February 29, 2024

Praise in P.R.A.Y.

On Jan. 4, 2021, my then 18-year-old son, Elijah, was rushed to the emergency room.

We could hardly find his pulse anywhere. The ER doctor put a central line into his neck to stabilize him and then transported him to another hospital by ambulance. In the intensive care unit, they did test after test on Elijah. He was tested for COVID three times and multiple other diseases. Specialists came in and out of his room eliminating causes.  

After three days, the disease specialist came in and said that they were still running a few tests, but he was very sorry that they could find no cause for my son’s sudden illness. Thankfully, Elijah was responding to the medicine and recovering. He was moved from the ICU to a ward where he ordered ice cream regularly and they moved to discharge him.  

Then a church member called to find out how Elijah was doing. I told them that he was recovering.  

“Praise the Lord!” they said. 

Then it struck me forcefully, Why do we praise the Lord?  

In front of Elijah I said, “No, we will praise the Lord even if Elijah dies.”  

Elijah looked at me. “What? You will praise God if I die?”   

“It’s not about you Elijah,” I said. “It’s about who God is. God does not change if we die.”   

Silently we pondered that thought. From that day on I determined to train my soul to praise God for who He is, no matter what happens. 

Prayer begun with praise for who God is, allows the heart to enter His presence with a right attitude. The attitude of praise connects best with heaven. When God has our total focus, our attitude will follow His attributes.  

From beginning to end, our prayers should focus on who God is and what He wants. This is what powerful prayers are all about, who God is. We pray to God with certainty when we know what He wants and what He desires to give.    

There is a very easy way to stay focused on God in our prayers with these four core concepts when we P.R.A.Y.: Praise, Repent, Ask and Yield.  

Praise focuses on Who God is.  

Repentance lets God reclaim control over us.  

Asking is only for what God wants.  

Yield is the soul focused on God in a ready state of action. 

I am not an expert on prayer, but if prayer is the breath of the soul, then we should train the soul to breathe correctly. My soul is simply learning how to breathe.   

Darrel le Roux pastors the Grand Rapids Central and Lowell Riverside Fellowship churches and serves as the Grand Rapids district coordinator for Michigan Conference.