to do more than He has already done, nor can the infinite do less than bestow all good, since He is unchanging wisdom and Love.''
Praising God, then, isn't meant to persuade Him to help us. Instead, it lifts our burdens by opening our eyes to God's, divine Love's, presence with us, and we gain a fresh perspective on spiritual creation, as, for example, in Psalm 104: ``O Lord, how manifold are thy works!... Thou sendest forth thy spirit, they are created.''
Since God is man's creator, He is Father-Mother, man's one, divine Parent. God's parenting includes every aspect of care and love bestowed upon each individual He creates. This is something God is doing for each of His children right now.
But, if we're waist-deep (or worse!) in burden and self-pity, we can easily miss what God is doing. Taking time to adopt wholeheartedly the truths of God, such as those we find in Psalms, helps to open our eyes to what God is already doing to care for His children.
But can praise -- even for God -- actually help us in practical ways? Not if we're trying to use praise as a technique. But if our praise is the natural outpouring of joy we feel as we witness more of God's strong and active role in the midst of our affairs, then praise does have a practical impact on our lives. This care may show up in many forms -- as friendly help, a new job, a bouquet of flowers. Such evidences of God's love lift our days.
Praise for the evidence of God's care in our lives is a recognition of who God is and what He has created. It puts us in line with the standpoint Christ Jesus spoke from when he said, ``Consider the lilies of the field, how they grow.... Wherefore, if God so clothe the grass of the field...shall he not much more clothe you...?'' Although this care may first come as a lifting of our hearts when we feel down, gradually we'll find that our love and praise for God bring the spiritual growth that not only clothes us with joy but brings abundant good into our lives -- even when we least expect it.
You can find more articles about spiritual healing in the Christian Science Sentinel, a weekly magazine.