Sometimes it’s tempting to wait until God answers our prayers exactly as we want before we praise Him or acknowledge His work in our lives. I am grateful for Mark Batterson’s reminder that God loves to hear our praises along the way. Whether our circumstances change as we hope or not, God is worthy of praise. Praising Him helps us remember that His answers to our prayers are always more miraculous than we can imagine—and always right on time. It’s a grace to welcome Mark to the farm’s table today….

Guest Post by Mark Batterson

Take a breath.

Few things are more mundane than breathing, yet few things are more miraculous. With every breath, we inhale half a liter of air, which contains 12.5 sextillion molecules. That’s more molecules than all the sand on all the seashores on planet Earth, including sandcastles.

We don’t need lyrics on a screen or a band onstage to praise God. All we need is breath.”

Take another breath.

As we exhale, it may seem like our breath vanishes into thin air, but the molecules that make it up still exist. In fact, the air that we exhale catches prevailing winds and circles the globe at the same latitude in about two weeks. 

Take one more breath.

To activate rest and relaxation, you have to breathe deeply. A deep breath recalibrates body, soul, and spirit.

Let everything that has breath praise the Lord. That is the last verse in the last psalm (Psalm 150), and I love it for lots of reasons.

First, if you’re still breathing, God isn’t finished with you yet. It’s never too late to become who you might have been.

“On one hand, the name, Yahweh, is too sacred to pronounce. On the other hand, it’s whispered with every breath we take.”

Second, this verse is also an open-ended invitation to worship. We don’t need lyrics on a screen or a band onstage to praise God. All we need is breath.

In Hebrew, the name of God is Yahweh. It was considered too sacred to say out loud, so the vowels were removed. All that’s left are consonants: YHWH. According to some scholars, YHWH is the sound of breathing.

On one hand, the name is too sacred to pronounce. On the other hand, it’s whispered with every breath we take.

It’s our first word, last word, and every word in between. 

Part of my fascination with respiration comes from the fact that I had asthma for forty years.

After I prayed a bold prayer, one I had prayed hundreds of times before, God healed my lungs on July 2, 2016. I haven’t touched an inhaler from that day to this day! I don’t take a single breath for granted, but let me share one lesson I learned along the way: Praise God for partial miracles.

“Why not praise God every step of the way, even if it’s two steps forward and one step back?”

In Mark 8, we read about a two-part miracle that is both fascinating and encouraging. Jesus laid hands on a blind man, and the man experienced a miracle. His sight was restored, but not completely. People still looked like trees walking (see Mark 8:24). Let’s call it 20/100 vision.

This is where many of us doubt God instead of praising Him for a partial miracle. This is where many of us give up because we didn’t get the whole miracle.

Listen—even Jesus had to pray twice!

Some miracles happen in stages. These are the moments when we need to double down with prayer and fasting.

All too often, we withhold our praise for partial miracles and then wonder why the whole miracle never happens. Why not praise God every step of the way, even if it’s two steps forward and one step back?

Yes, on July 2, 2016, I prayed a bold prayer, and God completely healed my lungs. But the backstory involves a partial miracle.

A month before that, I hiked Cadillac Mountain in Maine. It’s certainly not the tallest mountain I’ve hiked, but I did so without the help of my inhaler. For me, that was huge! In fact, I went four days without using my inhaler, which was the longest such streak in my life at that point. I actually wondered whether the Lord had healed my asthma then, but I had to take my rescue inhaler on day five. 

“Thank God before it happens; then see what happens!”

Having to take my inhaler knocked the wind out of me, pun intended.

But instead of focusing on the fact that I had to take it again, I decided to praise God that I went four days without needing it. I actually praised God for that partial miracle publicly at a prayer night. It was less than a week later that He healed my asthma! Coincidence? I think not.

Praising God for the partial miracle was a small step but a giant leap toward the double blessing of two healed lungs! 

When you praise God for partial miracles, you are prophesying your praise!

Gratitude is praising God after He does the miracle. Faith is praising God before He does. It’s like a down payment on a miracle.

Thank God before it happens; then see what happens! That thanks might just have a domino effect. 

Is there a partial miracle you need to praise God for? 

Take a deep breath. 

And praise the Lord!

Mark Batterson serves as lead pastor of National Community Church in Washington, DC. NCC also owns and operates Ebenezers CoffeehouseThe Miracle Theatre, the DC Dream Center, and Capital Turnaround. Mark holds a doctor of ministry degree from Regent University and is the New York Times bestselling author of over 20 books, including Circle Maker, Win the DayChase the Lion, and Whisper

Mark’s newest book, Please, Sorry, Thanks challenges us to recognize the power of words in our relationships, vocation, and dreams. As Mark reminds us, changing our words changes our world.

[ Our humble thanks to Multnomah for their partnership in today’s devotional. ]

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