The Sacrifice of Praise

by Kristi Bothur © 2012

"Through Jesus, therefore, let us continually offer to God a sacrifice of praise - the fruit of lips that confess his name." Hebrews 13:15

I learned this verse a long time ago and sang about it eagerly during worship times in college. I wondered sometimes about the phrase "sacrifice of praise" and assumed that being believers in Jesus, it was because we no longer need to make sacrificial offerings, but can simply give our praises to God.

It wasn't until several years ago, walking the road of the loss of our unborn daughter, that I began seeing that Bible verse in a different light. I saw how the very act of praise can be, not just a substitute for the Old Testament sacrifices, but an actual sacrifice itself.

Praising God is a sacrifice when it's the last thing you want to do because you're hurting from something that God could have prevented, but didn't.

Praise is a sacrifice when you are angry with God for allowing a painful trial in the life of a loved one.

Praise is a sacrifice when you are afraid to trust God with your future because of what happened in the past.

Praise is a sacrifice when tears are near the surface and joy feels hypocritical.

Praise is a sacrifice when we choose to trust God even when we don't understand Him.

Praise is a sacrifice when we do it because of what we know to be true about God - that He is good, and strong, and loving - in spite of our circumstances.

Praise is a sacrifice when our feelings - which are legitimate and honest and understandable and normal and human - do not dictate our worship.

Praise is a sacrifice when Jesus asks us, as he did His disciples, "You do not want to leave, too, do you?", and we answer, even through tears, as Peter did: "Lord, to whom shall we go? You have the words of eternal life. We believe and know that You are the Holy One of God" (Luke 6:67-69).

Praise is a sacrifice because it requires us to lay down our lives along with our feelings and desires and "rights" in order to sing out the praises of the One who laid His life down for us.

Are you unsure of your footing with God right now because of the circumstances of your life? Are you having a hard time as you approach this season of Thanksgiving? Tell Him that. Pour out your heart to Him. Then offer Him a sacrifice of praise in the midst of your uncertainty, speaking to yourself and others about His goodness and love.

Father, I don't feel like praising you right now. The songs we sing in church feel fake and hypocritical. Please help me. Show me what is true and unchanging about you and help me worship and praise you because of who you are in spite of my circumstances. I believe, Jesus. But help my unbelief. Amen.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Kristi Bothur is a pastor's wife, teacher, and mother of five - two on earth and three in heaven. She has a heart for other women who have experienced the loss of children during pregnancy or in early infancy, and she has a passion for sharing the truth of God's word in a way that makes sense in everyday life. She and her husband are the founders of "Naomi's Circle", a ministry for parents of babies in heaven ( You are welcome to contact her at Kristi lives in Columbia, South Carolina, with her husband, daughter, and son.


  1. As I read your words, Kristi, I see how often I don't offer a sacrifice of praise...

    ... I just sacrifice praise.

    How do you learn how to worship God, when the only thing you feel is negative feelings? I was struck by Job's response when all that he had was taken away. It says he tore his clothes and bowed down and worshipped God. I was struck by the fact that all he said was "The Lord gives and the Lord takes away. Blessed be the Name of the Lord." He didn't say, "Lord, I don't like it. I feel angry."

    Lol...that came along, a little later- for many chapters.

    what I like about it is God let Job spill his guts out. He let him pour out his grief, before showing Job who He really is...and who Job really was. I've heard it said that we need to confess, not because God needs to hear us as much as we need to hear ourselves say those things. We need to know what it sounds like out loud and not just rattling around in our own heads. Cause in our heads it can sound reasonable and just, but when we hear the timber of our voices as the feelings push it out of us, we learn what we truly are believing in that moment in our hearts.

    Confession is eye opening.

    So is trying to praise God in song and finding our tongues cleaving to the roof of our mouths and the tune stuck in our throats.

    So thank you for your timely words. for I find myself in this very season; a time when my head knows God is good, but I feel so hurt.

    1. Holly, I have found confession to be very healing. It washed away the bitterness that had crept in, and allowed the Holy Spirit to bring healing. I do understand how you are feeling; I've been there myself.