Praise the Lord.
Praise God in his sanctuary;
praise him in his mighty heavens.
Praise him for his acts of power;
praise him for his surpassing greatness.
Praise him with the sounding of the trumpet,
praise him with the harp and lyre,
praise him with timbrel and dancing,
praise him with the strings and pipe,
praise him with the clash of cymbals,
praise him with resounding cymbals.
Let everything that has breath praise the Lord.
Praise the Lord.
The truth is, I never quite understood the role of praise in prayer. It always seemed to me to be a useless stating of the obvious. Yet, the prayers in the Bible frequently began with praise, it was the normal practice of David, Nehemiah, Paul and it is how Jesus taught us to pray. So, who am I to argue?
I decided to experiment and begin my prayers in praise even though I didn't really understand the purpose. What I learned is that when I started my prayers in praise, I shifted my focus from my problems towards God who is bigger than my problems. More importantly, I noticed a transformation in myself. Over time, as I praised God, I went from knowing who God was in my head, to knowing God in my heart.
As a result, I became less intimidated and more confident and I experienced more peace rather than anxiety, and more boldness rather than fear.
So, today’s spiritual practice is designed to help you to spend time praising God. Over time, you will experience praise to be as transforming as I have experienced.
ABC’s of Praise
The exercise is simple. Use the alphabet as a guide, thinking of words starting with each letter that describe characteristics of God. As you identify words, say, “God, I praise you as (or “for being”) _________________.
For example, using the letter A: “God, I praise you for being awesome.”
As Don Woods taught in a recent devotional, praising out loud and with hands lifted so your body is expressing your praise, can be even more powerful.