Praise And Worship
By Rev. James W. Hanson, Ph.D.
Presented by Saint Luke Evangelical School Of Biblical Studies
http://ficotw.org/school.html

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 tambourine and dancing, praise him with the strings and flute, praise him with the clash of cymbals, praise him with resounding cymbals. Let everything that has breath praise the Lord. Praise the Lord.
Psalm 150 (NIV)

The word praise is used 313 times in the Old Testament and 25 times in the New Testament, and the word worship is used 63 times in the Old Testament and 44 times in the New Testament. The church today does not praise and worship enough and individual believers are not taught or encouraged to use praise during their own devotions. Our prayer life is geared more to petitions, especially when we are in trouble, than to worship and praise for all the blessings we receive. The more reading I do, especially on prayer, the more emphasis I find being put on praise and worship in our daily time with God. Also, in reading and studying the Psalms, I see that praise was a dominant part of the worship of Israel. King David was one to whom praise was a natural part of his everyday worship of God.

According to Webster, Praise "is to express approval of or to glorify a divinity or a saint, especially in song". Worship "is an expression of reverence, respect or admiration to a divine being". Because we owe each breath we take to the mercy and grace of God, He should be continually praised and worshipped as we go about our daily lives. We glorify Him for the ideas He expresses through our minds, for the ability to reason and think as we go through our daily lives. He upholds us in our time of trouble, as He also did for David. Our entire being is because of God - Father, Son, and Holy Spirit - and we cannot begin to praise and worship God enough. We need to begin a praise and worship time in our own devotional time as well as in our corporate worship.

We can see in Genesis that we were created to have fellowship with God.

Then the man and his wife heard the sound of the Lord God as he was walking in the garden in the cool of the day, and they hid from the Lord God among the trees of the garden. But the Lord God called to the man, "Where are you?"
Genesis 3:8 (NIV)

God wants our fellowship, He wants us to talk with Him, ask of Him, enjoy His peace, and praise and worship Him. We can never fulfull this, as it was meant to be, until we spend eternity in praise and worship. In Revelation 4:8, we see the four living creatures that continually praise God saying "Holy, holy, holy is the Lord God Almighty, who was, and is, and is to come". In chapter 7, verse 11 we read, "All the angels were standing around the throne and around the elders and the four living creatures. They fell down on their faces before the throne and worshipped God, saying: Amen! Praise and glory and wisdom and thanks and honor and power and strength be to our God for ever and ever. Amen!"

We have added a praise ending to the Lord's prayer which many of us pray daily or weekly. "For Thine is the kingdom and the power and the glory forever and ever. Amen." Another version is "The kingdom, the power and the glory are yours now and forever. Amen". We have added some praise to our worship services by our hymns and praise choruses. Many churches, however, do not allow a real praise time or are not sure how to develop one. Today, many independent churches are including a praise and worship time as a major part of their services.

There are many ways we can praise and worship. According to Psalm 150, we can use trumpets, harps, lyres (stringed musical instruments), tambourines, dance and cymbals. Other psalms refer to singing, organs, and raising our hands. Praying the Psalms and personalizing them is a good way to start. We can sing, dance, or just meditate on the goodness of God. When I look out and see the creation of God I want to praise him for the beauty and splendor he created for us. God has shared this with us and we can still talk to Him about everything in our lives. The more we realize His working in our lives, the more we want to praise and worship Him. The how, where, and in what position is not really important, only that God wants to inhabit our praise. Morning? Evening? As we go through our busy day and see His goodness all around us? We don't need to shout, but just a "Praise God" said to ourselves is all that is needed. In our own praise time or our public worship we can become more vocal, but in our daily activities just to take notice of His goodness and love to us is what He desires. In Psalm 22:3 we read, "But thou art holy, O thou that inhabitest the praises of Israel". (KJV) If God inhabited the praise of Israel, how much more does he inhabit our praise today? God not only desires our praise and worhip, but expects it after all He has done for us.

Some people use a prayer and praise journal where they prefer to write their love letters to God. There are prayer and praise groups that meet in homes or at church on a night when there are no scheduled services. Charismatics are found in almost every denomination and they may also get together in large nondenominational services of praise, music, and worship. In some churches, where the baptism of the Holy Spirit is received, there is much praying and singing in the Spirit. There are many outdoor concerts where praise is part of the service. Many folk mass or other services allow you to bring your own instrument and play along. Many years ago I was in a church where an older member of the band played the saw. It was beautiful and sounded like a violin, and this talent was used to praise and worship God.

I have written as much to myself as to others. My recent studies of the Psalms have shown me wonderful praises that I can read and use to praise God. Many of our churches read a psalm every Sunday, and there are charts that have an appointed Psalm for each day of the year. Praying and praising with the psalms has given me ways that I can continue to praise and worship throughout the day. "Let everything that has breath praise the Lord."

copyright 2000 Rev. James W. Hanson, Ph.D.
Used by permission