Introduction: A TED Talk I watched a few years ago addressed
the issue of mental attitudes. The speaker said that before
she made an important presentation she would raise both arms
above her head – which would look like a “Y.” She said this
practice gave her a feeling of confidence. Psalms 63:4 says
“So I will bless You as long as I live; in Your name I will
lift up my hands.” This speaker stumbled onto something that
I believe God designed in us – praising God changes our
attitude. Let’s dive into our study of the Bible and learn
more about praising God and what it does for us!

I. The Praise Effect

A. Read Philippians 4:4. A university Bible teacher
once told me that there were times in which he did
not feel like praising God. I had great admiration
for this man and wondered what I should think
about his statement. What do you think about it?

1. Our text tells us to rejoice always in God. Is
it possible to rejoice in God but not feel
like praising Him?

B. Read Philippians 4:5. What does my
“reasonableness” have to do with rejoicing in God?
(Some of the oldest translations translate the
underlying word as “modesty,” “meekness,” or
“humility.” That suggests that rejoicing in God
changes our attitude. It makes us more

C. Read Philippians 4:6-7. What attitude results from
rejoicing in God? (We have “the peace of God.” The
university Bible teacher was missing the lesson
that in the discouraging times when he did not
feel like praising God, he could improve his
mental state by praising God.)

1. How does the TED talk lady’s discovery fit
into these texts in Philippians? (She was
holding her arms in the praise position. Just
doing that gave her peace and confidence!)

D. Read Philippians 4:8. I’ve always thought that
this verse told me that it was improper to “think
about” things that are impure or dishonorable.
That immediately made me think of crime shows that
I see on television. Consider the context we have
discussed. What do you think Philippians is really
teaching us in this verse? (I think this is mental
health advice. Do you want to have a peaceful
mind, then focus on things that are right and

1. One thing I should mention about the
university Bible teacher is that he had a son
who died. Are we promised an improved attitude
towards God in the face of a horrific tragedy?

E. Read Philippians 4:9. Is a positive peaceful
attitude what God wants for us? (He is “the God of
peace,” and praising Him gives us peace.)

II. The Reason for Praise

A. When God’s people left slavery in Egypt and headed
for the land God promised to them, the walled city
of Jericho was a huge problem standing in their
way. Read Joshua 5:13-14. Joshua is the commander
of God’s people. How do you explain that the
“commander of the army of the Lord” is not on
their side? (He says, interestingly, that he is on
neither side even though he is about to side with
God’s people.)

B. Read Joshua 5:15. Who is this “commander of the
army of the Lord?” (This is Jesus, no angel would
say that the ground was holy because of his

1. Think about this. God says that He is not on
our side or the side of the “bad guys.” How
much peace does that give you? (God is on
God’s side. He asks us to be on His side too.
This says a great deal about our life goal of
giving glory to God.)

C. Let’s read the battle plan in Joshua 6:2-5. Assume
you had never heard this story before. Would this
plan make any sense? (Of course not!)

1. What have we read that makes this plan
sensible? (The important army is that of the
Lord, and not that of Joshua.)

2. Apply this concept to the challenges in your
life. If you are on God’ side, if you are
working to bring glory to God, what problems
can survive God’s army?

a. Is this attitude a formula for peace and

D. Read 2 Chronicles 20:1-3. King Jehoshaphat learns
that three armies are coming to get him (and his
nation) and they are close. What is the first
thing that Jehoshaphat does? (He turns to God in

E. Read the part of Jehoshaphat’s prayer found in 2
Chronicles 20:10-12. Is Jehoshaphat unfairly faced
with this problem? (He tells God it is unfair. He
hints that God might have previously made a wrong
decision about the invading nations.)

F. Read 2 Chronicles 20:17. What is asked of God’s
people and what is not asked? (They are asked to
“stand firm” but they are not asked to fight.)

G. Read 2 Chronicles 20:20-22. Would you put the
choir ahead of the soldiers?

1. Notice the timing in verse 22. I read it as
saying that when they began to “sing and
praise” God set an ambush against their
enemies. Their praise triggered God’s actions
on their behalf. Do you read this the same

2. How would you apply this “choir ahead of
soldiers” to the problems you face in your

3. Why do you think they had the army present?

III. The Practice of Praise

A. Jesus gives us the model prayer in Matthew 6:9-13.
Read Matthew 6:9. What is the first line of our
model prayer about? (Praising God! The first thing
Jesus suggests that we do when we turn to God is
praise Him.)

B. Read Psalms 145:10. Who praises God according to
this text? (God’s creation and God’s saints.)

C. Let’s go back and see some of Jesus’ instructions
given before the Lord’s Prayer. Read Matthew 6:6.
Now compare Psalms 145:10-12. Should our praise be
private? (Jesus tells us that our prayers, which
start out with praise, should be private. But
otherwise our praise is public.)

1. When was the last time you publicly praised
God outside of church?

D. In Acts 16 Paul and Silas are beaten and thrown in
jail in violation of their religious liberty
rights. The charge is that their religious speech
and practice harmed the business of others. Read
Acts 16:23-25. What is unusual about this praise?

1. Would you feel like praising God after having
been beaten, put in jail, and locked in stocks
so that you could not move to feel more

E. Read Acts 16:26-28. Why were the rest of the
prisoners present? Why had they not run away?

F. Read Acts 16:29-30. Why would the jailer ask two
prisoners about what he should “do to be saved?”
Do you think he normally asked that of his
inmates? (The critical part of the answer of why
the other prisoners were still present and why the
jailer asked about salvation has to be the prayers
and praise of Paul and Silas. Everyone who heard
it sensed that something unusual was taking

1. Why would the jailer and the other prisoners
think this was unusual? (Because it took place
in a context that would, in their experience,
normally result in anger and resentment.
Praising at this time was remarkable.)

2. What is the lesson for us? How can our praise
be most effective? (Praising God in the middle
of trouble and trials is the most effective
praise. It is completely unexpected.)

G. Friend, praise blesses you! It changes you. Not
only does praise bring glory to God, but it is key
to victory over the trials of life. When you
praise in the midst of trouble, God not only
fights for you, but you present a compelling
witness for God. Will you determine, by the power
of the Holy Spirit to make praise a central part
of your life?

IV. Next week: Meekness in the Crucible.

Copr. 2022, Bruce N. Cameron, J.D. Scripture quotations are
from the ESV Bible (The Holy Bible, English Standard
Version ), copyright 2001 by Crossway, a publishing
ministry of Good News Publishers. Used by permission. All
rights reserved. Suggested answers are found within
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but it is lost one week, you can find it by clicking on this
link: Pray for the guidance of the
Holy Spirit as you study.