"When you make a vow to God, do not delay in fulfilling it." (Ecclesiastes 5:4a; read the surrounding verses too)
The topic of this passage in Ecclesiastes has struck me recently. In the Psalms we also see language of praying for God’s rescue, and then the author responding with praise. In Psalm 51 David writes of his intention to teach others (sinners) of God—with the result that they will return to God—once God has mercy on David for his own sin. Throughout the Psalms, we see a rhythm of prayer for rescue, and praising God for His acts of salvation and His faithfulness. Prayer and praise, prayer and praise.
And yet we so easily neglect the praise, neglect our intention to thank God and tell others of His work in our lives. I am good at the asking, but don’t do so well at fulfilling my promises to God. Perhaps the first step in this is simply taking time to reflect back, to praise God for His faithfulness, and then to unashamedly begin to share with others the ways God has been active and gracious in our lives and our communities. And when we begin to dwell more on praising and thanking God, perhaps our eyes will begin to see more clearly the many ways He is present in our lives. Let’s not cut that cycle short by discarding praise.