During a holiday season a friend stopped me in church and said, “Mary, I know you’ll understand this. Tell me what to do. I’ve just been in the dumps lately, thinking about being single, wishing I were married, wishing I had someone to be with during the holidays, feeling sorry for myself. I thought about you and I said, ‘Mary would understand what I’m feeling.’  But what do I do?”

I said to her, very simply, “Start praising God.” That’s all I needed to say to her—she knew the principle but had just forgotten to practice it. “Of course,” she said, “that’s the answer.” She recalled how a few years earlier she had come out of a real depression by praising God.

The next Sunday she reported to me that it worked immediately. She said, “I went home and started praising God for all his goodness to me and in short order, my spirits were lifted, the self-pity was gone, and I was able to truly be thankful for who I am and what I have.”

Offering a sacrifice of praise is praising God in the midst of depression or self-pity or whatever. Praising God when we don’t feel it or even when we don’t want to. It is a biblical principle to offer God sacrifices of praise, and a sacrifice is something costly, right? It will require us to sacrifice our right to grumble or complain or feel sorry for ourselves. But when we choose to offer a sacrifice of praise—in spite of our feelings or circumstances—we discover that it changes us.

Also, praise is a weapon to be used in spiritual conflict. Psalm 8:2 says, “Through the praise of children and infants you have established a stronghold against your enemies, to silence the foe and the avenger.” Scripture says that God inhabits the praise of his people. This means that where there is praise and adoration of God, he takes up residence in that praise, and his presence always makes Satan run the other way. Satan cannot abide the presence of the living God. Satan is allergic to praise of God.

Do you feel like Satan has been defeating you on every hand lately? Is he robbing you of blessings and peace that God has intended for you to have? Start praising God; your enemy has to flee when you do. When you offer a sacrifice of praise, you are simply obeying scripture, and God will honor your obedience. If we love him, we will keep his commandments. And he wants us to praise him at all times, because praise changes us.