DEVOTIONS AND SERMONS

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Praise God Through Your Prayer
 

What is praise?

(Adoration, Appreciation, Worship)

1. Praise is focusing our heart on God.

Psalm 146:1-10
1 Praise the LORD. Praise the LORD, O my soul.
2 I will praise the LORD all my life; I will sing praise to my God as long as I live.
3 Do not put your trust in princes, in mortal men, who cannot save.
4 When their spirit departs, they return to the ground; on that very day their plans come to nothing.
5 Blessed is he whose help is the God of Jacob, whose hope is in the LORD his God,
6 the Maker of heaven and earth, the sea, and everything in them-- the LORD, who remains faithful forever.
7 He upholds the cause of the oppressed and gives food to the hungry. The LORD sets prisoners free,
8 the LORD gives sight to the blind, the LORD lifts up those who are bowed down, the LORD loves the righteous.
9 The LORD watches over the alien and sustains the fatherless and the widow, but he frustrates the ways of the wicked.
10 The LORD reigns forever, your God, O Zion, for all generations. Praise the LORD.


VERSE: Praise the Lord! Praise the Lord, I tell myself. I will praise the Lord as long as I live. I will sing praises to my God even with my dying breath. (Psalm 146:1-2)

The last five psalms (146-150) are filled with praise.

Each begins and ends with "Praise the Lord!" They show us where, why, and how to praise God.

What does praise do?
(1) Praise takes our minds off our problems and shortcomings and focuses them on God.
(2) Praise leads us from individual meditation to corporate worship.
(3) Praise causes us to consider and appreciate God's character.
(4) Praise lifts our perspective from the earthly to the heavenly.

Praise is giving thanks to God for who he is.

Psalm 9:1
For the director of music. To the tune of "The Death of the Son." A psalm of David. I will praise you, O LORD, with all my heart; I will tell of all your wonders.

VERSE: I will thank you, Lord, with all my heart; I will tell of all the marvelous things you have done. (Psalm 9:1)

Praise is saying thank you for each aspect of his divine nature.

Our inward attitude becomes outward expression.

When we praise God, we help ourself by expanding our awareness of who he is.

In each psalm you read, look for an attribute or characteristic of God for which you can thank him.

Praise is thanking God for his many gracious gifts.

Psalm 103:1-22
1 Of David. Praise the LORD, O my soul; all my inmost being, praise his holy name.
2 Praise the LORD, O my soul, and forget not all his benefits--
3 who forgives all your sins and heals all your diseases,
4 who redeems your life from the pit and crowns you with love and compassion,
5 who satisfies your desires with good things so that your youth is renewed like the eagle's.
6 The LORD works righteousness and justice for all the oppressed.
7 He made known his ways to Moses, his deeds to the people of Israel:
8 The LORD is compassionate and gracious, slow to anger, abounding in love.
9 He will not always accuse, nor will he harbor his anger forever;
10 he does not treat us as our sins deserve or repay us according to our iniquities.
11 For as high as the heavens are above the earth, so great is his love for those who fear him;
12 as far as the east is from the west, so far has he removed our transgressions from us.
13 As a father has compassion on his children, so the LORD has compassion on those who fear him;
14 for he knows how we are formed, he remembers that we are dust.
15 As for man, his days are like grass, he flourishes like a flower of the field;
16 the wind blows over it and it is gone, and its place remembers it no more.
17 But from everlasting to everlasting the Lord's love is with those who fear him, and his righteousness with their children's children--
18 with those who keep his covenant and remember to obey his precepts.
19 The LORD has established his throne in heaven, and his kingdom rules over all.
20 Praise the LORD, you his angels, you mighty ones who do his bidding, who obey his word.
21 Praise the LORD, all his heavenly hosts, you his servants who do his will.
22 Praise the LORD, all his works everywhere in his dominion. Praise the LORD, O my soul.


VERSE: Praise the Lord, I tell myself, and never forget the good things he does for me. (Psalm 103:2)

David's praise focused on God's glorious deeds.

It is easy to complain about life, but David's list gives us plenty for which to praise God-he forgives our sins, heals our diseases, redeems us from death, crowns us with love and compassion, satisfies our desires, and gives righteousness and justice.

We receive all of these without deserving any of them.

No matter how difficult your life's journey, you can always count your blessings-past, present, and future.

When you feel as though you have nothing for which to praise God, read David's list.

2. Praise is thanking God for our salvation.

Ephesians 2:1-10
1 As for you, you were dead in your transgressions and sins,
2 in which you used to live when you followed the ways of this world and of the ruler of the kingdom of the air, the spirit who is now at work in those who are disobedient.
3 All of us also lived among them at one time, gratifying the cravings of our sinful nature and following its desires and thoughts. Like the rest, we were by nature objects of wrath.
4 But because of his great love for us, God, who is rich in mercy,
5 made us alive with Christ even when we were dead in transgressions--it is by grace you have been saved.
6 And God raised us up with Christ and seated us with him in the heavenly realms in Christ Jesus,
7 in order that in the coming ages he might show the incomparable riches of his grace, expressed in his kindness to us in Christ Jesus.
8 For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith--and this not from yourselves, it is the gift of God--
9 not by works, so that no one can boast.
10 For we are God's workmanship, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do.


VERSE: God saved you by his special favor when you believed. And you can't take credit for this; it is a gift from God. Salvation is not a reward for the good things we have done, so none of us can boast about it. (Ephes. 2:8-9)

When someone gives you a gift, do you say, "That's very nice-now how much do I owe you?"

No, the appropriate response to a gift is "Thank you."

Yet how often Christians, even after they have been given the gift of salvation, feel obligated to try to work their way to God.

Because our salvation and even our faith are gifts, we should respond with gratitude, praise, and joy.

Praise is a spiritual offering.

Hebrews 13:11-16
11 The high priest carries the blood of animals into the Most Holy Place as a sin offering, but the bodies are burned outside the camp.
12 And so Jesus also suffered outside the city gate to make the people holy through his own blood.
13 Let us, then, go to him outside the camp, bearing the disgrace he bore.
14 For here we do not have an enduring city, but we are looking for the city that is to come.
15 Through Jesus, therefore, let us continually offer to God a sacrifice of praise--the fruit of lips that confess his name.
16 And do not forget to do good and to share with others, for with such sacrifices God is pleased.


VERSE: With Jesus' help, let us continually offer our sacrifice of praise to God by proclaiming the glory of his name. (Hebrews 13:15)

These Jewish Christians, because of their witness that Jesus was the Messiah, no longer worshiped with other Jews.

So praise and acts of service became their sacrifices-ones they could offer anywhere, anytime.

This must have reminded them of the prophet Hosea's words, "Forgive all our sins and graciously receive us, so that we may offer you the sacrifice of praise" (Hosea 14:2).

Hosea 14:2
Take words with you and return to the LORD. Say to him: "Forgive all our sins and receive us graciously, that we may offer the fruit of our lips.

A "sacrifice of praise" today would include thanking Christ for his sacrifice on the cross and telling others about it.

Acts of kindness and sharing are particularly pleasing to God, even when they go unnoticed by others.