Learning to Praise
The Psalms reveal that praise and worship should fill our prayers, that adoration and thanksgiving should be their tone and theme.
Whenever we draw near to God, our holy instinct and sanctified habit ought to be offering up a ceaseless and heartfelt doxology. As Psalm 147 says, “It is good to sing praises to our God; for it is pleasant, and a song of praise is fitting” (v. 1).
Praise is good, but praise isn’t easy. We have a tendency to be self-absorbed and to revert to habitual forms of praying and praising, where we use the same words again and again.
This means that we need at least a few methods to meaningfully incorporate worship into our prayers.
First, we can make use of the Psalms when we pray. Quickly our own words of praise run dry, so we should use the inspired words of the Psalms for our doxologies to the Father, Son and Holy Spirit.
Have the Psalms open and pray the Psalms, echoing their words even as Jesus did in his perfect prayer.
Second, we should have open eyes for what the Triune God has done and is doing, every day of our lives. Take note of his many good gifts—write them down if necessary—and then bring them before him in thanksgiving and praise.
Recalling God’s faithfulness strengthens our prayers, for we see that He has never let us down and never ignored our cries.
Third, combine prayer with any Scripture that you have recently read. Many believers read a portion of the Bible just before they pray, at mealtimes or at bedtime. This is a commendable practice, and we should let this Bible reading give shape to our praise.
Reflect for a moment on what God has revealed about himself in his Word, and then take time to glorify him for this perfection in your prayer.
It is good to praise God, it is pleasant, and it is fitting!