I grew up in Egypt under the influence of a Christian family. I often sang songs of praise to God, and I would hear my mother and my grandfather praise God for hours at a time. I became a believer in Jesus Christ as a young man but still didn't begin to grasp the true meaning of praise until the spring of 1990.
That is when my lovely wife, Elizabeth, was diagnosed with cancer. She was barely forty years old.
The more we praised God, the deeper the fellowship we experienced with Him.
My first thought was, Lord, she's too young to have breast cancer! How can this be happening? I had trouble praying without being overwhelmed with worry over what might happen. My heart was troubled. But in the midst of the terrible fear that I might lose my beloved wife and the frustration that I could not take her place or do anything to protect her except to pray for her, I began to truly learn the power of praise.
Our small congregation immediately committed to intercession. We entered God's course of instruction, Power of Praise 101, with the Holy Spirit and the Bible as our instructors. God began to take us through the first stages of learning what it means to praise Him while standing in the full force of the storm. The more we praised God, the stronger our belief grew that He is capable of all things and is infinitely compassionate toward His hurting and needy children.
We learned a lasting lesson during the time that my wife was battling cancer. The more we praised God, the deeper the fellowship we experienced with Him. As my wife underwent medical treatment that slowly brought physical healing, we underwent spiritual treatment that brought wholeness, hope, strength, and power to our souls. Our spiritual wholeness came about through praising Him. Our fear gave way to greater faith in God's rule over our circumstances. Praise fully established the reign of God in our lives.
Ultimately, praise reinforces the Truth of who we are and who God is. He alone is the one who makes us whole. He alone is the one who walks through the dark valley with us. Our faithful Lord never leaves us nor forsakes us. He alone is the source of all good things.
Praise the Lord! My wife today is in excellent health. We continue to praise God not only for her healing but also for teaching us what it means to be empowered by praise to face any terror, any threat, and any problem that life may hand us.
Prayer: I praise You for Your power, Almighty God. You have made the heavens and the earth by Your great power and outstretched arm. Nothing is too hard for You! With Jesus I say, "Abba, Father, everything is possible for you" (Mark 14:36). I pray in the name of Jesus. Amen.
"Now to him who is able to do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine, according to his power that is at work within us, to him be glory in the church and in Christ Jesus throughout all generations, for ever and ever! Amen" (Ephesians 3:20-21).
Learn more in Dr. Michael Youssef's sermon Empowered by Praise, Part 1: LISTEN NOW