It's not always easy to praise God when our lives are congested with an overabundance of trouble. Perhaps you find it easier to offer praise and thanksgiving when the wheels of your life are gliding over smooth, freshly paved highways and all is well with your soul.

Let's be honest; sometimes in our faith walk we don't always feel like lifting our hands towards heaven in praise and adoration. If God remains quiet or our prayers go unanswered, we may be left to feel that He is uninvolved in our circumstances or simply doesn't care. And that's what the devil wants you to believe. He doesn't want you praising God when your heart is breaking and your faith is wavering. He would prefer you curse God. But dear friend, it's especially during those times of fear, disappointment and uncertainty that we need to praise God and focus our attention on the One who set us free!

I think that sometimes as believers, we take God for granted. As long as He's blessing us, we're content to offer thanksgiving when it suits our schedule. Sometimes we might even forget about God. Simply put, when things are rosy, we don't praise Him as much as He deserves. Conversely, when things go south and life fills with calamity, we tend to think of God more often because we need His help. And during those times, praising His name might be the last thing we feel like doing. The devil loves to sour the heart of a believer so that praise and worship become undesirable. I've been there and I'm guessing you have too.

Remember, "The Lord is close to the broken-hearted and saves those who's spirits are crushed." (Psalms 34:18 NIV). When God remains quiet, He's still there. He still deserves our adoration, praise, gratitude and worship even when we're down and out. Offering praise and thanksgiving to God amidst our circumstances is what binds the devil and keeps our focus where it should be, on Jesus.

"Praise the Lord, all his works, everywhere in his dominion. Praise the Lord, O my soul!" (Psalm 103:22 NIV)

Lately my wife and I have been trying to do just that despite our share of dark valleys past and present. Coming together with hands and hearts as one, we offer praises and thanksgiving to God even when we're feeling spiritually worn out. And the funny thing is that once we start, we soon find there is no shortage to recognizing God's blessings on our lives!

Remember the story of Job in the Bible? He suffered horrible personal adversity, yet still he knew the Lord was in control, that He was good and loving and all-powerful, that He had a plan for Job's life and would save his soul no matter what. Job had every reason to grumble and be bitter towards God, but despite his aching heart, he found reasons to praise his Lord!

Whatever it is you're going through right now, whether calm waters or stormy seas, I encourage you to close your eyes and offer praises to God even when your heart tells you, nothing doing. God loves you! He will never leave you nor forsake you, and when you praise God even when you don't feel like it, you unleash a peace that passes all understanding.

Go ahead and try it. I dare you!

Paul Smyth