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Lesson 8: The Atmosphere of Praise *

Introduction: Praise God! Just past midnight, a fire broke out in the first of a line of six townhouses between where I live and the beach. A strong wind drove the fire so that it quickly consumed one townhouse after another. I was certain that our condominium, which was only 15 feet from the last townhouse, was doomed. My wife, daughter and I prayed, the firefighters battled the flames, and the fire was stopped at the last townhouse! The fire even burned a hole in the fence between the townhouse and our condominium! Our hearts are filled with intense gratitude and praise. Let's explore what the Bible teaches us about praise from His people!

  1. Model Praise


    1. Read Luke 11:1. Look deeper into the disciple's request. What was He asking Jesus? (How should he address God? What should he say when speaking to God?)


    2. Read Luke 11:2. What is the first point that Jesus tells us to make when addressing God? (Holy is Your name. The first point is to praise God!)


    3. Read Matthew 6:10. What does this part of the Lord's prayer assume? (That a conflict exists between good and evil. God's heaven is coming to earth to solve that conflict.)


      1. Is there a praise in this? (Yes! God has a superior way of life. God's superior way of life will prevail - and we are asking that this happen now.)


      2. Step back a moment. What praise opportunity do we find in the conflict and the coming Kingdom of God? (If I am praying that God's will be done on earth, then I am seeking to have my thinking and my actions aligned with God's side of the conflict. Therefore, my thoughts and actions should bring glory to God. If so, that is one type of praise to God.)


    4. Read Matthew 6:11. Is there any praise aspect to this? (We acknowledge God as the source of our existence, the provider of our daily needs.)


      1. What praise habits do you have in connection with your "daily bread?" (It is proper to thank God before we eat. This is part of a life of praise.)


    5. Read Matthew 6:12. Thinking of my sins is discouraging. Is there a praise opportunity in this? (Jesus is not asking us to dwell on our sins, He is asking us to dwell on the opportunity for forgiveness. This is one of the most powerful motives for praise - our God died for us to allow us to escape the death penalty for our sins.)


      1. Notice that asking forgiveness for our sins is not what Jesus mentions first in this model prayer. Why is that? (Some Christians think we should soberly dwell on our sins. Jesus starts out with praise for God and only (much) later gets to the topic of our sins.)


      2. The second part of this phrase mentions forgiving those who have sinned against us. Can you find a praise in this? (Having an attitude of forgiveness towards those who have sinned against us, reflects God's love. In this way we give glory to God for forgiving our sins.)


    6. Read Matthew 6:13 and James 1:13-15. How can you reconcile these two seemingly contradictory texts?


      1. Read Psalms 141:4. How does this shed more light on the issue? (David says "don't let me be sucked into evil." James explains that God does not "lead" us into temptation. But, God does aid us in escaping from temptation and from evil. I think Jesus is praying that God will stop us at the earliest point of temptation.)


      2. If you prayed "lead us not into temptation," what would you be seeking from God? (To give us the right desires and to help us control our evil desires.)


        1. How does that deliver us from evil? (Again, James tells us that we do not accidentally fall into the pit of sin. Instead, it is a process that begins with evil desires. If, by the power of the Holy Spirit, we get our thoughts under control, we will avoid the evil consequences that flow from our sins.)


      3. How else does God deliver us from evil? (How about the fire that stopped just short of my condominium! See Psalms 91:9-11. But see Hebrews 11:35-38. We are right to praise God for deliverance from the evils of life. We should pray for this deliverance.)


  2. David's Praise


    1. The Bible records many of King David's praises. Let's study the one he gave at the end of his life. Why would that be the best praise to consider? (You have the perspective of time and experience - a life lived within and outside the will of God.)


    2. Read 1 Chronicles 29:10. What reason does David give for praising God? (In these lines David praises God for who He is.)


      1. How does this compare with Matthew 6:9? (Jesus and David start their praise in precisely the same way - praising God for who He is.)


    3. Read 1 Chronicles 29:11. What about God is David praising here? (God is King of heaven and earth.)


      1. How does that compare with Matthew 6:10? (Again, this parallels the Lord's prayer.)


    4. Read 1 Chronicles 29:12-13. What other reasons does David give for praising God? (David next praises God for sharing His honor, wealth and glory with us.)


    5. Read 1 Chronicles 29:14-15. Why is God's generosity to us so shocking? (Presents are often given to encourage the person receiving the gift to do something good in return. We have nothing to give God that He has not first given us!)


      1. Have you ever heard of re-gifting?


      2. Read Matthew 6:11. What parallel do with find with David's praise? (Both Jesus and David encourage us to praise God for giving material blessings to us.)


    6. Read 1 Chronicles 29:17-18. What parallels do you find in Matthew 6:13? (Both speak of a life of integrity. We praise God by obedience to His will.)


  3. Times of Praise


    1. Read Psalms 92:1-3. When should we praise God? (Every day! In the morning and the evening.)


      1. What has music to do with praise? (Music is one of the best vehicles, in my experience, for lifting my heart in praise to God.)


    2. Read Exodus 20:8-11. What connection does the Sabbath have to praise? (Sabbath is a special time when we praise God for being the Creator of heaven and earth.)


      1. How does this relate to Matthew 6:10: "Your kingdom come, Your will be done, on earth as it is in heaven?" (Sabbath is not only a time to celebrate God's historic act of creation, it is a time to celebrate God's coming recreation. We celebrate the time when God's will be done on earth, as it is in heaven.)


    3. Read 1 Corinthians 11:23-26. What does it mean to "proclaim the Lord's death until He comes?" (I don't think this is simply telling the story. I think this includes an element of praise. When we celebrate Communion/the Lord's Supper/Eucharist, we are praising God for His victory over sin and death by His death on our behalf!)


    4. Friend, do you live in an atmosphere of praise? Do you pray the Lord's Prayer and consider the praise in it? Do you praise God in the morning, the evening and before every meal? Do you set aside the holy Sabbath for praise? Do you celebrate the Lord's Supper as praise for the victory of the Kingdom of God on earth? If not, why not determine today to live fully in the atmosphere of praise?


  4. Next week: Temperance.
* Copr. 2010, Bruce N. Cameron, J.D. All scripture references are to the New International Version (NIV), copr. 1973, 1978, 1984 International Bible Society, unless otherwise noted. Quotations from the NIV are used by permission of Zondervan Bible Publishers. Suggested answers are found within parentheses. The lesson assumes the teacher uses a blackboard or some other visual aid.

© 2014 Bruce N. Cameron, J.D.
Website by Blake Cameron, M.D.
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