Recommended Reading: Psalm 95:1–11; Matthew 6:5–15; Colossians 4:2–4
What if every driver decided to ignore the center yellow lines? Smash-ups would rival apocalyptic visions. Those colored splotches in the roadway keep us on track. They keep us safe.
In our spiritual journey, praise and thanksgiving are like a yellow line, keeping our hearts on track. But it doesn’t take much to veer off course, does it? Think about the Levites. They were set apart to offer thanks and praise to God every morning and every night, day in and day out, in a never-ending cycle (see 1 Chronicles 23:30). It was their job. Forced “thank yous.” Praise, praise, praise.
Imagine the temptations inherent in this routine. Did easy-to-repeat prayers take the place of petitions motivated by full hearts and genuine gratitude? Did their minds wander as the words bubbled out? “Hear me, O God. Here we go again.”
We’ve all heard of the doctor who’s in terrible physical condition or the plumber whose house has leaky pipes. When you do something for a living, as these people do, it’s sometimes hard to stay motivated to keep your own life in order. This is what it may have been like for the Levites as well.
Praise and thanks are key ingredients in a healthy relationship with God. We need them as much as we need fresh air. Praise isn’t just an outward gesture; it reveals what’s inside us—the attitude we have toward God. When we offer meaningful thanks, we acknowledge that God’s goodness deserves our recognition and awe. Every gift comes from his hand. Nothing we’ve done grants us the sun’s bright rising or peaceful slumber at night—it all comes from God’s good hand.
How do we make our delight in God genuine and true every day? Unlike the Levites, God doesn’t demand that we follow certain daily requirements. Maybe that makes the routine more difficult. We are responsible for taking the time to bow before him and offer our praise and thanks.
When we skip this routine, we become like those drivers who disregard the center line—a potential accident waiting to happen. But when we take the time to regularly focus on and praise the God who loves us, he helps us to stay on track.
To Take Away
- Spiritually, would you describe yourself as “on track” or as “an accident waiting to happen”? Why?
- Why does God want you to praise him?
- List several things in your life for which you can praise and thank God. How can you keep your prayers of praise and thanksgiving fresh?