“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.
Put not your trust in princes, in a son of man, in whom there is no salvation.
When his breath departs he returns to the earth; on that very day his plans perish.
Blessed is he whose help is the God of Jacob, whose hope is in the Lord his God,
Who made heaven and earth, the sea, and all that is in them, who keeps faith forever;
Who executes justice for the oppressed, who gives food to the hungry. The Lord sets the prisoners free;
The Lord opens the eyes of the blind. The Lord lifts up those who are bowed down; the Lord loves the righteous.
The Lord watches over the sojourners; he upholds the widow and the fatherless, but the way of the wicked he brings to ruin.
The Lord will reign forever, your God, O Zion, to all generations. Praise the Lord!
Praise the Lord! For it is good to sing praises to our God; for it is pleasant and a song of praise is fitting.
The Lord builds up Jerusalem; he gathers the outcasts of Israel.
He heals the brokenhearted and binds up their wounds.
He determines the number of the stars; he gives to all of them their names.
Great is our Lord, and abundant in power; his understanding is beyond measure.
Praise the Lord! Praise God in his sanctuary; praise him in his mighty heavens!
Praise him for his mighty deeds; praise him according to his excellent greatness!
Praise him with trumpet sound; praise him with lute and harp!
Praise him with tambourine and dance; praise him with strings and pipe!
Praise him with sounding cymbals; praise him with loud clashing cymbals!
Let everything that has breath praise the Lord! Praise the Lord!
I just want to say a few words about praise. We all know that the
Bible has a lot to say about worship. The Psalms perhaps more than any
other book in the Bible shape our worship individually and also
corporately. I think you could say the Psalms are shaped by two great
verbal activities: lament and praise. A lot of the Psalms are called
Psalms of lament. They have a lot of grief, sorrow, pain. That is why
they are called Psalms of lament. We should not think that is all the
Christian life is. It simply recognizes that we live in a sin-cursed
world, a broken world. We ourselves are bruised and broken because of
sin. This side of Glory, we will always be mourning and
grieving—lamenting. This will be characteristic of us right until we go
to the grave. “Blessed are they that mourn,” says Jesus (Matthew 5:4).
There is something else that should mark out the Christian or the
child of God. Our prayer life and our lives in general should be marked
by praise. Is there anything more important than praise? God desires
us to praise Him; He commands us to praise Him; you could even say He
delights in our praise. But to praise Him, you have to know Him. That
is clear from some of the Psalms, including the ones we have already
read. “Great is the Lord, greatly to be praised.” Psalm 48:1 You must
understand how great he is, “greatly to be praised.” “Praise the Lord
for (He) is good…” Psalm 147:1 and “Praise the Lord, bless Him for You
are great.” Praise 104:1
Ordinarily, the greater the knowledge of God, the greater our praise
should be. John Newton had it right when he said, “When I see Thee as
Thou art, I’ll praise Thee as I ought.” Isn’t that nice? That is why
it is a good idea from time to time to read a book that deals with
theology proper. In other words, the focus is exclusively on God.
Three good books I would recommend: R.C. Sproul on the holiness of God;
John MacArthur on the love of God; A.W. Pink on the sovereignty of God.
We should praise God for Who He is. We have to be honest. It is far
easier to petition God than to praise God. Why is that?
Spurgeon, well known for his preaching, was also well known for his
praying. Here is an excerpt from one of his prayers, “Our Father,
blessed be Thy name forever and ever. Oh that we praise Thee more. We
must confess we never bless Thee as we ought, and our life is far too
full of murmuring. For at the best, we are too full of self-seeking.
For even in prayer there is little of adoring, praising, magnifying, and
singing the high praises of Jesus. Oh Lord, teach us the art of prayer
and praise. Let our souls take fire, and like a censer full of
frankincense may our whole nature send forth a delicious perfume of
prayerful gratitude unto the ever Blessed One, Father, Son, and Holy
We should be continually praising our God. We do find it harder than
to praise God than to ask God for things. Why is that? Our
selfishness, primarily. But we need to cultivate a habit and attitude