Monday, February 12, 2018

Praise in Prayer

Matthew 6:9 After this manner therefore pray ye:
Our Father which art in heaven, Hallowed be thy name.

Luke 11:2 And he said unto them, When ye pray, say,
Our Father which art in heaven, Hallowed be thy name.
Thy kingdom come. Thy will be done, as in heaven, so in earth.

Have you ever stopped to think about how much time you spend in prayer, just praising God? How often do you take the time, before praying about anything else, to praise and worship God,
the creator of the universe, the Saviour of your soul?

It is often thought that confession should come first as sin makes our prayers ineffective. Yes, sin does rob prayer of its power, but were it not for our great, merciful and loving God, our confession would mean very little.

When the disciples asked the Lord Jesus to teach them to pray,
the first thing he said was
When ye pray, say,
Our Father which art in heaven, Hallowed be thy name.”

The Greek word for hallowed is hagiazo which means
“to revere or to sanctify”, “to be set apart”, “sacred, holy”.
So we are to praise God's name in our prayers
because He is sacred, holy, set apart.
His name is worthy. He is worthy.

The Lord Jesus was stressing to His disciples the importance of spending time
praising God and worshipping Him, before anything else.

When we spend time praising God, we take the focus off ourselves and place it on Him. In prayer, God is pleased when we first draw attention to Him, before drawing attention to ourselves.
Praising God at the beginning of our prayers
puts God in His rightful position right from the start.
When we praise God we declare
His sovereignty and we recognise
His awesome power and His
divine nature.

As one author so aptly puts it, “Here is one of the greatest values of praise; it decentralizes self . The worship and praise of God demands a shift of center from self to God. One cannot praise God without relinquishing occupation with self. Praise produces forgetfulness of self - and forgetfulness of self is health.”

When we take time to praise God first in our prayers,
we begin to see God for who He really is,
and it is to this all-powerful God that we will be
presenting our petitions. It changes our focus.

We read in the Bible how all creation sings God's praises.
I often think that if God's soulless creation sings His praises, then why is it that we, as humans and created beings, made in God's own image, the very ones He came down to this earth for die for, are so slow to praise?

Revelation 5:13 And every creature which is in heaven, and on the earth, and under the earth, and such as are in the sea, and all that are in them, heard I saying, Blessing, and honour, and glory, and power, be unto him that sitteth upon the throne, and unto the Lamb for ever and ever.

Isaiah 55:12 For ye shall go out with joy, and be led forth with peace: the mountains and the hills shall break forth before you into singing, and all the trees of the field shall clap their hands.

I find it amazing that not only the creatures on and under the earth praise God, but also the mountains and the hills and the trees!

In praising God in our prayers, we are setting aside
time to worship at Jesus' feet.
We are acknowledging that God is the giver of all things
and that He is worthy of honour.

Praise is the vocal adoration of God.
Adoration is the act of rendering divine honour, esteem, and love.”

Adoration is intense admiration culminating in reverence
and worship, together with the outward acts and
attitudes which accompany such reverence”

The Bible tells us that those who offer praise, glorify Him.

Psalms 50:23b Whoso offereth praise glorifieth me:

We are told to praise God in many of the Psalms.

Psalms 150:1 Praise ye the LORD. Praise God in his sanctuary:
praise him in the firmament of his power.
Psalms 150:2 Praise him for his mighty acts: praise him according to his excellent greatness. Psalms 150:6 Let every thing that hath breath praise the LORD. Praise ye the LORD.

David knew something about trials and hardships
but he also knew a whole lot about praise and worship.
He knew exactly who deserved honour and who it was that
was his deliverer. He knew that God and God alone
was worthy of worship, for God is holy.

Psalms 99:3 Let them praise thy great and terrible name; for it is holy.
Psalms 99:5 Exalt ye the LORD our God,
and worship at his footstool; for he is holy.
Psalms 99:9 Exalt the LORD our God, and worship at
his holy hill; for the LORD our God is holy.

You don't have to read very far in the Bible to see the importance
of praising God. There are countless verses on the subject and I don't
believe it's an accident that they're there.

We know that God is holy and worthy of our worship,
but putting it into practice in our prayers is not always easy.
We get so caught up with wanting to make sure we
remember all the requests we have and the very
'important' petitions, that we forget to take time to praise God first.

Just take a look at your prayer list if you don't believe me.
I'm guilty of this too. How often do we actually, physically list
items of praise? I'm beginning to think it might be a good idea
to take the time to sit and write down a list of God's names that we read
in the Bible, to be a reminder of who He is and what to praise Him for.

Isaiah 9:6

For unto us a child is born, unto us a son is given: and the government shall be upon his shoulder: and his name shall be called Wonderful, Counsellor, The mighty God,
The everlasting Father, The Prince of Peace.

We should be continually praising Him for His name,
for His righteousness, for His creation, and for His great sacrifice
in giving His life for us.

Praising God is not just something we do when we sing
songs of worship on a Sunday morning.
It should be something we do on a daily basis,
in our prayers, as we go about our day,
as we talk to others.

Psalm 150:6
Let everything that hath breath
praise the Lord.
Praise ye the Lord.