All My Inmost Being

Praise the Lord, O my soul, 
all my inmost being;
Praise his holy name.
Psalm 103:1

“All my inmost being” Those four words pack a punch at my heart. My inmost being contains everything about me. All that rejoices, and all that hurts. All the health, and all the sickness. All the determination and all the lack of motivation. All the strengths and all the weaknesses. Can I praise him in ALL these things?

I looked up the definition of “praise” and in my own words I define it:

  • to adore, to honor,
  • to show great respect to
  • to lift up in honor, as in to give great glory to and raise up in heart and mind above oneself
  • to express admiration and gratitude
  • to celebrate someone or give homage to (God!)

To praise the Lord would be to give him all these things, to admire him for who he is and what he does, to celebrate him and rejoice over him. It may not always be a feeling, but a sense of respect and acknowledgement that he is King of Kings and Lord of Lords. Other times it’s an adoration that he is also our Father in Heaven, our Daddy who loves and cares for us beyond our understanding. Again, feelings about any matter in our relationship with God should not get in the way of praise, and yet my first tendency is to complain or groan, not praise! Thankfully, even if my relationship is sour, because I have drifted away and disobeyed, he is patiently, and longingly waiting for me (and you, too!) as a Good Father waits for his children to come back to their senses.

On another thought, how can we naturally praise him unless we know him for who he is? So many of us have skewed perspectives. We might see him as only a punishing God, or a God who is never truly there for us. We might see him as one who is ready to strike us at every little sin (without mercy or compassion and forgiveness), or we might think of him as a genie in a bottle, granting every wish. After we get to know him, we see his character traits that always move in pure love. The truth is, he is willing to be a very close and intimate friend and is a Good Father who guides and directs with great peace and wisdom. He doesn’t always give us what we want, but what will shape our character for good. The only way we can experience these good things is through belief in Christ Jesus. There is no other way to it, not by our own works or good merit, or through anyone else or thing that claims its promises to fulfill.

Even so, how can we know him unless we cultivate and engage in our very own personal relationship with him? Just believing but not acting on our faith of belief, is like inviting someone into our home but going about our business pretending they aren’t there. Unfortunately many of us have days in which we do just that, completely ignore God’s presence! We must allow ourselves to interact with him. We must dig deep and get to know him. Allow him to show himself in our lives, while opening our minds and hearts to recognize his work in all things. We must learn to know what he is really like, rather than what we presume. I have said it in the past and will say it again, it’s important to know him through his word and through belief have him show the life he is for us. We cultivate our belief in his power by walking purposefully in agreement to what we hear.

Then we respond accordingly in our praise. To respond by making corrections when his Spirit reveals sin is praise. To respond in gratitude for his work, creation, or changes in ourselves and others… all are acts of praise, glorifying him. Even loving others shows praise because that is what he wants of us. When we obey his commands, we honor and reveal his kingship and authority. Obedience shows agreement that his word is pure and perfectly correct. Even when I sin, in confession and make positive change, I show him praise and acknowledging his forgiveness and love for restoration. And then of course, there is the singing, shouting, speaking out loud and sharing with others what he has done. There is thanking him for his goodness and recognizing before him all that he has given. There is sharing testimony before both believers and non-believers. These are the more obvious forms of praise.

Let’s go back to the verse and dig a little further. To praise the Lord with all my inmost being, I must be willing to praise him with even the pain and fearful parts of my story.

The week I was meditating on this, I had a few bad dreams that made no sense of anything. I am not sure why I get them. I was fighting a virus and strange vivid pictures sorted out in my sleep. (A ginormous purple octopus falling out of a thunderstorm and ransacking a children’s home, while speaking in a cold dark accusing voice is one wild and crazy dream!) Though I have had much worse and even terrifying dreams, as I woke up, this scripture was on my mind, so I repeated it again and again, trying to remember it and apply it. I told my soul and body to listen to the Lord, to be obedient to his wisdom, to rise up and fight the enemy’s tactics to cause fear. I even dared to tell my cells to listen to the Lord’s marching orders and get me well in Jesus’ name!

I want everything in me to line up with my Father’s Sovereignty because I can trust him. It brought me comfort to repeat the scripture that night and even following nights when I couldn’t sleep. As I pray, sometimes the Lord provides by helping me sleep, or helping my mind think about something comforting until I do. I was surprised last night to find my mind settling in on happy memories of my grandparents home. My mind went back through every detail of every room. I could almost even remember the distinct familiar smell of their home. It was a place of peace and joy in my memories. It was an interesting and unexpected answer to my prayer, but just what my mind and heart needed. Our Father in Heaven knows what we need even before we ask it! (Matthew 6:8)

As you practice praise and trust, as you pray and give up your entire being to him in all circumstances, watch and see what he will personally do for you that will strengthen you and draw you to himself. I would highly encourage you to read and meditate on all of Psalm 103. It is full of words about God’s great character of love, compassion and forgiveness, of which give your soul numerous reasons for which to praise him!

TO THINK ABOUT: What parts of your inmost being are you most willing to praise the Lord with? Are their inner parts of your being that are harder to praise the Lord with? Consider offering up those difficult places and allowing the Lord to heal as you praise him. Here is a possible prayer you could lift up:

Lord, you are Sovereign and Holy and yet you also love me deeper than I can fathom. You know every part of me, even my inmost being. Thus, you also know the places I hurt. You know the pain that’s buried deep. There may even be places I have forgotten. I want to praise you with my whole being, yet I don’t always know how. Today I choose to praise you, taking a step forward to trust you in all those inner spaces of my heart because you will one day completely restore me and make all things right in the end. Help me see you and know you for who you really are and not what I have presumed and heal me through and through. Amen.

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