Recently, our church had a guest speaker whose main topic for the day was prayer. He taught us many different things, and then invited us to join him each week for a time of prayer.
Every Monday morning, a group gathers on the phone to pray together. It’s a neat time.
The first five minutes of our 15-minute prayer time is to be devoted to praising God. Mark emphasizes that this is to be a time of praise, not a time of thanksgiving. I don’t know if you have ever thought about it that way, but I’m going to tell you something: That’s not an easy thing to do.
To praise God is simply to tell him how good he is, to speak of his attributes, and to honor him for who he is.
Now, thanking God is a good thing. We thank him for taking care of us, for protecting us, for loving us and for saving us. But you will notice a pattern there. When we thank God, it is always for something he has done for us.
To praise God is simply to focus on him. It is to speak of the wonders of who he is without any reference to ourselves. And again, I admit to you that this is not an easy thing. Inevitably, we begin to think of the things that the Lord has done for us and want to thank him. Again, it is good to give thanks to the Lord.
But there is also the need simply to praise him for who he is. Consider with me Psalm 150. It begins, “Praise the Lord! Praise God in his sanctuary; praise him in his mighty heavens.” The final part reads, “Let everything that has breath praise the Lord! Praise the Lord!”
The psalmist closed his book with this brief song, offering praise to the One who deserves it above all else. It is a fitting end to this great book.
I would never reprimand you for thanking God. But can I challenge you to spend a few moments praising him for who he is during your next prayer time? Concentrating on doing this has been a good experience for me; it has changed my perspective. I am grateful for the lesson and want you to have it, too.
“Praise the Lord!” There is nothing better that you can do.