I have been thinking a great deal about praise lately. Michael and Cindy Benefield’s wedding theme was “Praise!” I structured their ceremony around Psalm 145.
I think praise can improve our prayer lives.
Scripture reveals how God uses praise to fight spiritual battles. We know that praise declares God’s goodness to the next generation. Praise lifts our spirits by raising our thoughts above our circumstances. Our hearts are filled with joy when we offer praise. Praise greatly honors God.
How can praise improve our prayer lives? Praise improves our prayer lives by slowing us down and increasing our understanding of God. Look at the words of David in Psalm 145:2:
Every day I will bless You,
And I will praise Your name forever and ever.
David says that he will praise God on a daily basis. That type of commitment takes discipline. It also takes curiosity unless you want to go down a path that leads to meaningless repetition (repeating the same words mindlessly). There is no honoring God in meaningless repetition. Praising God on a daily basis means being intentional to get to know Him.
David could make that commitment because he was disciplined to reflect on God’s goodness. David was willing to meditate on the splendor of our Lord’s majesty.
When a person begins to think about God’s character and conduct, she begins to see God in a new light. Instead of stating facts about God, she begins to understand God. Instead of checking off great attributes, she begins to identify God’s greatness in tangible ways.
When a person gets to know God, he gains a fresh understanding of God’s grace. Our thoughts are elevated whenever we consider Jesus in His majesty. Our hearts are warmed when we realize the extent of His love. Our minds are calmed when we experience the power of His presence.
Later in his praise, David identifies specific qualities of God. Perhaps he recognized them in Scripture. Perhaps he realized them through life experience. David wrote in vss. 8-9:
The LORD is gracious and merciful;
Slow to anger and great in lovingkindness.
The LORD is good to all,
And His mercies are over all His works.
I encourage you to incorporate more praise in prayer. I challenge you to be intentional on a daily basis to recognize God’s characteristics through Scripture and through His actions. You can be disciplined about it. Or you could simply be as curious getting to know God as a newlywed getting to know his or her spouse.
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