We don’t need to look at recent statistics to recognize the power of praise. Instinctively, we know that words deeply matter. Words of acknowledgement and praise build a person up; while words of criticism and judgment tear one apart. We have all felt the soothing effects of one, as well as the sting of the other.
While shopping, I encountered a weary mother not-to-gently plunking her just-as-weary toddler into a seat while muttering harsh words. I cringed as my heart went out to both the mother and the child. Even though the words weren’t directed towards me, they had a lingering effect on my soul.
I was reminded again of the power of words and, specifically, the power of praise. It requires deliberate intention to turn those trying moments into something positive and uplifting. Reversing the effect of negativity comes with effort — serious effort.
If that is how negative words make us feel, how does it make God feel when the words of our mouths cut instead of mend, destroy instead of rebuild, or wound instead of heal?
James calls it like it is,
“Out of the same mouth come praise and cursing. My brothers and sisters, this should not be.”
Awareness forms the starting point for change. We may easily fall into the trap James speaks about. Rather than becoming discouraged, let’s turn awareness into the motivation to bring personal change.
When we honestly evaluate where we are positioned on the scale between “praise and cursing,” it can actually help us develop better patterns of relating to each other (or even in our self-talk).
The next positive step imagines where, how, or who we eventually want to become. Let’s ask God for a clear vision of who He intends us to be.
Then, let’s ask Him for the first steps to propel us toward that destination.
Even moving through these few steps usually offers enough hope for us to create change in how we think and respond verbally to people or situations. The hardest path, even a path of sacrifice, will reap the greatest and most amazing rewards.
Through focused praise, we can turn discouragement and fatigue around. God doesn’t need our praise. We have a built in need to worship Him, however. Praise focused on Him changes our perspective, because praise turns the direction of focus off of ourselves and our circumstances and on to Him and His consistent character.
No matter how difficult our situation becomes, God remains the same — always worthy of our praise. As we turn our hearts toward Him in praise and adoration, something internally shifts within us despite external circumstances. It welcomes peace and opens the door to hope.
Again and again, I have experienced this power of praise to lift and transform my thinking and heart attitude.
“Lord, you are my God; I will exalt you and praise your name, for in perfect faithfulness you have done wonderful things, things planned long ago.”
Power of Praise
As we develop a habit of praising God, the power of praise infuses all our interactions and conversations. An internal shift overrides former patterns — not instantaneously, but through practice. And through it, God makes it easier for us to discover increasing reasons for praise within the movements of our day.
The power of praise works faithfully within us, as consistently at it works in those around us. The negative critical voices begin to filter through the lens of praising God in His majesty and glory.
“Think about things that are excellent and worthy of praise.”
God gives us ample verses to help us refocus and turn cursing into praise. Our words contain power and exercise authority in both the natural and the spiritual realms. When we speak the following verses (and many others like them) out loud, we reinforce the message of truth they contain.
May we all learn to consistently speak words that build others up, change internal narratives, bless those who might be listening, and give glory to the One worthy of praise.