What Praise Does
There are many calls to praise in the Scriptures. Besides the fact that we are commanded to praise, what are some of the purposes in God’s desire for us to praise Him? Why does it just make good sense to praise Him? Today let’s just look at a couple major reasons praise is such a good idea.
Praise has many benefits for our own lives and our relationship with God. It sharpens our perspective in both upward and outward directions. First, praise opens our eyes to see who God is and what He’s capable of. Michael Youssef says, “Praise…builds up our faith so that when we make our petitions before God, we pray with expectancy and confidence that we will receive God’s best.” He also points out that his own experience showed, “The more we praised God, the stronger our belief grew that God was capable of all things. He is concerned about all the things that concern us and He is infinitely compassionate toward His children. Praise refocused our fear and frustration. It changed our thinking and our feelings. The more we praised God, the deeper the fellowship we experienced with Him.”
He further says this perspective is important because, “Our beliefs about God are directly related to how we honor Him in our praise…The content, intensity, frequency, and duration of our praise reveal what we truth believe about God…The degree to which you praise God and the things you praise God for indicate the degree of respect, reverence, trust, and awe that you have for God. Your praise reflects the degree to which you value God in your life and the extent to which you fear Him…When we do not fear God—when we do not have awe for God, respect for His authority, reverence for His presence, justifiable concern about the exactness of His justice—we make a grievous mistake. A healthy fear of God is one of the foremost motivators for a robust praise of God…When we have a proper sense of awe and fear of God, we will want to praise Him with all our being.”
Youssef lays out 5-R’s of Praise which could be useful to us as we seek to grow in our understanding and use of this form of prayer.
• Praise Reveals our true beliefs: “What we believe we express…believing and praising build on each other. The more deeply and strongly we believe, the greater and more expansive is our praise. The more we praise the Lord, the more we behold His glory and see His hand at work continually in our lives. The more we praise Him, the more our faith grows and the more fervently and strongly we believe.”
• Praise Refocuses our thinking and feelings:“What happens to people who only think about the problems and challenges of their physical lives? Very soon, the spiritual realm becomes misty, foggy and unreal…When you get your eyes off your immediate problem and put your focus on God, you redirect yourself, your mind, your emotions, your will—toward what God will do for you…”
• Praise is the Route to deep fellowship with God: Psalm 22:3 “God pitches His tent wherever His name is exalted. The image painted by the psalmist is that God sits down and takes delight in the praises offered to His name. He camps out with those who acknowledge, glorify, and desire His presence.”
• Praise establishes the Reign of God in our lives: “Wherever God dwells, God rules. He is our authority. He is sovereign over all, when we invite God to dwell in us, He reigns over our hearts…Praise is our foremost means of inviting God to take up His residence in us and to establish His presence, authority, and purpose in every aspect of our lives.”
• Praise Reinforces the truth of who God is and who we are: As we praise and see more fully who God is, we also see more clearly who we are. “There’s no mathematical equation to compare the infinity of God and the finiteness of man.”
Bringing ourselves back to the matter of the heart, Youssef reminds us, “The degree to which you see God as being not only able but eager to meet your needs is likely to determine the intensity of your praise.” As we look upward to Him and see Him in all His goodness, our praises will intensify out of our knowledge and relationship with Him.
Secondly, besides orienting our perspective vertically toward God, praise also changes our perspective on the world around us, and on ourselves. Ruth Myers says, “Praise (and we’re talking about praise rooted in God’s word, praise bent on God’s glory) can also help deliver you from secular values. It turns your attention to spiritual and eternal values; it directs you away from the pleasures and success mentality of our age, which resists all pain and discomfort and delay. And it keeps you from trying to make God answerable to you for what He does or permits.” She goes on to say, “Praise can free you from wasting your energies by speculating on just exactly how each circumstance in your life could be part of God’s plan.”
When we see how big, capable, awesome, loving, and for us God is, everything around us, even our biggest obstacles, seems smaller. When we begin to view things through the lens of His eternity, the temporal things begin to lose their importance. Youssef says, “Not only does praise put us in closer communion with God, it also reveals things about ourselves. Praise opens our eyes to spiritual reality, to love and power of God, to our need for Him.” Praise causes us to have new eyes on everything and everyone—godly eyes. We see other people differently, we see ourselves differently.
David Jeremiah describes the change in perspective that praise brings in this way:
Praise Benefits Us
• It enhances or appreciation and love for God. Speaking words of praise, even when not feeling them, does a work inside of us.
• It expands our vision—we look at life in terms of what God can do, not what we can do. It changes our perspective.
• It eclipses our fears—because we see how large and in control our good God is.
• It energizes our work.
• It refreshes our spirit—exchanges a spirit of heaviness for a garment of praise.
• It exhausts our enemy.
• It prepares our heart for heaven.
Each of these is a rich topic, deserving of our contemplation and application in our lives.
These renewed perspectives (upward and outward) are just two of the many benefits we receive from obeying God’s call to be a praising people, and turning our hearts in praise to Him. The question is, how well have we responded to this call? Are our hearts full of praise which overflows to our lips and lives? If not, why not? What are we doing to fan the flames of praise in our lives? When we do so, what is the fruit it produces? Ask the Lord to help you evaluate your prayer life, and then enhance it, so our joy in Him can be full.
by Sheri Cook, Director of Special Ministries
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