Prayer-Begin With Praise

“The LORD is my strength and my song;
he has become my salvation.
He is my God, and I will praise him,
my father’s God, and I will exalt him.”
Exodus 15: 2

The bulk of Exodus 15 is a song of praise to God by Moses and Miriam. Their delight in what God had done could not be contained. The joy in their hearts overflowed into praise on their lips. They were witnesses to an extraordinary act of God: the parting of the Red Sea and the deliverance of their people from Pharaoh’s Army.

If you’ve grown up in church, the story is most likely familiar to you. But take a moment to turn to Exodus 14. Try to place yourself in the sandals of these ancient people. They had never known anything but slavery and cruelty. They fled Egypt, following their leader Moses, and found themselves between the proverbial rock and a hard place — in this case, Pharoah’s army behind and the Red Sea in front. Do they surrender or wait to be slaughtered? Will death be painful? Will it be quick? Then, suddenly, extreme fear is transformed to extreme amazement. The sea is miraculously parted!

God made a way where there seemed no way. He rescued His people from certain death. The parting of the waters was miracle enough, but the pursuit by their enemy catapulted their praise of God to joyful gratefulness.

Surely the people would have praised God for parting the waters. But parting the waters when the enemy was on their heels propelled their praise to a new level. Perhaps we have to look behind to truly appreciate the deliverance God has provided.

Are you in a good place today? Can you count your blessings? Are you able to acknowledge God’s provision?

Egypt represented sin and the consequences sin always brings: slavery and bondage. For the Egyptians, it was physical slavery. For the follower of Christ, our life before Jesus — our “Egypt” — was spiritual bondage. The Cross of Christ represents our Red Sea parting, the place where God made a way when there was no way. Jesus did for us what we could never do for ourselves. And, like the parting of the Red Sea, the story may lose something over the years because it is so familiar.

Please don’t let it. Take a moment to go back to your Red Sea. Think about the former you — the one on the other side of that wide river. Let your voice sing along with all of God’s people, as you allow Moses and Miriam to lead you in singing:

“The LORD is my strength and my song;
he has become my salvation.
He is my God, and I will praise him,
my father’s God, and I will exalt him.”

 

Often when we think of prayer, we think of a prayer list of folks we will pray for: those we love, those who are sick, missionaries, our pastors and leaders. Prayer can generally be described as communication … a conversation with God. Is this conversation solely devoted to asking God for something? Should we not also be thanking Him for what He has already done?

Here’s the challenge: go to God in prayer today and just praise Him. Refrain from asking Him for anything; just praise Him for what He has already provided. You might even borrow some words from Moses and Miriam if you can’t think up adequate ones on your own.

 

Laura Macfarlan

 

Besides her Cross My Heart Ministry, Laura also writes for A Reason for Home School. This devotion is a repost from A Reason for Homeschool.