Recently, I ventured on to our video-on-demand site and was browsing through the vast video archives. I was curious to see how far back they went and was shocked to find a Praise the Lord program online dating back to April 30, 1978. Thirty-nine years had passed since that program first aired, but I was able to see my mom and dad hosting their first show from Israel on the Mount of Olives in Jerusalem. It moved me to watch my parents’ obvious joy and excitement throughout that broadcast. They had a right to “Praise the Lord,” because they had no guarantee the satellite feed was even going to work in Israel! Many years have passed since then, and the technology has evolved dramatically. However, one thing has stayed the same: Praise (as we call it now) remains TBN’s cornerstone program.
PRAISE’S ORIGINAL INTENT
My curiosity was piqued, so I continued to browse the archives and encountered many familiar names from the past among the guests, names that rank among the giants of the Gospel of the last half of the 20th century. Names like Billy Graham, E.V. Hill, Jack Hayford, Lester Sumrall, T.L. Osborn, and many more. What a spiritual debt of gratitude so many of us owe these great teachers and preachers. It’s fascinating when I consider my parents’ original vision for the Praise program and how God molded and shaped it through the decades. If you look at the current description of Praise on TBN.org, it is described as “TBN’s flagship program featuring inspiring talk, music, and ministry at the intersection of faith, culture, and current trends.”
". . . I can use one word to describe my parents’ original intent and purpose for the show—encouragement."
That’s an accurate description. Yet I can use one word to describe my parents’ original intent and purpose for the show—encouragement. That was their guiding objective for every episode of Praise the Lord. They knew every show had to answer this one question: If someone tuned in tonight, would they hear an uplifting Christ-centered message? More than forty years later, I’m pleased the answer to that question is still a resounding “Yes!” Laurie and I don’t take for granted the testimonies that continue pouring in from people who were saved, helped, or forever changed, sometimes decades ago, through an episode of Praise the Lord. And we’re thrilled that new testimonies continue to be born every night. One key reason this legacy of fruitfulness and pact continues is that God has blessed us with an extraordinary team of gifted Believers who work tirelessly behind the scenes to make sure you and every other viewer hear, see, and feel all that God wants to communicate through each Praise episode. We capture the Praise program in multiple studios in a wide variety of locations around the world. A diverse collection of amazing hosts assists Laurie and me, as we interview guests from every conceivable stream of ministry and corner of the body of Christ. »
Amid all this variability, one guiding principle underlies every decision: Our viewers’ needs—physical, emotional, and spiritual—mean everything to us. We want the heart of God to shine through and for people to be set free in the areas where they struggle the most. TBN’s original commitment to encouraging and equipping Believers means pursuing their total well-being. It is the heartbeat of every episode. We want the heart of God to shine through and for people to be set free in the areas where they struggle the most. Yet we remain constantly aware that lost and hurting people are tuning in as well. Often they are hurting and searching for answers and they have the most urgent need of all—the need to meet Jesus. On Praise we speak to these seekers and invite them to come experience hope and grace in Christ. And many do. From finding emotional healing and relational health, to conquering addictions, to simply growing closer to God, we want each episode of Praise to speak clearly and biblically to the things you and your loved ones need the most.
WHAT MAKES A PRAISE GUEST?
Once our team has identified a pressing need among our viewers and partners, we immediately begin praying about which guests can provide biblical, Spirit-empowered help in that area. For example, when we realized stress and anxiety were a huge issue for millions of Believers, we invited Joyce Meyer to come discuss her book Overload and to share spiritual keys to living in rest and peace in these chaotic times. For overcoming discouragement, we’ve brought you Joel Osteen. For leaving behind guilt, shame, and condemnation, we’ve created a platform for you to hear the life-changing insights of Joseph Prince. And so on, for every conceivable need and challenge.
". . . we love spotlighting ordinary Believers God has used to do extraordinary things"
And it’s not just well-known, established teachers who find their way to a seat on our Praise set. Praise delights in continuing the long-standing Praise the Lord practice of introducing up-and-coming ministers to a wider audience. And we love spotlighting ordinary Believers God has used to do extraordinary things.
ONE OF MY MEMORABLE PRAISE EXPERIENCES
Praise episodes aren’t scripted or tightly planned. We begin with a general idea of where we want to go, but we leave lots of room for the Spirit of God to guide our conversation. I vividly remember one of the first times we ended up offering our viewers a resource on Praise. Laurie and I were talking with Pastor Samuel Rodriguez, and he was revealing the backstory of his latest book, Be Light. He shared transparently and powerfully how the Lord led him to overcome darkness in his own life by “turning on the light.” The Spirit of God tangibly filled the studio that night as Pastor Sammy spoke. Eventually, he jumped up, looked right into the camera, and began prophesying to people bound by shackles of spiritual darkness. Our studio audience caught his excitement and rose to their feet cheering and praising God. The next thing I knew, I found myself standing in the midst of our telephone prayer team, encouraging people to call and request Sammy’s book. The Praise viewers at home clearly felt that move of the Spirit too, because our phone lines practically melted that night.
THANK YOU FOR WATCHING
Praise has been on an extraordinary 45-year journey that began with a fuzzy UHF signal and 1970s décor and clothing styles. Today we can capture images in high-definition using technology scarcely dreamed of all those years ago. As you’ve heard us say before ... our methods may change but our message remains the same. Your support makes Praise and the rest of TBN’s 24/7, multi-channel outreach to the world possible. Laurie and I are so grateful for you. Please stay connected as we march boldly into the future.
God bless you!
Matt and Laurie Crouch