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What Does It Mean to Praise the Lord?

October 31, 2021

What does it mean to praise the Lord?

What Does It Mean to Praise the Lord?

By Brooke Holt

“Praise the LORD! Praise the LORD, O my soul! I will praise the LORD as long as I live; I will sing praises to my God while I have my being.” – Psalm 146:1–2

At some point in our lives, most of us will ask a difficult question: What is the purpose of my life? Entire books have sought to answer that question, but I think the Westminster Shorter Catechism provides the best and most concise answer: “Man’s chief end is to glorify God, and to enjoy him forever.” The follow-up question can be even shorter: How? How do we glorify God and enjoy him?

Thankfully, God’s word provides the answer in many places. One of the most inspiring examples is Psalm 146, which opens with a shout, with a command to praise! Notice that the psalmist uses the word “praise” four times in these two verses. He declares his praise of the Lord and urges others to do the same. Note what kind of praise he is extolling here: not a half-hearted praise offered on Sunday morning, but a whole-hearted praise of the Lord offered daily. As the psalmist lives and breathes, he purposes to praise the Lord.

In today’s fast-paced, multi-media culture, many people think that church is boring. Why spend time praising the Lord when you could be playing golf, building your business, or sleeping in on Sundays? I don’t mean to suggest that Sundays are the only days for praise and worship. However, the Lord has called us to set apart one day for worship and rest, one day in which our actions declare that he is worthy of our praise, trust, and allegiance.

Do you observe a Sabbath? If so, what does it look like for you? Do you simply go through the motions, or do you center your soul and intentions upon praising the Lord? Do you realize that in praising him, you are also invited to enjoy him? Far too often, we forget that God is the creator of joy. God-centered joy is a fruit of the Spirit (Gal. 5:22). God wants you to experience joy; in fact, the more you surrender to the indwelling Holy Spirit, the more of that joy you will know and express.

Pause for a moment and consider the things that you praise. Maybe it is your wife or husband, your child, or your friends at work. Maybe it is the gorgeous view from your back window or the glorious fall weather. It is good to enjoy these gifts—but we must remember that every good and perfect gift comes from the Father in heaven (James 1:17). We can trace the gifts back to the Giver. He alone deserves our praise.

Have you found your life’s purpose: to glorify God and enjoy him forever? Like the psalmist, how can you set your heart to praise the Lord? How can you make it a daily habit in your life? We would love to hear your thoughts in the comments.


Related Resource:

Draw Near

Let's face it, the Christian life is hard. Relationships take work. Christians forget. Sometimes it is tempting to go back to the days when God was not the center of our lives - to backslide. We are all faced with tremendous pressures to drift away from intimacy with Jesus and the community of the Church. However, the Lord invites us to pay attention, to move forward, to draw near, and to live lives of worship. Draw Near: Hebrews on Christian Worship is a small group Bible study on the Book of Hebrews intended to lead participants into a deeper intimacy with the living God in the context of New Testament worship. Draw nearer to God in authentic worship today!

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