We have seen that our praise is a sacrifice. But there is more. We have to see that praising is the way to overcome spiritual attacks. Many people say that Satan is afraid of the prayers of God’s children; he flees whenever God’s children kneel down to pray. This is why he often attacks God’s children and frustrates them from praying. This is a common attack. But we will point out another fact: Satan’s greatest attacks are not aimed at prayers; his greatest attacks are aimed at praise. This does not mean that Satan does not attack prayers. The moment a Christian prays, Satan begins to attack. It is very easy to talk to people, but the moment one prays, Satan comes with problems. He will make one feel that it is hard to pray. This is a fact. But Satan does not attack just prayer; he also attacks the praise of God’s children. The ultimate goal of Satan is to stop all praises to God. Prayer is a warfare, but praise is a victory. Prayer signifies spiritual warfare, but praise signifies spiritual victory. Whenever we praise, Satan flees. Therefore, Satan hates our praising the most. He will use all his strength to stop our praising. God’s children are foolish if they stop praising when they suffer under adverse environments and downtrodden feelings. But as they come to know God more, they will find that even a Philippian jail can become a place of songs (Acts 16:25). Paul and Silas were praising God inside the jail cell. Their praise broke loose all the jail doors.
Jail doors were opened twice in Acts. Once they were opened to Peter and once to Paul. In Peter’s case, the church prayed fervently for him, and an angel opened the door and brought him out (12:3-12). In Paul’s case, he and Silas sang hymns of praise to God, and all the doors opened and the chains broke. The jailer believed in the Lord on that day, and his whole family was saved in a joyful way (16:19-34). Paul and Silas offered the sacrifice of praise in the jail. The wounds on their bodies were not yet healed; their pain was not soothed. Their feet were in the stocks, and they were shut in an inner jail of the Roman Empire. What was there to be joyful about? What was there to sing about? But there were two persons with transcendent spirits, who had surpassed everything. They saw that God was still sitting in the heavens; He had not changed at all. They themselves might have changed, their environment might have changed, their feelings might have changed, and their bodies might have been suffering, but God was still sitting on the throne. He was still worthy of their blessings. Our brothers, Paul and Silas, were praying, singing, and praising God. This kind of praise, which arises out of pain and loss, is a sacrifice of praise. This kind of praise is a victory.
When you pray, you are still in the midst of your situation. But when you praise, you soar above your situation. While you are praying and pleading, you are bound by your affairs; you are not out of them. The more you plead, the more you find yourself bound and pressed. But if God takes you above the jail, the chains, the painful wounds on the body, the suffering, and the shame, you will offer praises to His name. Paul and Silas sang hymns. They sang praises to God. They were brought by God to the point where the jail, the shame, and the pain were no longer a problem to them. They could praise God. When they praised in such a way, the doors of the jail opened, the chains fell off, and even the jailer was saved.
Many times praise works where prayer fails. This is a very basic principle. If you cannot pray, why not praise? The Lord has placed another item in your hands for your victory and for you to boast in victory. Whenever you run out of strength to pray and you find your spirit heavily oppressed, wounded, or sagging, praise Him. If you cannot pray, try to praise. We invariably think that we should pray when the burden is heavy and praise when the burden is over. But please bear in mind that there are times when the burden is so heavy that you cannot pray. That is the time for you to praise. We do not praise when there is no burden; we praise when the burden becomes too heavy. When you encounter unusual circumstances and problems and are bewildered and feel like collapsing, just remember one thing, “Why not praise?” Here is a golden opportunity. If you offer your praise at that moment, God’s Spirit will operate in you, open all the doors, and break all the chains.
(Praising, Chapter 1, by Watchman Nee)