When Life Silences Your Song

Fighting Your Battles with Praise

by Leslie McLeod

Why is it when we try our hardest to do the right thing, it seems to go sideways? Like getting everyone to church without drama. That shouldn’t be too tough, right?

Not so. I’m convinced the enemy stays up late Saturday nights, cooking up schemes to derail families headed for worship the next morning. Getting the kids out of bed, dressed, and in the car somehow seems to be more of an ordeal on a Sunday than any other weekday, no matter how old they are.

Last week right before church, my husband and I got into an animated “discussion.” As we sat in the car, the tension radiated like heat waves from an August asphalt. With phony “We’re fine!” smiles, we slipped into our seats, carefully avoiding touching one another.

But then the lights dimmed and the worship music swelled. After two or three songs, I felt a fresh breeze of healing joy ripple across the surface of my battered emotions. My heart lifted and I reached for my husband’s hand at the same moment he reached for mine.

Songs of praise carry tremendous power.

In the days of Jehoshaphat, the nation of Judah came under the threat of attack from a huge army. When the king and the people sought the Lord, a prophet spoke, moved by the Spirit: “Don’t be afraid. Tomorrow’s battle belongs to God. March out, stand firm, and watch the Lord’s deliverance” (2 Chronicles 20:15, paraphrase).

As the army set out the next day, the king put into play one of the craziest wartime strategies ever. Rather than leading with the best and bravest soldiers, he sent an ensemble of singers to the front, where they led the way praising the Lord—choir robes and all. And no sooner had the music begun than the attacking armies, though miles away from Judah, turned on each other and self-destructed. The enemy was defeated before Judah ever arrived on the scene!

We may not have a physical enemy chasing after us. But we do have the stealthy, invisible ones that can do just as much or even more harm to us, especially when we’re already soul weary. 

Consider these opponents: Disillusionment. Depression. Discouragement. Doubt. Despair. All of these adversaries hurt. And when they hit their mark, a praise song is about the last weapon we feel like pulling from our arsenal. But what if we did reach for it? What if we fought our battles like Jehoshaphat and let praise be our front line of defense?

When you haven’t the strength to lift your own voice, tune in to a faith-based station or playlist that wields mighty truths, not just to your head but to your embattled heart. Open your Bible and draw strength from the Spirit-infused lyrics of the Psalms. Or just step outside and fall in with the company of creation as it sings God’s praises: “Let the rivers clap their hands; let the hills sing for joy together” (Psalm 98:8 ESV).

What if we fought our battles like Jehoshaphat and let praise be our front line of defense?

David’s harp subdued Saul’s evil spirit (see 1 Samuel 16:23). Paul and Silas’s hymns shook the foundations of their prison (see Acts 16:25–26). The trumpet fanfare felled the fortified walls of Jericho (see Joshua 6:20). When life beats us down, we don’t have to just take it. We are more than conquerors as we fight back boldly with the power of praise.

Bring it, sister!

Leslie McLeod loves writing, painting, connecting with friends, cowboy boots, pansies, and bubblegum pink roses. @mcleod_leslie

Scripture quotation is from the English Standard Version.

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