Christian, what hinders you from praising God more than you do? Certainly, it isn’t your desire? How many evenings a week do you fall asleep thinking, “Where did the day go? Where was my time for prayer?” Before you drift off, you commit to spending at least thirty minutes during your lunch break the next day in prayer and Scripture reading, in the worship of your God . . . if there’s time.
Consider a different type of commitment. Consider Psalm 117:
Praise the Lord, all nations!
Extol him, all peoples!
For great is his steadfast love toward us,
and the faithfulness of the Lord endures forever.
Praise the Lord!
Here we have the shortest chapter in the Bible. In the English translation cited above, this psalm comprises twenty-eight words—twenty-eight rich words of worship to God. It is compact and precise, balanced in brevity, potent in praise.
Do you see how Psalm 117 is a biblical pattern for short bursts of praise? You do not need long, drawn-out periods of praise to worship the Lord. When those longer times of study are available, definitely make use of them. Psalm 119 is in the Bible, too. But don’t make them the only spiritual meals on your pilgrimage home—there is a time for feasting, and there is a time for war rations. If you only wait for longer chunks of time to worship your God, you may find yourself squandering shorter moments that you could leverage to the glory of God. A short commute to the grocery store, the walk down the hall to tuck your kids in at night, the elevator ride up to the hospital room, a short glance out the window at the sunrise—these are all moments fit for praise, moments in which a Psalm 117-type prayer or song could fit.
And more than that, to show you the depth of even smaller portions of Scripture, consider how Psalm 117 is a prayer about Christ and a prayer for world missions. Paul quotes Psalm 117:1 in Romans 15:11 to prove that God had long planned to accomplish redemption through Jesus Christ. We don’t know the identity of the author of Psalm 117, but we know that he was a prophet, telling the story of God’s promise to redeem His people through a covenant mediator, a Messiah. And, to the surprise of many of the Jews, that promised Christ would evangelize the nations, calling not only Israel but all the nations to extol the name of the Lord.
Do you see Scripture this way? Have you ever considered that in less than fifteen seconds you could praise God with a theologically robust, Christocentric prayer that is also a call to world missions? This is the power of Scripture that speaks the power of our God. He is not constrained by word counts or the devotional acumen of His people; He will be exalted.
So what are you waiting for? Praise the Lord!