Tag Archives: praise

Stop and Think About the Bible

torahPsalm 111 

1   Praise the Lord!
I will give thanks to the Lord with my whole heart,
in the company of the upright, in the congregation.
    Great are the works of the Lord,
studied by all who delight in them.
    Full of splendor and majesty is his work,
and his righteousness endures forever. 

I remember a moment when my emotions threatened me, and I had spent a lifetime at their mercy. Then I remembered that Jesus promised to go with me everywhere. I prayed, “Lord Jesus, you took all my sins on the cross. Can you please take this mindless anger, too?” He did. That was a great work. When was the last time something difficult and dark reminded you how great God’s work is?

    He has caused his wondrous works to be remembered;
the Lord is gracious and merciful.

How did the Bible come to us? Why did it survive centuries, even millennia, of enemies and opportunity to be lost? When a secular thinker picks at the Bible or tries to threaten it with some recently discovered artifact, how do you stand firm for its value?

In countries where Christians are persecuted by both government and the culture, Christians cling to the Bible, or any part of the Bible. Why do they feel that way about this book?

    He provides food for those who fear him;
he remembers his covenant forever.
    He has shown his people the power of his works,
in giving them the inheritance of the nations. 

Contemporary political rhetoric accuses “rich” people of being the reason that “poor” people don’t have everything they need. This rhetoric entices people to turn to the government for rectification of wrongs and for provision of all their needs. Where does the Bible tell people to turn? Political leaders of every stripe come and go with the winds of time. Where can people find unchanging truth in someone who never forgets or takes back his promises?

The works of his hands are faithful and just;
all his precepts are trustworthy;
    they are established forever and ever,
to be performed with faithfulness and uprightness.
    He sent redemption to his people;
he has commanded his covenant forever.  

Social activism and political campaigns always agitate for evolved concepts. Activists look at history and declare that things that were determined to be just in the past are no longer just. Morality and justice must change with the times. What does God say?

Everyone bears a burden knowing that it is true that people do not love one another perfectly. What is God’s answer to that burden? How do the targets of injustice and persecution ever make peace with their past? What about the perpetrators?

10    The fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom;
all those who practice it have a good understanding.
His praise endures forever!

The world is confusing and even frightening. How can anyone ever make his way forward with confidence and courage?


By Katherine Harms, author of Oceans of Love available for Kindle at Amazon.com.

Image: Torah Scroll
Source: http://library.duke.edu/exhibits/hebrewbible/torah.html
License: Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-Share Alike 3.0 United States License.


A Verse for Meditation

Torah ScrollO LORD, you are my God; I will exalt you; I will praise your name, for you have done wonderful things, plans formed of old, faithful and sure. Isaiah 25:1 ESV

  • Do you praise God every morning before you ask God for help? If not, can you stop right now and praise him? Borrow Isaiah’s words if necessary.
  • What wonderful things has God done in your life this week?
  • How do you know that God makes plans and brings them to fruition? What has God done in your life that demonstrates his plans for you that bless you and fulfill your highest aspirations?
  • If someone who doubts God’s existence or his authority had told Isaiah that his faith was worthless, how would Isaiah answer? How will you answer when someone says the same thing to you?

A Verse for Meditation

Torah ScrollLet them praise the name of the LORD, for his name alone is exalted; his majesty is above earth and heaven.  Psalm 148:13 ESV

This psalm is among the five intense praise psalms at the end of the book. Verses 2-12 name many, many elements of creation that are called upon to praise the Lord.

  • What is the reason for creation to praise the Lord?
  • What is different about God’s name that earns it the right to be praised?
  • Write your own statement of praise for God. Don’t ask for anything. Don’t even give thanks for anything. Just brag on God.
  • What in all creation most inspires you to praise God?

A Prayer That Asks For Nothing

Think about the last time you prayed. How much of your time was spent praising God, worshiping him, bowing in awe at his majesty and power? It isn’t a very natural way to behave.

We human beings prefer to talk about ourselves. I did this. I did that. I think this. I think that. We truly believe that when we talk with someone, that person is eager to hear what we are about. In fact, the most likely truth is that the person listening is simply watching for an opportunity to interrupt and tell his own story.

Worship isn’t natural.

Students of humanity often say that worship is natural, because it is quite natural for humans to recognize spiritual beings and to interact with them. This behavior, however, is not necessarily worship. It may simply be the same manipulative fawning we are accustomed to see in used car salesmen. Many animist religions are largely consumed with pleasing the gods and doing what will influence the gods to do things for people. In fact, in Mexico, Laos and Vietnam, Christians are often harassed or even driven out of their homes, because they refuse to do the things that are considered necessary to placate local gods and assure prosperity for the community.

This is not worship. This is exploitation of a relationship. When someone does it to me, I don’t like it. When people turn from animism to Christianity and try to relate to God in that way, he doesn’t like it, either.

Some of the most magnificent images in the Bible are those that portray worship as it occurs in heaven. God is the unseen being who resides in blinding brilliance surrounding by myriads and myriads of angels and worshipers. They sing. They pray. They praise God.

Psalm 66 gives all of us words that express praise and adoration that is selfless and focused on God. When Jesus said that in order to follow him we must deny self, this is what he was talking about – a frame of mind that is focused exclusively on God.

Read Psalm 66 and pray it as your own words. Remember that this is from the prayerbook of Jesus. When Jesus prayed this prayer, he was, in fact, sinless. When we pray this prayer, we are covered by the righteousness of Christ on the cross. Pray a prayer that asks for nothing, and give your whole self to the Lord.

Psalm 66

For the director of music. A song. A psalm.

1     Shout with joy to God, all the earth!
2     Sing the glory of his name;
make his praise glorious!
3     Say to God, “How awesome are your deeds!
So great is your power
that your enemies cringe before you.
4     All the earth bows down to you;
they sing praise to you,
they sing praise to your name.”        Selah

5     Come and see what God has done,
how awesome his works in man’s behalf!
6     He turned the sea into dry land,
they passed through the waters on foot—
come, let us rejoice in him.
7     He rules forever by his power,
his eyes watch the nations—
let not the rebellious rise up against him.     Selah

8     Praise our God, O peoples,
let the sound of his praise be heard;
9     he has preserved our lives
and kept our feet from slipping.
10    For you, O God, tested us;
you refined us like silver.
11    You brought us into prison
and laid burdens on our backs.
12    You let men ride over our heads;
we went through fire and water,
but you brought us to a place of abundance.
13    I will come to your temple with burnt offerings
and fulfill my vows to you—
14    vows my lips promised and my mouth spoke
when I was in trouble.
15    I will sacrifice fat animals to you
and an offering of rams;
I will offer bulls and goats.  Selah

16    Come and listen, all you who fear God;
let me tell you what he has done for me.
17    I cried out to him with my mouth;
his praise was on my tongue.
18    If I had cherished sin in my heart,
the Lord would not have listened;
19    but God has surely listened
and heard my voice in prayer.
20    Praise be to God,
who has not rejected my prayer
or withheld his love from me!

Psalm 66, ESV

How does it feel to praise God and ask nothing in return?

A Hymn For Meditation

hymnalFor the Beauty of the Earth

For the beauty of the earth,
for the glory of the skies,
for the love which from our birth
over and around us lies;
Lord of all, to thee we raise
this our hymn of grateful praise.

 For the beauty of each hour
of the day and of the night,
hill and vale, and tree and flower,
sun and moon, and stars of light;
Lord of all, to thee we raise
this our hymn of grateful praise.

 For the joy of ear and eye,
for the heart and mind’s delight,
for the mystic harmony,
linking sense to sound and sight;
Lord of all, to thee we raise
this our hymn of grateful praise. 

For the joy of human love,
brother, sister, parent, child,
friends on earth and friends above,
for all gentle thoughts and mild;
Lord of all, to thee we raise
this our hymn of grateful praise. 

For thy church, that evermore
lifteth holy hands above,
offering up on every shore
her pure sacrifice of love;
Lord of all, to thee we raise
this our hymn of grateful praise. 

For thyself, best Gift Divine,
to the world so freely given,
for that great, great love of thine,
peace on earth, and joy in heaven:
Lord of all, to thee we raise
this our hymn of grateful praise.

By Folliott S. Pierpoint

  • When was the last time you spoke a whole sentence in prayer that was nothing but praise? This hymn is exclusively a prayer of praise. Count all the things the hymnwriter found praiseworthy.
  • What do the four living creatures do beside the throne of God? Revelation 4:6b-8
  • What do the twenty-four elders do when the living creatures praise God? Revelation 4:11 Notice the similarity of thought in the song of the elders and the hymn for today.
  • What do the living creatures and the elders do when the Lamb takes the scroll from God? Revelation 5:9-10 What has the Lamb done that is praiseworthy?
  • Many frightful scenes are described in Revelation 6-14. For what do the victorious ones praise God in Revelation 15? Revelation 15:3-4
  • When the battles are over and victory has been declared, the elders and the creatures sing again. What do they say? Revelation 19:4-8
  • Pray at least five sentences in a row without asking God for anything. Try praying that prayer several times through the day. What impact does it have on your day?