Let everything that has breath praise the LORD.
Praise the LORD.
Psalm 150:6

A couple of weeks ago the phrase “Summer of Praise” came to my mind. As the pastor preached on a totally different topic, I got more and more excited about the possibilities of making that phrase a reality.

Imagine – a whole summer dedicated to praise! It makes me smile just thinking about it. Imagine how powerfully your spirit could be impacted by such an emphasis of praise! I get excited thinking about the change that will occur. I have every confidence that no matter what happens in the world and in my life over this summer, if I continue in praise my spirit will be renewed and I will become a stronger woman of faith and joy.

I know what you’re thinking…how naïve that woman is!

  • First, by proclaiming it a “Summer of Praise” she is almost guaranteeing that the enemy will attack her.
  • Secondly, life happens to everyone – does she really believe she can praise through it?
  • Thirdly, she might be excited about the Summer of Praise now, but how is she going to react when she’s tired, hungry or just plain out of sorts?

You’re probably right. But I am taking a step of faith. One that says “I believe that with God’s help I can live differently in the summer of 2011. I may experience setbacks, but my God is able to keep me on track.” And as I’ve already written, I am excited about the person I’ll be in late September – a stronger, more positive Sandy who has seen God change my perspective in the midst of whatever the summer brings.

Friends, I encourage you to join with me in this Summer of Praise. If you’re not as confident as I am that you will be changed, consider it a Summer of Praise “experiment.” Commit to extra-ordinarily praising God this summer and see what He will do. I am confident He’ll change your heart and your perspective, and that will change your life!

So how will I observe the Summer of Praise? What will I do differently? What might you do differently during your Summer of Praise? I’m planning both public and private “praise events” as well as planning some changes in my lifestyle. These events and activities will allow me to focus on the Most Important thing instead of the most urgent things in my life. Here are some ideas for making the summer of 2011 a Summer of Praise:

Public Praise Events

  • Contact a local nursing home and ask if you can lead a “Hymn Sing” one evening for the residents. You’ll probably receive a great response – nursing home residents love to sing the old hymns. Invite a friend or two to join you.
  • Ask your church to have a “worship night” some summer evening.
  • Hold a worship night at your home, worshiping to CDs. You can do this by yourself (think of it as a date with God) or as a family (make it a Family Worship Night) or invite your friends (how about a “Ladies’ Praise” or “Men’s Mighty Praise” night?)
  • Many communities have outdoor summer music concerts and sometimes worship teams participate. Check out your community schedule and join them some evening.
  • Turn one of your small group meetings into a time of worship & praise.
  • Plan a simple “Praise Party.” Everyone brings a psalm of praise or favorite praise song and serve special “feast” food.

Private Praise Events & Lifestyle Activities

  • Add singing a worship or praise song to your devotional time.
  • Sing a praise song as your prayer before meals.
  • Take “praise breaks” during the day. Muslims pray five times a day. I am challenged by this. Could I possibly set five times each day when I’ll take a five minute praise break? How about 8am, 11am, 2pm, 5pm and 8pm? I’m not legalistic about such things, but I’m going to shoot for those times. Even as I write this (because I haven’t done it yet), I wonder how it will change my day and life? I’m excited about the possibility. During your praise break, praise God (aloud if at all possible) for who He is and what He’s done, sing a song of praise or take a few minutes to write Him a note of thanksgiving.
  • Keep a gratitude and praise journal.
  • Put worship music in all your CD and tape players. (Does anyone still use tape players?)
  • Set aside a couple of times over the summer to watch worship videos on YouTube. Imagine how different you’ll feel going back to work if you did this during your lunch hour! Treat it as a date – something to look forward to and plan for.
  • Do a word study in the Bible on “praise” and/or “hope.”
  • Meditate on the hope we have in Christ.
  • Read a book or two about praise.
  • Practice the “sacrifice of praise” (Hebrews 13:15) – praising when you don’t feel like it. This is the praise that will strengthen your praise muscle more than all the other activities.

I’m not planning on doing all of these things, but many have been added to my daily plan and monthly schedule. May I encourage you to pray about making this summer your Summer of Praise? I’m praying that you will catch the vision for praise and that your life will be changed over the next 120 days.

1 Praise the LORD.
Praise God in his sanctuary;
praise him in his mighty heavens.

2 Praise him for his acts of power;
praise him for his surpassing greatness.

3 Praise him with the sounding of the trumpet,
praise him with the harp and lyre,

4 praise him with tambourine and dancing,
praise him with the strings and flute,

5 praise him with the clash of cymbals,
praise him with resounding cymbals.

6 Let everything that has breath praise the LORD.
Praise the LORD.

Psalm 150

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