The sacrifice of praise

To Follow Jesus

My notes on Every Day with Jesus, written by Selwyn Hughes; revised and updated by Mick Brooks, published by CWR.

March/April 2016 Issue –  Straight from the Heart‘I have you in my heart … all of you share God’s grace with me’  Philippians 1:7

The text set for today’s reading and meditation:

Philippians 4:6 (NIVUK): ”Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God.”

Selwyn raises number of good points about anxiety in today’s study. It will be worth our time to think about what he says because I feel that anxiety is one of the dominant issues that many Christians face in this troubled world.

He writes: “To stop being anxious is easier said than done! … Anxiety is the consequence of holding matters in our own hands and trying nervously to bring them together, depending only on our own resources.” 

Over 90% of the causes of anxiety are out of our control and it is a battle of our independent spirit that seeks to control the uncontrollable.  One of the first things we can do to manage our anxieties is to pray for wisdom; so that we can determine what we can change and to let go of those things, which just wear down our emotional strength by us wasting a lot of nervous thought and energy on them.

I liked Selwyn’s conclusion: “Paul’s suggestion for anxiety is this: prayer and thanksgiving. The thanksgiving is the element that saves prayer from becoming anxious prayer.

But how can we pray with thanksgiving when faced with situations that provoke anxiety such as serious financial difficulties or health problems? We can thank God because at the heart of even the most desolating trouble there is a mercy, since good can come out of it. In times of trouble, prayer with worship is not easy. The writer of Hebrews refers to a ‘sacrifice of praise’ – praise that almost has blood upon it.”

Selwyn’s reference to a sacrifice of praise, comes from Hebrews 13:15, “Through Jesus, therefore, let us continually offer to God a sacrifice of praise – the fruit of lips that openly profess his name.” I’m not too sure what the point Selwyn is trying to make, except to say that in some dire situations, praising God with thanksgiving, could be a very difficult thing to do – something like a sacrifice. Your thoughts?