Psalm 106:12 is a very precious word. “Then they believed His words; / They sang His praise.” This was the condition of the children of Israel in the wilderness. They believed, and they sang. They believed, so they praised. Praise has a basic ingredient—faith. You cannot praise vainly with the mouth. You cannot say in a flippant way, “I thank the Lord! I praise the Lord!” You must believe. Only after you have believed can you praise. When you have some problems or when you are sorrowful, you pray, and as you pray, a kind of faith rises up in your heart. At that moment you open your mouth to praise. This is the living way, but do not do this in a light manner. When a man is faced with a problem, he should pray. But as soon as he finds a little faith, as soon as he begins to believe in God and in His greatness, power, compassion, glory, and manifestation of His glory, he should begin to praise. If a man acquires faith but does not follow it up with praise, he will soon find that his faith is gone. We are saying this from our experience. Once you have faith within, you should praise. If you do not praise, you will lose your faith after a while. You may have faith now. But after a while, you will lose that faith. Therefore, we must learn to praise. We must learn to utter words of praise. We have to open our mouths to praise. We should have not only a mind to praise but also actual audible words of praise. You have to praise God in the face of all your problems and in the face of Satan. You should say, “O Lord! I praise You!” Do this until you turn from having no feeling to having feeling, or from having a feeble feeling to a strong feeling. Do this until you turn from little faith to full faith.
Once God’s glory fills your eyes, you can believe. Once His glory fills your spirit, you can praise. You have to see that God is above everything and is worthy of your praise. When you praise, Satan flees away. Sometimes we need to pray. But when our prayer reaches the point where we have faith and assurance, we know that the Lord has answered our prayer, and we should praise: “Lord! I thank You! I praise You! This matter is already settled!” Do not wait for the matter to be over before you praise. We have to praise as soon as we believe. Do not wait until the enemy runs away to sing. We have to sing to chase him away. We have to learn to praise by faith. When we praise Him in faith, the enemy will be defeated and driven away. We have to believe before we can praise. First we believe and praise, and then we will experience victory.
Our problems mainly fall within two categories. The first category is problems arising from the environment and the affairs around us. This was Jehoshaphat’s problem. The way to overcome this kind of problem is by praise. The second category is the problems within us. Words may hurt us. Others may offend, persecute, mistreat, oppose, hate us for no reason, or slander us without any basis. We may find these things unbearable, and we cannot get over them. These problems have to do with our personal victory. A brother may say something which is not proper. A sister may treat you in an unreasonable way. You may find it almost impossible to overcome these things. Your whole being may struggle, complain, and cry for justice. You may find it difficult to forgive or pardon others. It is hard for you to overcome your feeling. You are wronged, slandered, persecuted, and you cannot get over it. Prayer does not help much. You want to fight and struggle against it, but you cannot. The more you try to shake off this burden, the worse you become. You find it hard to overcome. Please remember that when you suffer great personal hardship and severe injustice, it is not the time for you to pray, but the time for you to praise. You should bow your head and say to the Lord, “I thank You. You are never wrong in what You do. I accept all these things from Your hands. I thank You. I praise You.” If you do this, all your problems will go away. Victory has nothing to do with struggling with the flesh. It has nothing to do with trying to forgive others or striving to pardon others with one’s own strength. Victory comes when one bows his head and praises the Lord: “I praise You for Your way. Your arrangement is always good. Whatever You do is right.” When you praise the Lord this way, your spirit will soar above your problems; it will soar above your inner wounds. Those who are wounded in their feelings are short of praise. If you can praise the Lord, your hurt will turn into praise. Your spirit will transcend to the heights, and you will say to God, “I thank and praise You. You are never wrong in all Your ways.” This is the pathway we should take before the Lord. Leave everything behind. What a glory this is. This is truly a sacrifice.
The Christian life soars through praises. To praise is to transcend everything to touch the Lord. This was the pathway our Lord Jesus took when He was on earth. We should take the same way. We should not murmur against heaven when we are under trials. We should soar above the trials. Once we praise, we are above the trials. The more others try to put us down, the more we should rise up before the Lord and say, “I thank You and praise You!” Learn to accept everything. Learn to know that He is God. Learn to know the works of His hands. Nothing can ripen and mature a man like sacrifices of praise. We need to learn not only to accept the discipline of the Holy Spirit but also to praise the discipline of the Holy Spirit. We need to learn not only to accept but also to glory in the Lord’s dealing. We need to learn not only to accept the Lord’s chastisement but also to accept it willingly with joy. If we do this, a clear and glorious door will be opened to us.
(Praising, Chapter 1, by Watchman Nee)