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. // Psalm 150:1-2
The word “praise” is mentioned over 300 times in the Bible. I’ve often wondered throughout my days and years as a Christian, what the real purpose and necessity of praise was. It seems so difficult to just do something because God commanded it. What does it really do for the Christian anyway? Isn’t it just pumping up God’s ego? He’s already all-powerful and all-knowing...and he just wants us to say it?
I can tell you this, I completely misunderstood “praise” and its role in our Christian journey. It’s now my understanding that praise is that seemingly troublesome or tedious exercise that is acknowledging God and his abilities for the purpose of giving us a more confident walk of faith.
Praise is necessary because the typical day finds us bombarded by thoughts that chip away at our confidence, our peace of mind, our willingness to exist for God’s purposes. These thoughts look like this: “this is so overwhelming”, “today is ruined,” “this is no good,” “if this happened to me now, what’s it going to be like in the future?” They are, for me, often loaded questions, imposing doubt or a trickle of unbelief. And that trickle of unbelief starts to erode, like acid or like rust, the sturdy structure on which we are dependent.
Praise, then, becomes the antidote to falling apart, to falling into worry, to losing your peace of mind, your confidence in the future that God has prepared for us. Praise pulls you back to how things really are.
So let’s try this out.
How to praise:
Pick an attribute of God.
Examine that attribute.
Tell God how amazed you are at what you learned.
1. Pick an attribute of God.
I like the attribute of power. The Bible says that God is all-powerful (“omnipotent,” if you want to use your Latin). Maybe you would rather focus on his design capabilities or on his intelligence, or his love. Just pick one.
2. Examine that attribute.
I like to examine the attribute by looking at something tangible that reflects his ability. So, for “all-powerful,” I picked the sun. What does it take for God to fire up the sun on a daily basis in order to heat the earth?
The sun is very large compared to the earth and was created by God’s power. How big is it? Its diameter is 100 times as big as the earth’s. It is a ball of gas made up of 70-90% hydrogen and the remainder is mostly helium. The surface temperature of the sun is 10,000°F. At the center of the sun is the core and its temperature is 22,500,000°F. Consider that a hot day is around 90 - 100° in Minnesota and water boils at 212°F; that’s pretty hot. How does God produce that kind of heat?
Through a complicated series of steps, the hydrogen atoms fuse together to form a heavier element--helium. Along the way, some of the nuclear energy stored in those atoms is released. Every second of every day, the sun converts 700,000,000 tons of hydrogen into 695,000,000 tons of helium. The missing 5,000,000 tons, which is the equivalent weight of 15 Empire State buildings, is converted into energy. And that’s enough energy to power a star and heat the earth 93 million miles away. That is equivalent to detonating 400,000,000,000 one megaton nuclear bombs every single second. That’s crazy power!
3. Tell God.
Now we can tell God what we learned.
Prayer: God, I’m amazed at what you are able to do in order to give heat and light to our world. And you do it without burning up the surface of the earth. All that power exploding every second so that our earth has enough energy to exist and keep life going. You are amazing! Help me to find peace in knowing that you have the power to daily provide heat and light to planet earth. Give my anxious heart more peace. You are awesome and you are powerful. And I’m thankful that you are loving also. In Jesus’ name, Amen.
Blessings to you as you praise God.