The term “Sacrifice of praise” always confused me as a kid. Everyone made it sound like a beautiful and heartwarming characteristic of being a Christian. Songs about it are upbeat so obviously it’s something that makes me happy.
I’m sorry, but I beg to differ.
Yes, as a Follower of Christ bringing a sacrifice of praise to the Lord is a portion of our faith journey. It grows us and it makes us more like Christ so it’s worth every second of our time. But it’s not always a heartwarming, joyful, charismatic act of worship.
Somedays, it’s more sacrifice than it is praise.
Recently, I went through a heartwrenching, heartbreaking crisis of faith like I had never experienced before. Questions about my faith were viciously thrown my way and the answers I gave seemed to come up wanting. My heart wasn’t unwavering in the faith anymore. I had to ask questions very few believers in Jesus Christ want to ask.
Here’s the thing: I’m on the worship team at my Church.
I wrestled night and day with the fact that the last thing I wanted to do was praise God in the midst of my intellectually spiritual war. I wrestled even deeper with wondering if I was equipped to lead my precious Church Family into the Throne Room. I prayed for release from the responsibility and didn’t get it. I wept bitter tears praying that my attitude would change God’s mind, but it was to no avail.
That Sunday came and my heart trembled as I picked up the microphone. I silently screamed at the heavens, JESUS! Why? Why do you want me here?! I love you, but the last thing my heart wants to do is praise You; especially as a part of the leadership this morning. Please. Get me off this stage.
Instead of going along with my proposed escape plan (epileptic seizure, anyone? Stroke? Heart attack? Imminent death?!), I felt Yahweh grab my heart and firmly ask me:
Do you still believe I am the Ultimate Authority and the King of kings? Praise me anyway, Baby Girl. Make these songs your prayer. Make these songs your sacrifice of praise. It will hurt you, but it will heal you. Lead this Body with your eyes on me.
My sacrifice of praise came with a choked voice and a broken resolve, but I had before my eyes a King that deserved my sacrifice. He is King and He is real. That was enough to praise Him for. He never changed.
My head was raised higher as the songs became less of a sacrifice and more of an offering.