Latter-day Saint Life

My Baptist mother says this phrase 3 times when she answers the phone—and my faith is stronger for it

woman using mobile phone
Talking about the goodness of the Lord and praising Him in every circumstance are principles I learned from my mom’s example.
elenaleonova/Getty Images

When my mom calls me on the phone, the immediate reply I hear after saying “Hello” is:

“Praise the Lord!”

“Praise the Lord!”

“Praise the Lord!”

There are always three praises in a row. She pauses after each one so I can respond with the same three words, “Praise the Lord!” Before our conversation even begins, there are a total of six verbal praises to our Heavenly Father.

Though we worship Him in different religions, as I am a member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints and she is a member of the Baptist faith, our love and gratitude for the Savior are the same.

Talking about the goodness of the Lord and praising Him in every circumstance are principles I learned from my mom’s example. Praising the Lord with fellow Christians, regardless of their religion, further confirms to me that we are not alone in our faith in Christ as members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.

Elder Quentin L. Cook talks about peaceable followers of Christ as “warm, engaged members of the communities where we live.” By reaching out to my community, I’ve learned from the examples of many fellow Christians striving to be peaceable followers of Jesus Christ.

Joining Our Voices in Praise

I teach an African American literature course at Daytona State College, and recently, I had the opportunity to invite my students to learn from our local community’s religious leaders. During the first two weeks of the class, I created a foundation for reading the literature by focusing on the vernacular—the oral tradition of Black expression. The class engaged in listening sessions and lively discussions as we studied everything from spirituals, secular rhymes and songs, ballads, work songs, the blues, and folktales to gospel hymns, songs of social change, jazz, rhythm and blues, and hip hop.

During this segment, we also studied sermons and prayers. I invited two local pastors to my class as guest speakers: a Baptist pastor and the pastor of a non-denominational church. Each of these fellow peaceable followers of Christ readily accepted the invitation. They spoke to my students about their individual calls to the ministry and the building of their congregations.

To give my class a real-life experience with the content shared by the preacher and pastor, I invited the students to attend a Sunday service at both pastors’ respective churches. My family and I also chose to attend.

At the first church, we heard the choir singing their praises before we even entered the building! Upon entering, my family and I were greeted and asked if we had a “church home.” I replied that we were members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, to which we received a kind welcome. Speaking about Jesus Christ, even by simply saying the complete name of His Church, is a way to show others I rejoice in Him.

The second church included praise dancers, who, in their flowing dresses, embodied the words of a song of praise. The songs I heard at both the Baptist and non-denominational churches were familiar to me and helped me feel closer to Christ and my fellow disciples.

Although they had different preaching styles—one was charismatic, and one frequently used alliteration—their messages were Spirit-driven and full of hope and faith to overcome the adversities we face in life. Both religious leaders had a heartfelt desire to help people in the community and be peaceable followers of Christ. I was honored to join their congregations in singing and praising the Lord.

Praising the Lord through Sorrow

In addition to my experiences with fellow followers of Christ in different churches, singing with members of my faith in The Tabernacle Choir at Temple Square helped me feel the Lord’s love during a difficult trial.

On December 18, 2015, hours before the performance of The Tabernacle Choir’s scheduled Christmas concert, I received an unexpected phone call with the news that my dad passed away.

Instead of preparing for another night of musical excitement, I was heartbroken and in complete shock. Surely people would understand if I did not participate in the concert that night.

My husband prayed with me and gave me a blessing. We both felt like I should still sing in the concert. Physically, I felt weak and didn’t think I could do it. But by the grace of God, I was able to get myself together and head downtown to the Conference Center. I arrived late but just in time to take my place on the choir stand before the concert started.

That night, I sang for others, but the music comforted me. Every song was a testament to Jesus Christ, and it gave me peace and strength amid my grief. It is still the most sacred Christmastime experience I’ve ever had.

Singing in that concert also reminded me of my mom’s example of praising the Lord in every circumstance. Through all her trials, even when she’s dealt with major medical issues, she continues to say, “Praise the Lord!”

We all are living a human experience that involves many ups and downs. As Elder Quentin L. Cook says, “Those who believe in, humbly worship, and testify of Jesus Christ have always experienced trials, tribulations, and adversities.” Nevertheless, I have learned that we can still sing praises to our Lord.

Whether singing through heartache or answering the phone with, “Praise the Lord!” each of us can praise the Lord both loudly and peacefully however that looks for us, without reservations or hesitations. And as we do so, we can discover joy—no matter our current circumstances.

Hear more from Cristi about placing Christ at the center of our lives on the Magnify podcast!

Stay in the loop!
Enter your email to receive updates on our LDS Living content