Bless the LORD, O my soul: and all that is within me, bless his holy name. (PSALM 103:1)
Merely saying the words, Bless the Lord, doesn’t necessarily “bless” the Lord. There’s much more to blessing Him than simply saying those words. Blessing the Lord is ministering to Him. When you say from your heart, “Father, I love You. You’re a good God!” it blesses Him. The prophets and teachers in Antioch “ministered to the Lord” in Acts 13:2. They weren’t preaching at Him or exhorting Him to repent. They were praising, worshiping, and loving Him. Anyone who loves has a need to be loved in return. If the object of your love doesn’t love you back, it’s miserable. God is love, and He loves you. (1 John 4:8.) When you love Him, it blesses and ministers to Him!
I took my boys and some of their friends out one Saturday when they were about five and seven years old. We spent all day riding horses, playing in the creek, and eating junk food (a special treat while away from Mom). At the end of the day, I cleaned them up and put them to bed after having devotions together. As I turned out the light and was leaving the room, my youngest said, “Dad, you’re a good dad!” That blessed me! He didn’t say, “Bless you, Dad!” but he communicated “Thanks!” and “I love you!” in his own way. It made me want to drag him right out of that bed to go horseback riding all over again!
That’s the way it is with your heavenly Father. You may not realize it, but God needs ministry. Pray, “Father, You’re a good dad and an awesome God! Thank You for my health, for letting me live here in this country, for my opportunities, and for my job.” Instead of cursing your life and making it worse, thank Him that it’s as good as it is. God will be so blessed by your love and worship that He’ll want to drag you out of bed and give you everything He can think of to bless you! It’ll just come upon and overtake you. All these other people will still be begging and pleading with God for these things that are just flowing in your life because you love Him.
He wants you to bless Him because it’s the purpose you were originally created for.
Spend 95 percent of your prayer time singing, praising, and worshiping. “Father, I love You!” Then every once in a while, say, “Oh yeah, the doctor thinks I’m going to die, but that’s not so bad. It’d be awesome to be with You. I’m actually having trouble deciding whether I should stay or not because of how wonderful You are!” Instead of spending all of your time rebuking fear and white-knuckling it with “Oh God, help me believe!” you’d say, “Either way, Father. If I die, I win. If I’m healed, I win. I can’t lose!” That’s the attitude you ought to have. Nothing else would matter!
This isn’t just for “super-saints,” this is entry level, baby Christianity! As soon as someone is born again, they should be told, “You were created for intimacy with God. Now that you’re saved, you can fulfill your calling by returning the awesome love He’s shown. As you continue receiving His love and giving Him yours, raise someone from the dead, cast out some devils, heal the sick, and get your needs met!” Really, those things are incidental. If you developed this kind of attitude, you’d be unstoppable!
And a vision appeared to Paul in the night; There stood a man of Macedonia, and prayed him, saying, Come over into Macedonia, and help us. (Acts 16:9)
God supernaturally directed Paul and Silas to Philippi (in Macedonia province) by the vision recorded in Acts 16:9. Within forty-eight hours of arriving, they were beaten within an inch of their lives and thrown into the deepest part of the jail. It was from this rat- and disease-infested, absolutely dark place that they started to sing. Even though stocks on their hands and feet prevented them from soothing their wounds, these men praised God.
When in bad situations, some Christians discipline themselves to “praise” God through gritted teeth. They know that praising the Lord is strength to “still the enemy and the avenger” (Ps. 8:2). Although they may not truly mean it from their hearts, they’re doing “spiritual warfare.” Since praise drives out demons, they exercise themselves to “praise” those problems right out of their lives. Hey, if that’s the best reason you’ve got, it’s better to praise God like that than to gripe and complain.
As Paul and Silas worshiped the Lord, He started tapping His foot. An earthquake resulted, breaking off their stocks and opening up all the prison cell doors. However, instead of running away, Paul and Silas stayed. How could this be? Here’s a radical truth: They weren’t praising God just to escape their problem; they really loved Him! Backs beaten in shreds and ankle-deep in filth, they just continued worshiping and enjoying the Lord’s glorious presence.
Most Christians today would have run out of that prison just as soon as they could. We just don’t love God that way! On another occasion, the disciples left the Jewish council after being beaten, thanking the Lord and praising Him that they had been counted worthy to suffer shame for His name (Acts 5:41). Peter was crucified upside down for his faith. He thought he was unworthy to be hung in the same position as Jesus. We love self and would be thinking of our own loss to such a degree that we wouldn’t care about anyone else. We need to get beyond that, recognizing that Christianity is all about loving God.
My Son Raised from the Dead!
Prayer is primarily for loving and worshiping God. If you would seek first His kingdom and just fellowship with Him, you’d find your needs already provided. You wouldn’t have any “problems” because nothing would bother you. Instead of being depressed, the joy of the Lord would be your strength!
Thou wilt show me the path of life: in thy presence is fulness of joy; at thy right hand there are pleasures for evermore. (Psalm 16:11)
If you’re depressed, you’re not in the presence of the Lord. He’s with you, but you’re not with Him because something else has you occupied. Get back in God’s presence and you’ll find fullness of joy! After an international ministry trip, Jamie and I had finally arrived home and gotten to bed around midnight. Four hours later, the telephone rang. It was our oldest son, Joshua.
He said, “Dad, I’m sorry to have to tell you this, but Peter is dead.”
“Dead? What happened?”
He told me, and I declared, “The first report is not the last report!”
After hanging up the phone, Jamie and I spent about thirty seconds taking authority and commanding life back into our son.
Then we just praised, worshiped, and loved on God all the way into Colorado Springs.
I had the same thoughts and feelings anybody else would. However, since my heart was so fixed on the Lord, I couldn’t help but pray, “Father, I know You didn’t kill my son because You’re a good God! This is not Your will. I love You so much! Thank You for being such a good God!” I just kept on praising, worshiping, and thanking Him all the way into the Springs.
Peter had turned black from being dead for five hours, but five minutes after we started praying he just sat right up.
God raised our son from the dead! Hallelujah! Thank You, Jesus!
My prayer life is all about loving God. I don’t ask for very much or do very much, but great things are happening. My Christian life is fun, and I don’t fret about things.
Worry is blasphemy against God’s promises anyway.
It stems from not being very intimate with Him. I realize this way of praying may not fit your present mold, but until you get better results, maybe you ought to try it!
‘Well, Thank You, Andrew!’
What I’m sharing is simple, but it’s very profound. Of course, it takes effort to set aside self and focus on loving God. However, I’ve found that as I minister to Him, I get more blessed than He does. I’m not sure exactly how it works, but God won’t ever let me out-give Him. As I bless the Lord, I have all of the emotion I can handle. He takes care of me and treats me well—much better than I deserve. I spend my time loving Him.
Sometimes I’ll just pray in tongues for an hour or two. Usually, that’s because I need wisdom in some area, and I pray in the Spirit to draw it out. Even then, I praise God because I know the answer is coming!
You shouldn’t ever need to bawl and squall because you’re always praising and thanking Him. “With thanksgiving let your requests be made known unto God” (Phil. 4:6).
This approach to prayer shrinks problems down so small that they’re literally no big deal.
Normally, this kind of message doesn’t sell very many books. If I had another one entitled Seven Steps How to Make God Do Something, everybody and their brother would buy a copy because that’s really what they want to know. However, the best results come from loving, thanking, praising, blessing, and worshiping God as the highest priority in life. It’s simply staying in communication with Him all day long!
Nothing this world has to offer can even compare to experiencing God’s pleasure. I remember sitting with Jamie after a Kathryn Kuhlman meeting. We were the last two people there, but we just couldn’t get up and walk out because of His presence. People’s lives had been miraculously transformed both physically and emotionally right before my eyes. Hurting individuals had been put in touch with the living, loving, healing God. I was completely overwhelmed.
I’ve been overwhelmed just like that many times since. While driving back to the motel after one of my meetings, I remember thanking God for how awesome He was and the way He’d moved through me to touch people’s lives. Then I heard Him answer, “Well, thank you, Andrew! I appreciate your letting Me use you.” That blessed me! You might think, God would never say anything like that! Sure, He would! You just don’t know Him very well. God is good, and He loves and appreciates us.
Ready to Change?
God doesn’t just love you; He likes you, too! You might not have heard Him tell you that before, but it’s true. He isn’t just your Creator who felt obligated to provide salvation. God appreciates you. It’s a joy to experience telling Him how much you love Him and then have Him turn right around and do the same!
Your entire prayer life would be transformed if you’d get the heart of what I’m communicating. Everything in your life would change, and you’d become a totally different person. Loving God is all that matters. Everything else is incidental!
Have you missed the real purpose of salvation? Were you born again just to avoid hell? Have you ever truly understood God’s love and desire for intimacy? Sure, you say “Thank You” every once in a while, but praising and worshiping God isn’t what you primarily use prayer for. Your focus has been something else. Friend, if this is you, then you need to repent and go on to receive the true goal of salvation. You need to start loving and worshiping God!
Everybody can love God more, but have you ever made this your heart commitment? Are you primarily dedicated to yourself and praying for your own needs to be met? Perhaps you even pray for others sometimes, too, but the truth is you don’t love God in this way. Is that you? Are you ready to change?
For I know whom I have believed, and am persuaded that he is able to keep that which I have committed unto him. (2 Timothy 1:12)
God has promised to keep what you commit. No committing means no keeping. “But Andrew, I’m not sure I can live up to this!” Don’t worry, you can’t! You’ll fail at times, but if you make the commitment, God will faithfully remind you of it. It’s important that you take a moment to humble yourself and respond. Now is the time to yield and say, “Yes, Lord!” Believe me, you’ll be so glad you did!
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