Tuesday, June 24, 2008

The Battle Cry of Praise

It starts with a whisper, or better yet, a whimper.

"Please, God. Hear me, Father. Where are You? Where am I, so far from You?"

Struggles, strife, upcoming events and things in our midst. Things that we can not conquer in our own strength. They urge us, require us, prompt us, toward battle.

I have found myself amid many a spiritual battle lately, both large and small in these past few months. What I have learned from the book of James teaches me how to deal with trials and difficulties. It also tells me why I am encountering them.

Jam 1:2

Consider it pure joy, my brothers, whenever you face trials of many kinds,

Jam 1:3

because you know that the testing of your faith develops perseverance.

Jam 1:4

Perseverance must finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything.

Nevertheless, knowing these things are only for my perfection and benefit and eternal good, I still needed to learn how to truly go into battle. How do I fight this fight?

Through a very challenging trial, I have learned that the battle, every battle, is the Lord's.

2Ch 20:15 He said, "Listen, King Jehoshaphat! Listen, all you people of Judah and Jerusalem! This is what the LORD says: Do not be afraid! Don't be discouraged by this mighty army, for the battle is not yours, but God's.

So, how am I to fight? With Praise!

2Ch 20:21

After consulting the people, Jehoshaphat appointed men to sing to the Lord and to praise him for the splendor of his holiness as they went out at the head of the army, saying:

“Give thanks to the Lord,

for his love endures forever.”

2Ch 20:22

As they began to sing and praise, the Lord set ambushes against the men of Ammon and Moab and Mount Seir who were invading Judah, and they were defeated.

Driving in the dark with headphones on so as not to disturb my sleeping family, I was bleary when I took the wheel and started the CD. As I listened, my thoughts were on the upcoming battles that awaited me once we arrived at our destination. But looking back now, I realize I was in a battle at that very moment. A battle for my attention, for my affection, for my thoughts.

Near the end of the CD, as I was listening and being refreshed by the praise being sung, there came a prayer, a song, sung slowly and melodically.

Quite my mind, Lord, make me still before You.
Calm my restless heart, Lord make me more Like You.
Quiet my mind, Lord, fill me with your Spirit.
Calm my restless heart Lord, make me more like You.

Raise up my hands that are hanging down
Strengthen my feeble knees
May Your love and joy abound
and fill me with Your peace.

Fill me with Your peace.
Fill me, come and fill me.


As I sung this song silently in the dark, echoing what I know of Him: He is my redeemer, nothing else in this world can take His love from me; He is eternal and faithful and full of love and justice; He is love; nothing can snatch me out of His arms of love. As I remembered who He is, my heart and my hands, my face and my countenance were lifted. Lifted, filled with triumph and victory over all that I was dreading and fearing and loathing. My prayer went from desperation to battle cry! I went from heart down and broken, weary and worn, sick and sad, to uplifted and victorious in praise! He gave me wings as eagles and lifted me up above the storm. He makes the storm His pathways. The storms of life that make us cling to Jesus, our life raft! Praise God! May we cling! May we be shipwrecked at the Cross, with nothing else to hold on to save for God's mercy and redemption. Redemption not only for us, but for all people.

May we sing and praise Him. May we start with that most feeble of prayers, seeking and searching for the Lover of our souls and may we repeat it over and over, searching for Him desperately. He has promised that those who seek Him will find Him. Those who knock will have the door opened. May we start, even if it's ever so fretfully, to call to our Redeemer. It starts with a whisper, a whimper, a cry. It often starts in a place of defeat. Yet, as we draw closer and closer to Him who is our shelter and provider, we grow in strength and our prayer in intensity. It builds as we rise up and march toward the front line of battle, claiming victory in WHO our God is. It is the battle cry of Praise! Worthy is the Lamb who was slain!

May we never fear approaching Him. May we run from the stragglers in the back up to the front lines where we are promised victory, where the battle is the Lords! And may we go into battle as Jehoshaphat did, with PRAISE! We have no need for anything but Who our God IS.

He is our Jehovah - nissi.
The Lord is my banner.
May we lift the battle cry of praise.

2Cr 2:14

But thanks be to God, who always leads us in triumphal procession in Christ and through us spreads everywhere the fragrance of the knowledge of him.