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Erika Dix discovers what it is like to praise God after opening up to His mercy.


“Be merciful O Lord, for we have sinned.” (Psalm 51:3a, from a responsorial psalm)

“Unbutton my lips, dear God, I’ll let loose with Your praise.” Psalm 51:15 (Message Bible/Catholic Edition)


I struggle with praising God. I’m really not sure how to do it, especially all the time, as we are told He prefers it. Many saints and preachers know how to do it. I take the praising for granted during the good and blessed times. But it is easy to say “Praise God!” when a prayer is answered after suffering, or when I experience God’s mercy after confessing a (pretty big) sin. I’m rocked on my knees, hands raised, singing and shouting praises to God!  

That first Scripture verse shows me how I need God’s mercy after I’ve sinned. And then He needs my praises after He’s opened my lips with His mercy. It’s a beautiful giving and receiving loop we find ourselves in, when we have the heart to recognize it.  

It is also beautiful to see that it is God’s action that opens our lips to praise Him. Plus, it is not just a simple act, but a more complicated action of unbuttoning. It is tougher to unbutton a coat, purse, shirt, and so on, than to just open a mouth to speak. You need hands! I fasten my lips too tightly sometimes. That is why I praise only after hardship, when they are loosened from praying for God’s mercy.   

Praise is like trust and surrender. God asks us to give Him Praise freely, but He will certainly nudge us if we are too closed up. What closes us up? Fear, relying on ourselves for blessings, busy-ness, all the things that turn us away from God (aka Sin). So God’s mercy is His hands unbuttoning our lips to let loose all the Praise within us, just waiting for Him to hear. It is a beautiful loop to be a part of. 


It's beautiful to see that it is God’s action that opens our lips to praise Him. #catholicmom


box of buttons spilling out onto the floor



I will praise you, Lord. 

I’m not sure what it looks like when I’m not in hardship, but please show me what it does look like at all times. Be merciful to me, a sinner, when I turn from you, and unbutton my lips, so my heart’s praises can be let loose for all to hear, but most especially to You, dear God. Amen. 

Copyright 2022 Erika Dix
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