The subject of praise is one that has always captured my heart. It is said that the command to praise God is mentioned about 250 times in the Bible (Old and New Testaments). So it would be accurate to say that praise is a “big deal” to God.
Often one gets the feeling that praise is an immature version of worship, but it is not. It is powerful and the Bible is full of Scriptures on praise. It is a profound key in the Kingdom of God.
For example, Isaiah 61:3 tells us that God offers “… the garment of praise for the spirit of heaviness.” With all that is happening in the world today (for example, the fear that tries to creep in due to the weight of the COVID-19 situation, etc.), what an opportune time to put on the garment of praise! Then in Psalm 100:4, the Bible tells us to “…enter into His gates with thanksgiving and into His courts with praise.”
Thanksgiving and praise are a gateway into God’s Presence. We see, for example, in 2 Chronicles 20:21-22, that Jehoshaphat appointed men to sing and the battle was won.
We know that praise and worship should be a part of our lifestyle. We can praise the Lord in our prayers. We can praise the Lord in our speech… But the word praise has been translated from 7 different meanings in the bible. Just to give a quick overview of the words and their meanings, I will include the Strong’s Concordance number so you can look deeper into each word should you want to, as this is very brief.
Yadah (yaw-daw’) 3034 This means to raise your hands.
Towdah (to-daw’) 8426 This means thanksgiving and an extension of one’s hand.
Barak (baw-rak’) 1288: This means to kneel and to bless.
Tehillah (tel-hil-law’) 8416: This type of praise is singing, but not just any type of singing. It’s the singing that bubbles up from our hearts. It’s a spontaneous type of singing. These songs are unrehearsed and unprepared. They are straight to God from a grateful heart.
Zamar (zaw-mar’) 2167: This literally means to pluck the strings, to celebrate in song and music. Basically it’s probably the most common form of “praise” we have across the world in our churches. It’s just singing songs put to music. It can also refer to JUST PLAYING, as well.
Halal (haw-lal’) 1984: This might be one of the most “fun” forms of praise because it requires one to step outside of “dignity” for a moment. It means to be clamorously foolish. This is the kind of praise that David exhibited when he danced for joy at the return of the Ark of the Covenant to Israel.
Shabach (Shaw-bakh’) 7623: Are you ready to get loud? Shabach means to address in a loud tone. It’s typically associated with freedom or triumph. But it’s more than just a loud shout, it is the idea of putting everything you have into it. An attitude of wholehearted praise.
While there are many ways to praise the Lord, I want to focus on singing and dancing. Psalms, in particular, has many Scriptures about singing and dancing as praise.
As stated, when David brought the Ark of the Covenant back to its place, he danced, the word says, with all his might, before the Lord. Let us learn to dance with all our might. The Ark of the Covenant represents the Presence of God. David brought it in with praising and dancing.
This combination of praise and dance, I have found particularly powerful. It is not how we sing or dance but that we do.
We know the Bible tells us everywhere our foot shall tread, He will give to us. As we dance before the Lord, let our feet “tread” on places and problems, etc. This can bring liberty and liberation in our praise.
Let us praise God for all the following:
-Who He is.
-And all answered prayer…
I have so many wonderful memories of powerful praise, both corporately and on my own.
I remember very early on in my walk with the Lord, how praise impacted me. I would often sing praises to the Lord on my way to work. I remember how the joy of the Lord would overflow. Other times I would weep so that I did not know if it was even safe to drive the car. But in those early years, I think the thing that impacted me the most was seeing what breakthroughs came at the youth retreats we used to have.
In time, I saw the power of praise in so many ways. The sheer joy and jubilation rise up out of a time of praise is always a blessing to me. Oh, how He loves us to praise and worship.
I would like to give a few excerpts from Ruth Heflin’s book, Glory, Experiencing the Atmosphere of Heaven:
“…Not only does He urge us “praise the Lord.” He tells us to praise with “the voice of thanksgiving” (Psalm 26:7), “with the voice of triumph” (Psalm 47:1), “with the …voice of a psalm” (Psalm 98:5), and with “the voice of rejoicing” (Psalm 118:15)”
She also says, “A voice of praise is always a voice of victory.”
My favorite quote is:
“Praise until the spirit of worship comes,
Worship until the glory comes,
Then stand in the glory”.
Praise releases joy.
Praise is powerful and is a weapon of warfare.
Praise opens the way for us to move into true worship where we can really worship in spirit and truth.
Praise impacts the area you live in.
We praise as a celebration.
We praise as a love offering to our Lord…
Let us choose to glorify the Lord with our praise both corporately, when the time comes, and individually. Let us sing His praises, shout His praises, and dance His praises…
“Worthy is the Lord.”