Saturday, February 18, 2012

Book Review: The Practice of Praise

The Practice of Praise: How To Develop the Habit of Abundant, Continual Praise In Your Daily Life by Charles Spurgeon. 1995. Whitaker House. 170 pages.

The Practice of Praise has six chapters, or perhaps the better term is six essays or sermons, written by Charles Spurgeon. (I wish I knew the date these were originally published.)

The Philosophy of Abundant Praise (Psalm 145:7)
More and More (Psalm 71:14)
Morning and Evening Songs (Psalm 92:2)
Acceptable Praises and Vows (Psalm 65:1-2)
The Power of Prayer and the Pleasure of Praise (2 Corinthians 1:11-12)
A Life-long Occupation (Hebrews 13:15)

So this book is all about praising God, delighting in God, rejoicing in our relationship with Him, being grateful for all He has done for us. Is it a practical book? Yes, for the most part. It's the kind of practical application that seems simple and common and obvious, but yet remains undone by many.

Tips like observing the world around you, really considering and taking notice of each moment day by day, looking for how God is working in your life, how God is blessing you, seeing how wonderful and great God is by appreciating this world we live in, by appreciating nature. When we rush through life we miss so much. And above all else, perhaps, we take every little thing for granted. We never stop and consider the simple things, the basic things, as being gifts from God. (The food we eat at each meal. The people in our lives. Our health.) Because we don't see the small things, we're not grateful enough. We may even miss some of the 'big things' God is doing because we're always focused inward, focused on what is not going right, worried about hundreds of things.

Spurgeon also suggests remembering. Not just your past. But the past of all who have gone before. How has God acted in human history? How has God revealed himself? How has God taken care of His own? How has he loved them, nurtured them, and, yes, even disciplined them? How has he shown his grace and mercy? How has he met their needs? What great and awesome things has he done? By reading your Bible you'll find plenty of reasons to praise God, to love Him even more, to be grateful that you've been adopted into His family.

Praising God all the time might not sound all that natural, all that convenient, all that practical. In fact some of the biblical commands about continuous praise and rejoicing seem impossible. But when one lives with constant awareness that God is always with them, that God is part of their seven-day-week life, not just their one-morning-a-week life, the more one knows God, the more one loves God, the easier it becomes perhaps. And I think there is something to KNOWING that we're designed to praise God, to take delight in Him, to glorify Him.

One point in the book--and it's a point that I would not have ever made on my own, most likely--is that praying will cease one day. The need for prayer will be done away with. In heaven, we won't be praying to God. But we'll always, always, always be praising Him in heaven. Praise is something that we do both on earth and in heaven, forever and ever and ever and ever.

I liked this one. I did. I found it very readable and still as relevant as ever. I definitely am enjoying reading Charles Spurgeon!!!
Beloved, be familiar with the Word of God. Stock your memory with the ancient records of His great goodness. Drink in the whole narrative of the evangelists, and despise not Moses and the prophets. Soak in the Psalms, the Song of Solomon, and other such books until you come to know the well-recorded goodness of the Lord. Have His words and deeds of goodness arranged and ready at hand. Let them be at your finger tips, as it were, because they are in your heart's core. (21)
The purest and most exhilarating joy is the delight of glorifying God and anticipating the time when we will enjoy Him forever. (40)
God is so good that every moment of His love demands a lifetime of praise. (44)
A good rule is never to look into the face of man in the morning until you have looked into the face of God. (80)
There should be within us an enthusiasm which kindles at the very thought of prayer. (81)
The evening is the sabbath of the day and should be the Lord's. (81)
I have often said that prayer and praise are like the breathing in and out of air and make up that spiritual respiration by which the inner life is instrumentally supported. We take in an inspiration of heavenly air as we pray; we breathe it out again in praise unto God from whom it came. If, then, we would be healthy in spirit, let us be abundant in thanksgiving. Prayer, like the root of a tree, seeks for and finds nutriment; praise, like the fruit, renders a revenue to the owner of the vineyard. Prayer is for ourselves; praise is for God. Let us never be so selfish as to abound in the one and fail in the other. (93)
It would be well, perhaps, in our public service, if we had more often the sweet relief of silence. (103)
To praise God continually will need a childlike faith in Him. You must believe His word, or you will not praise His name. Doubt snaps the harp strings. Questions mar all melody. Trust Him, lean on Him, enjoy Him--you will never praise Him unless you do. (159)

© Becky Laney of Operation Actually Read Bible

No comments: