"We can't really praise God
without being thankful
for the thing we are praising Him for.
And we can't really be thankful
without being happy about
whatever we're thankful for.
Praising, then, involves both gratitude and joy."
-- Merlin R Carothers
Today is the fifth post in a series about gratitude and thankfulness.
I talked about regret and yesterday was about mistakes and how we label things good and bad, etc.. Those were easy compared with what I would like to offer up today.
I don't talk in religious tones much, but about ten years ago, my late wife gave me a copy of a book to read. It moved me deeply. I've shared it a couple of times because I think it is a very powerful book and especially for a religious person to contemplate deeply. It is called, The Power In Praise by Merlin R Carothers.
On the very first page of this book, Merlin gets right to the heart of the matter. I'll quote part of it. It starts where Jim's father was an alcoholic for over 30 years and he got angry when anyone talked about religion. The family was praying for his healing and nothing happened.
It continues, "One day Jim heard me speak about the power that is released when we begin to praise God for everything in our lives instead of pleading with Him to change the circumstances that hurt us."
Jim brought home a tape of the meeting and played it over and over again for his friends. Then one day it struck him; he had never tried praising God for his father's condition." He shared with his wife and they decided to "thank God for his dad's alcoholism and praise Him that the condition is part of His wonderful plan for dad's life."
It was the beginning of an unexpected and very uplifting change in Jim's dad, and in Jim and his wife too.
It is easy to praise God or the Universe or Higher Power for things that bring us joy, but so many of us have grown up thinking that prayer is set aside to ask for God's help to fix something wrong (or at least wrong in our minds) and then wait and see what happens. It is a foreign thought to think to praise God for the so-called problem or wrong situation because somehow we think God had no part in the bad thing and only does good things. A really good question to consider about God is this: Where is God not? When you get your head around that, it opens a whole new world.
So, today about gratitude is to be grateful for EVERYTHING always. Whatever label we give something is not necessarily true for everyone, but withholding our gratitude harms no one but ourselves. Got fired? Praise God! Lost a loved one? Praise God! Got a speeding ticket? Praise God! The blessing has a hard time finding its way through when we are holding on to unhappy experiences and finding someone else to blame. And, there is always a blessing. Sometimes people even blame God. Praise instead of finding fault will change all of that and it will change your life too.
Before I found The Secret or many others that have helped me grow into a whole other understanding, my transition began with this book. I found that by praising God I uplift myself and have found peace in the process. It also completely changed prayer for me. I no longer ask God for things or situations but thank Him instead for the blessing that I may not yet see, yet I've come to know is absolutely there.
"We Praise God, Not For What We Expect Will Happen In Or Around Us, But We Praise Him For What He Is And Where And How We Are Right Now!" -- Merlin R Carothers
Spread Some Joy Today--by finding praise-worthy things all around you today.