Bless the Lord, O my soul,
And all that is within me, bless His holy name. (Psalm 103:1)
To praise means to give thanks, to confess, to proclaim. Praise is confessing who God is, proclaiming His attributes and mighty works, confessing our sins and lowliness in comparison to Him, and giving thanks to Him for all He has done. The praise described in the Bible is one of joy. This is not lip service, but boisterous thankfulness and awe at the wondrous works of our Lord.
It is no coincidence that the longest book in the Bible is Psalms, a book of praise. This should make it very clear that God not only desires to be praised but that it is vital to the life of the Christian.
God is worthy of praise
Great is the Lord, and highly to be praised,
And His greatness is unsearchable. (Psalm 145:3)
Some may think that God’s desire to be praised is arrogance, a disagreeable characteristic. In any other being, I would agree. But God is not like humans. He is worthy to be praised. Arrogance is an undeserved superiority. God is superior to us in every way. What He desires and demands is not undeserved but is most deserved.
God is the Creator. We have many examples of praising God for His mighty works in creation.
“You alone are the Lord.
You have made the heavens,
The heaven of heavens with all their host,
The earth and all that is on it,
The seas and all that is in them.
You give life to all of them
And the heavenly host bows down before You.” (Nehemiah 9:6)
“Worthy are You, our Lord and our God, to receive glory and honor and power; for You created all things, and because of Your will they existed, and were created.” (Revelation 4:11)
God is worthy to be praised for His omniscience (all-knowing). There is nothing that God does not know. Because He created everything, He understands it all. He cannot learn any new information.
He counts the number of the stars;
He gives names to all of them.
Great is our Lord and abundant in strength;
His understanding is infinite. (Psalm 147:4-5)
“Can anyone teach God knowledge,
In that He judges those on high?” (Job21:22)
God is omnipresent (everywhere) and worthy of praise. There is nowhere we can run and hide from the Lord. We cannot escape His presence. He is worthy of our praise wherever we are and wherever we go. There is not a place we can go that where is it no appropriate to praise God.
“Am I a God who is near,” declares the Lord,
“And not a God far off?
“Can a man hide himself in hiding places
So I do not see him?” declares the Lord.
“Do I not fill the heavens and the earth?” declares the Lord. (Jeremiah 23:23-24)
Where can I go from Your Spirit?
Or where can I flee from Your presence?
If I ascend to heaven, You are there;
If I make my bed in Sheol, behold, You are there.
If I take the wings of the dawn,
If I dwell in the remotest part of the sea,
Even there Your hand will lead me,
And Your right hand will lay hold of me. (Psalm 139:7-10)
God is omnipotent (all-powerful). The power of God is incomprehensible for us. How is it that a being can create and hold the vastness of the universe in His hand yet at the same time, know and manipulate a single atom inside my body? This power is beyond the understanding of the human mind. He omnipotence makes Him worthy of praise!
“‘Ah Lord God! Behold, You have made the heavens and the earth by Your great power and by Your outstretched arm! Nothing is too difficult for You,’” (Jeremiah 32:17)
Whatever the Lord pleases, He does,
In heaven and in earth, in the seas and in all deeps.
He causes the vapors to ascend from the ends of the earth;
Who makes lightnings for the rain,
Who brings forth the wind from His treasuries. (Psalm 135:6-7)
God is sovereign over all things. He rules over everything. What He wills will come about. He has everything in complete control. Nothing in this life happens apart from His permission and dominion.
The Lord has established His throne in the heavens,
And His sovereignty rules over all. (Psalm 103:19)
Yours, O Lord, is the greatness and the power and the glory and the victory and the majesty, indeed everything that is in the heavens and the earth; Yours is the dominion, O Lord, and You exalt Yourself as head over all. Both riches and honor come from You, and You rule over all, and in Your hand is power and might; and it lies in Your hand to make great and to strengthen everyone. Now therefore, our God, we thank You, and praise Your glorious name. (1 Chronicles 29:11-13)
Praising God helps us to more fully understand and comprehend who He is and who we are in comparison. It reorients our position compared to Him. It more properly decreases our position in our mind of who we are. We start to see how little we are compared to His greatness. As He grows to the more appropriate position in our minds we view Him with greater awe. As He start to see how truly high and mighty He really is, we are humbled at how He has bent down to not only create but to love, to save, and to adopt a lowly, wretched sinner. The more clearly we begin to see this awesome mercy and honor He has bestowed upon His children, we cry out in praise more readily and with greater gusto.
Praise God through the study of His Word
“A life governed by God’s law, and ultimately by all of Scripture, will produce heartfelt worship and praise.” ~ Ligonier1
The Book of Psalms constantly points to reading, meditating on, understanding, memorizing, and doing what God has given us in His Word. This is the most important step in properly praising God. If we do not know the Scripture, we do not know why God is worthy of praise, why we should praise Him, or how important it is to do so.
The more we read His Word, the more we are naturally led to praise Him. The Bible teaches that we are to worship God in spirit and in truth (John 4:24). Praise is part of our worship of God. In order to properly praise God, we are not only to feel joy, awe, and thankfulness but we must understand the truth behind our praise. To know this truth, we must study what God has revealed about Himself in His Word.
Praise continually and everywhere
I will bless the Lord at all times;
His praise shall continually be in my mouth. (Psalm 34:1)
Through Him then, let us continually offer up a sacrifice of praise to God, that is, the fruit of lips that give thanks to His name. (Hebrews 13:15)
We are to be continually praising our Lord. When we start to really learn our dependence upon God, we find that every moment is a moment worthy of praising Him. Every breath we take is a gift from His gracious hand. Let our immediate response be that of praise.
Praise the Lord!
Praise God in His sanctuary;
Praise Him in His mighty expanse. (Psalm 150:1)
Bless the Lord, all you works of His,
In all places of His dominion;
Bless the Lord, O my soul! (Psalm 103:22)
There is no place we can go that it is not appropriate to praise our Lord. Even in the midst of great suffering or in a prison, we are called to praise the Lord.
In Acts 16, we read of Paul and Silas being beaten and thrown in prison for preaching the Good News. These prisons were not like our humane prisons of today. They were thrown into what we could think of as a dungeon. They had metal shackles around their ankles and were likely not given any food or clean water. They were lying in this cold dungeon, bleeding and bruised. They had been tortured, insulted, and hated for trying to give people the Good News of salvation. It would have been completely understandable to read at this point that they were depressed, they were weeping, they were angry, they were almost to the point of giving it all up. But that isn’t what we read.
But about midnight Paul and Silas were praying and singing hymns of praise to God, and the prisoners were listening to them; (Acts 16:25)
They were singing and praising God! Seriously?! If this happened to you, would you be able to do that? The only way they were able to praise God in the midst of terrible suffering was due to the fact that they knew God’s Word, they knew Him, and He gave them the grace they needed in that moment.
What is also important to notice in this passage is that the other prisoners were listening to them. While in the middle of a dark, disease-ridden prison these men were being used by God to spread His truth. They praised God in obedience and He used their sacrifice of praise to witness to the other prisoners.
As you continue to read this story, you find out that not only was God’s message of hope being heard by the other prisoners but also to the prison guard. Due to their obedience in praising God in every circumstance and in every place, this prison guard and his entire household were saved.
We never know how God will use our obedience for His glory but we know this is a promise of His. What an honor to be used by the mighty and magnificent God in His grand plan. What an honor it is to be used of God no matter where we find ourselves, no matter how humble our place in society, no matter the circumstances we find ourselves in. That is worthy of praising Him!
“Praise is a vital part of a life surrendered to God, and it gives credit where credit is due.” ~ Got Questions2
Scripture Writing Process for Praise the Lord
In June, we will looking at verses that talk about praising our Lord. These verses should teach us to praise our God in the manner He desires and should encourage us to spontaneous praise throughout our day.
Read the passage provided each day. If the passage is long, feel free to choose one or two verses to write out and dig deeper into.
Use these questions to help guide you in your daily study:
• What does this passage say?
• What does this passage mean?
• What does this passage tell me about God’s character?
• How does viewing God in this way change the way I view myself?
• How should I respond to this truth?
You do not have to answer every one of these questions every day. Rather, use them as a guide to really dig into what the passage says so that you can properly interpret and apply God’s Word to your life
Finish your time in the Word by writing out a prayer thanking God for this teaching and asking Him to help you apply it to your life today.
If you would like to join us as we study praise, you can download a free copy of the June Scripture Writing Plan by subscribing to the A Narrow-Minded Woman Newsletter using the form below. After you confirm your subscription, I will send you the link to the download library. There you may download this Scripture writing plan along with several other free downloads I offer.
We would also love to have you join us in the Scripture Writing Facebook group where we fellowship, challenge, and encourage one another as we grow in God’s Word.
- “A Call To Praise The Lord”. 2017. Ligonier Ministries. Accessed May 31. http://www.ligonier.org/learn/devotionals/call-praise-lord/.
- “Why Is Praising God Important?”. 2017. Gotquestions.Org. Accessed May 31. https://www.gotquestions.org/praising-God.html.