Why do we praise God? Is it because he needs it? Does he need our praise, the praise of human beings that he created? Is it somehow meant to boost his ego or increase his confidence? Hardly! If we decide not to praise him, he’ll still be praised. The heavenly beings are constantly praising him. (Revelations 4:8) And when the religious leaders told Jesus to hush the praising crowds, he said: “If they kept quiet, the stones along the road would burst into cheers.” (Luke 19:40)
So why do we praise him? I can think of a couple of reasons. First of all, when we’ve accepted Christ as our Savior and the Holy Spirit moves in, we become humbly aware of how amazing God is, and our praise is the natural response. Also – I think in making praise a regular part of our worship and time with God, we remind ourselves who God is.
When should we praise him? Always! How should we praise him? In any way we can!
An obvious opportunity to praise God is collectively in worship at church. This can be an amazing experience if you realize that as you are lifting your voice to God and are surrounded by Christian brothers and sisters also lifting their voice to God, you are joining a chorus being sung by the angels in heaven. And the sounds of these praises are no doubt “music to God’s ears”.
But we can praise God wherever we are, even if it’s just us. A great way to get the praise going is to listen to Christian music. Some prefer hymns that have been sung for generations. Others enjoy praise songs of today. Personally, I enjoy a combination of both. And if we want to dance and clap and have fun while we’re lifting our voice up to God – he won’t mind! After all, King David danced before the Lord “with all his might”. (2 Samuel 6:14)
Praising doesn’t have to be singing. Another great way to get the praise going is to read the Psalms. There are 150 of them, and many of them are whole chapters of praising God for who he is and what he’s done. Praising God is exclaiming his greatness, whether in song or not.
O Lord, our Lord, your majestic name fills the earth! Your glory is higher than the heavens. When I look at the night sky and see the work of your fingers – the moon and the stars you set in place – what are mere mortals that you should think about them, human beings that you should care for them? Yet you made them only a little lower than God and crowned them with glory and honor. You gave them charge with what you made, putting all things under their authority. O Lord, our Lord, your majestic name fills the earth. Psalm 8
Come, everyone! Clap your hands! Shout to God with joyful praise! For the Lord Most High is awesome. He is the great King of all the earth. Psalm 47
Let all that I am praise the Lord; with my whole heart, I will praise his holy name. Let all that I am praise the Lord; may I never forget the good things he does for me. Psalm 103
And hopefully once we get inspired, we will find words of praise of our own to offer up to God to praise him for who he is and what he’s done in our life. And as we acknowledge how amazing he is, we’ll be more tuned into his greatness – and we’ll find ourselves praising him all the more!