Psalm 21:13 ESV – “Be exalted, O LORD, in your strength! We will sing and praise your power.”
The phrase “in your strength” sticks out to me in this passage. So often, my strength fails me. For instance, I helped with childcare for a prospective church member meeting last week, and I’m pretty sure that wiping the snot off of one sweet four-year-old’s face is the cause of the sinus headache I’ve had the past three days. (I even washed my hands… c’est la vie.) But it is the LORD’s strength that we exalt, not our own. We sing and praise HIS power.
I’m definitely not the best at praising God’s power. David spends a whole psalm giving examples of God’s justice and faithfulness for which “the king rejoices” (Psalm 21:1.) If I don’t sit down with a pen and paper or with this laptop, I will most likely get distracted after praising God for one singular thing He has done. So, if you are like me and need some ideas for ways to praise God, here’s a list of six ideas below.
1.) Make a Mind Map.
I’m pretty sure we called these “thinking webs” when I was in 2nd grade, but the principle is the same. Start with a central bubble that lists the topic you are thinking about. In this instance, God will go in your central bubble. Then, for every trait you recall, write it in a bubble shooting off of the central bubble. I love making these really complicated and extending long chains of bubbles.
Extra credit: For each trait you recall about God, write down a corresponding event where you saw God fulfill that trait in your life.
2.) Make a list.
This one is the more obvious cousin of Mind Mapping. If circles aren’t your thing, just make a straight list of traits about God. Listing out the things I knew to be true of God really helped me through a season of doubt.
3.) Draw sketches of God’s character.
Maybe you see God in a child’s laugh or a caterpillar’s stripes more than you see God in abstract terms. If so, that’s great! You probably recognize God’s creative, humorous side more than the theologians stuck in rounds of Biblical hermeneutics. Use this gift to your advantage! Sketch or photograph those things that best reflect God’s character to you.
4.) Play music that reflects God’s character.
Music can magically reflect so many different emotions in the world around us. If creating music is your thing, then play the bright, major keys that remind you of God’s playful, loving side! Try playing minor swells that reflect verses like Psalm 21:9, “You will make them as a blazing oven when you appear. The LORD will swallow them up in his wrath, and fire will consume them.” Use the music lilting inside of you to tease out those complex aspects of God’s character we humans have difficulty understanding.
5.) Study science.
If you look at the veins on a leathery leaf falling from a tree, you will most likely wind up with a feeling of awe at something greater than yourself. At least, I usually have that reaction when I stop to study the minute workings of life more closely. Maybe you need something more tangible than letters and emotion to recognize God’s character. Look around and see how many tiny miracles are causing life to function that most of us don’t even notice. On the rare instances I stop to recognize this, I’m usually left with, “Wow, God!” That’s all the prayer I need in that moment.
6.) Study numbers in Scripture.
Numbers in the Bible often come with symbolic meaning. If counting makes you happy, try counting generations in genealogies and comparing it to where that number is used elsewhere in the Bible. See how many 7’s and 12’s you can find. Research other important numbers in the Bible and see if you can find them in your everyday life.
Do you have other ways of praising God’s power? Let me know in the comments below!