How To Study God's Word | Day Eight
I am not a runner. I love sports, but running seems like absolute torture. However, I have learned a thing or two from the dedicated runners in my life. If you are training for a marathon like my sister just did, (bless her heart), “rest days” are just as important as training days. As you run, your body breaks down muscle in order to build it back up stronger than before. However, if you never rest, the muscles never get a chance to build back up.
The same is true when it comes to learning to walk worthy of our call as daughters of the Most High King (Ephesians 4:1). It is often hard to learn to live worthy of our calling; it takes time, patience, and practice. Much like training for a marathon, it takes discipline to build endurance and run the race God has called us to.
But, here is where the principle of the rest day comes in. Every few days in our study of God’s Word, it is important that we take a day to rest, to be refreshed in a way that can only come through praise. On this last day of our study together, we’ll look at what it means to take what I call a “praise day” (Cheesy, I know, but go with it!). It is important to praise the Lord while studying Scripture, as well as when you’re going about your day. But, it is equally as important to set aside specific time with the Lord to simply praise Him!
Let’s start out our last day together by thanking the Lord for this opportunity to spend time with Him. Ask Him to help you gain a passion for praising Him and for Him to speak to you through His Word.
We’ve spent the past week studying a passage of Scripture in John 3, learning why it is important to study God’s Word, how to find the purpose in a passage, how to paraphrase in order to understand, how to allow God’s Word to purify our hearts and minds, how to show ourselves patience as we grow, how prayer fits into study, and lastly how to put it all together in practice! That’s a lot! (And I pray God has taught you so much and given you an excitement about studying His Word!)
Read Psalm 147:1 out loud and then write it out in your journal.
The definition of praise is: “to honor and ascribe worth to God.”* The Bible continuously calls us to praise God. It teaches us that He is worthy of our praise!
Now Read Psalm 147:1 again.
Why is it good to praise God (to honor and give worth to Him)? Why is it a “pleasant” experience for you to praise God?
Why is it “fitting” to praise God?
Ok, let’s get real honest here.
When is it hardest for you to praise God? When is it easiest for you to praise Him?
For me, it’s often hardest to adore Him when things are going “wrong” in my life and easiest to praise Him when things are going well. I imagine I’m not alone on that one. One of the most important lessons the Lord has ever taught me (and I’m still learning) is that He is worthy of my praise no matter my circumstances. You see, God’s goodness, power, and loving kindness are not determined by my circumstances. He is good even when things seem wrong. He is in control even when I am not. He is loving even when I don’t feel lovable.
I think that is why I love the book of Psalms so much. It is full of praise given to God in every kind of circumstance. So, as we take this “praise day,” let me challenge you to praise the Lord even if you don’t really feel like it. I promise, you’ll be amazed at the refreshment it brings to your heart and mind!
Read Psalm 71:1-8
List the things for which the writer of this Psalm praises God--giving him honor and worth.
Does the writer of this Psalm seem to be going through a hard time or an easy time?
One of the best ways to take a praise day is to pray through a Psalm. This means you are simply praying a passage of Scripture back to the Lord. This is so helpful especially in times when you don’t feel like praising. Let’s try it together!
Read Psalm 71:14-16 out loud and then quietly to yourself.
Now, let’s pray through it. Here is how I would pray these verses as praise back to the Lord:
Father, I will hope continually in you because You have never given up on me. I will praise you more and more because no matter my circumstances, you are worthy of my praise. Thank you that I can tell other people of your righteousness because it is perfect and never fails! Thank you that I can speak of your salvation all day long, because it is so incredible that you would offer me salvation! Thank you that I can walk in YOUR strength today and not my own! Praise you God that I have the privilege of speaking about your righteousness (worth, value, and goodness) today! Amen!
Ok, now it’s your turn. Read Psalm 71:17-21 out loud and then quietly to yourself. Now pray those verses back to the Lord as praise. (Do your best to simply praise the Lord, don’t ask Him for anything, just give Him the worth and honor His is worthy of!)
How did that feel? Did you praise God for something you wouldn’t have thought of on your own? Did you praise Him for something that was hard to praise Him for (vs. 20)? Honestly, I’m so proud of you!
As we finish up this praise day and our last day together in this study, here are a few helpful tips for taking a praise day:
* Commit to only praising God during this time. Try not to ask for things (It is not wrong to ask God for things, but it is good to keep the focus totally on praising Him for a little while).
* Write down all the praise-worthy things you can think of about God.
* Write down the things you feel are going wrong or are out of your control in life today. Read 1 Thessalonians 5:18 and praise God for how He will use those things for your good and His glory even if it is hard now.
* Read through a Psalm and pray it as praise back to God.
* Pick one verse or phrase from that Psalm and continue to pray it back to God as praise throughout the day.
* Pick one thing you know you’ll see or hear throughout the day: the beauty of the sky, a friend’s smile, the sound of the bell at the end of each class, and determine to praise God for something each time you see or hear it.
Thank you for sticking with me through this study! I am so excited for you to continue to practice the things we have learned this week! Even more excited is your Heavenly Father, who desires to daily spend time with you and to teach you how to walk worthy of your calling as His daughter!
* Myers, Allen C. The Eerdmans Bible Dictionary. Grand Rapids, MI: Eerdmans, 1987.