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Prompts for praise

Prompts for praise

Elevate your gratitude.

In a recent conversation with a friend, I explained my process for turning things I notice around me into praise for God. I said it was a little like converting food into calories. As I spelled out the steps I take, he thought I should put them down on paper.

So, in my usual fashion, I turned what could have been a ten-minute writing exercise into a three-hour illustration project. I present it here for you all, with some notes below.

First, I should mention that just because I understand this process, it doesn’t mean I’m good at it. I’m working on this all the time. I find that, at least for me, being thankful is an easy thing. Praising God is much harder.

Why is praise difficult? Because it’s so intimate. First, it requires an in-depth knowledge of the other. Gratitude recognizes kind actions. That’s easy to notice. But to follow the thread of that action back to the character trait that prompted it – that can’t be done outside of the context of a deep relationship.

This is why I recently started to meditate on the attributes of God. They are the context for all his good gifts.

So, let me use this odd stump I’ve drawn as an example. When I noticed it, my first reaction was surprise – what a curious thing to have a live plant growing out of a hollow stump! That, then led me to think about rebirth and resurrection. It was easy to give thanks, then – for my own salvation and for the Spirit, who Paul says is “a deposit, guaranteeing what is to come.” (2 Cor. 5:5)

But praise takes this farther. Not just “you did” but “you are.God, you are the source and sustainer of all life. This very gift of life shows your emanating goodness – it is in your very nature to bless and bestow. And death stands no chance against you – what a paltry foe for an ever-victorious God!

Let’s be clear: God does not need our praise. (He is self-sufficient, after all.) Why praise him, then? Because of how it draws us even closer into a love relationship with him. The clearer we see him, the more he can bless us by giving us more of himself.

C.S. Lewis wrote in The Weight of Glory, “For He has, in the last resort, nothing to give us but Himself; and He can give that only insofar as our self-affirming will retires and makes room for Him in our souls.”

In essence, that’s what praise does. It gets us out of the way. Thankfulness still has our fingerprints on it. Praise is just getting lost in how great God is.

The raw material for praise is all around us.

If we know how to process it.

Father, it is so like you that the very thing we feel is the most selfless gift we can give you is the greatest blessing we can receive. Help us find and use these prompts for praise.

Reader: tell me about something recently that inspired you to praise God.

Have thoughts or comments on this? Email me at: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.. Is there someone you think would like this post? Please use the buttons above to share it.  And if you haven't subscribed and would like to, here's the link.

Bruce Van Patter

As a freelance illustrator, graphic recorder, and author, Bruce is on a lifelong journey to delight in the handiwork of the Creator. And he’s always ready for fellow travelers.

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