Friday, May 16, 2014

Praise Him, Praise Him

My prayer grounded to a halt.  I sound so silly, I thought. God, you are great; you are awesome; you are loving. I say the same things every day, and it isn't enough.  I can't wait to go to heaven, where I can praise God better.  Maybe I should just sing my praises because simple words seem so inadequate.  Does God get tired of hearing the same things over and over?  It isn't as if He needs to hear what he has done or what his character traits are day after day.
Providentially, this little conversation in my head happened at about the same time that we were looking at prayer here at Maidservants.  As it turns out, when Biblical men and women praised God, they did recite what he had done and what his character traits are.  The words are eerily similar across the years and miles.   

Prayers of praise often began by recounting to God what he has done creatively.  

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)

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).

How blessed is he whose help is the God of Jacob,
Whose hope is in the Lord his God,
Who made heaven and earth,
The sea and all that is in them;
Who keeps faith forever; (Psalm 146:5-6). 

BdnaWith our somewhat greater knowledge of creation, our praise may look a little different.  I've praised God for creating the laws of science, for the intricacies of DNA, and the complexity of biological systems.  The more we know about the world He created, the more in awe we should be of his creative majesty.

Prayers in the Bible also praised God for the work he has done in the lives of his people.  The longest recorded prayer in the Bible is found in Nehemiah 9.  Beginning in verse seven, the Levites recount the history of God's interactions with the Israelites, from Abraham through the exile, in the form of a public prayer.

More personally, when Solomon famously asked for wisdom, he began by remembering how God had blessed both him and his father David. 

Then Solomon said, "You have shown great lovingkindness to Your servant David my father, according as he walked before You in truth and righteousness and uprightness of heart toward You; and You have reserved for him this great lovingkindness, that You have given him a son to sit on his throne, as it is this day. (1 Kings 3:6).
Today, we can praise God in the same way.  We can recount the blessings he's given us, from salvation through the sacrifice of his Son, to material blessings, to the more personal spiritual work he has done in our lives.

In addition to praising God for what he has done, men and women in the Bible also praised God for who He is.  David was especially good at this, both in the Psalms and in corporate prayers.

So David blessed the LORD in the sight of all the assembly; and David said, "Blessed are You, O LORD God of Israel our father, forever and ever. 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 29:10-13).
While David here focused on the power and majesty of God, his son Solomon and many after him praised God by remembering his mercy.
He said, "O LORD, the God of Israel, there is no God like You in heaven above or on earth beneath , keeping covenant and showing lovingkindness to Your servants who walk before You with all their heart, who have kept with Your servant, my father David, that which You have promised him; indeed, You have spoken with Your mouth and have fulfilled it with Your hand as it is this day" (1 Kings 8:23-24)

I said, "I beseech You, O LORD God of heaven, the great and awesome God, who preserves the covenant and lovingkindness for those who love Him and keep His commandments" (Nehemiah 1:5).
How many character traits does God have?  I don't think I'd be able to list them all here, even if I could think of all of them off the top of my head.  If I praised God for one of his character traits every day, I'm sure I could have over a month's worth of prayers that would never get stale.

Since I've read these and many other "praise prayers" in the Bible, my prayer life has been richer.  For one thing, I don't worry that God is tired of hearing the same prayers.  If he didn't get tired of them between Solomon and Nehemiah, he surely won't tire of them in my lifetime.  I've also found so many more ways to praise him.  Between God's character, his creation, and the work he has done, I can never run out of ways to glorify him. This little post has only scratched the surface of the many ways God deserves our adoration.  I encourage you to find more!  


Scripture taken from the NEW AMERICAN STANDARD BIBLE(R), Copyright(c) 1960, 1962, 1963, 1968, 1971, 1972, 1973, 1975, 1977, 1995 by The Lockman Foundation. Used by permission

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