Offering praise and thanksgiving to God helps to crowd out those things in our lives that hold us back, such as criticism, depression and fear. If we have a critical spirit toward others or toward the circumstances in our lives, we sabotage our peace.

The prayer of praise is our greatest weapon against a critical spirit. Isaiah records, “You will keep in perfect peace all who trust in you, all whose thoughts are fixed on you!” (Isaiah 26:3). By praising and thanking him daily, we trust the Lord, and leave no room for criticism to weigh us down.

Many struggle with depression today, but it is not a new problem. Even the psalmist is downcast, and cannot understand why. “Why am I discouraged? Why is my heart so sad?” (Psalm 42:5). As believers, like the psalmist, we know that it is not a condition we want to be in, but we find ourselves there, and brood over why we are feeling this way.

The psalmist finally decides to stop asking why and instead chooses to praise the Lord in spite of feeling depressed. “I will put my hope in God! I will praise him again—my Savior and my God.” (Psalm 42:5-6). When we praise the Lord even in the discouraging times, we are acknowledging that he is in control.

There is great power in praise! Our God is faithful. We can trust him!