We are all made uniquely in God’s image to commune with Him, and praise is a powerful way to do that! There are so many different ways that you can express your love for God through praise and worship.
You might enjoy singing hymns to God in your church choir, and you might like singing along to your favorite worship CD in the car. You might worship the Lord by painting pictures, or maybe you like to dance for Him. How do you like to touch His heart? The good news is, no matter how you express your love and devotion to Him, He enjoys it! I really believe there are an infinite number of ways we can praise Him!
When you praise and worship the Lord, you go to a place of encounter with Him. You move beyond what you see in this natural realm into a place of His experiencing His power and presence. And from what I’ve experienced, I can truly say that sometimes you have to try something you’ve never done before to go somewhere you’ve never gone before.
Are you ready to go to a new place of encounter with God? If so, let’s take a look at what the Bible says about praise.
When it comes to the word “praise” specifically, did you know that when you read the word “praise” in the book of Psalms you are actually reading one of seven different Hebrew words? The worship leaders in the tabernacle of David didn’t just exhort the people to “praise” the Lord. They were more specific about what expression to use.
Much of the meaning of the original words was lost in translation, because the English vocabulary didn’t spring from a culture built around worship and praise to God like the culture of the Hebrew people. Hidden inside the one word “praise” are seven heavenly treasures. Get your shovels–we’re about to dig ’em up.
Psalm 106:1 [NKJV] Praise the LORD! Oh, give thanks to the LORD, for He is good! For His mercy endures forever.
The word for praise used here is Hallal, which means to shine or to rave, to boast, to be clamorously foolish, and to act madly. Let’s take a minute to get undignified! This word for praise is used 117 times, more often than any other. About 50% of the time when you see the word praise, it is Hallal. It’s where our word Hallelujah comes from!
Psalm 9:1 [NKJV] I will praise You, O LORD, with my whole heart; I will tell of all Your marvelous works.
Praise in this verse is actually the word Yadah. Yadah means to revere or worship, to give thanks or praise with extended hands, or to lift the hands. Let’s lift up our hands to Him in praise for a moment! Let’s thank Him for all he’s done for us. Lift up your hands and praise Him with everything you’ve got!
Judges 5:2 [KJV] 2 Praise ye the LORD for the avenging of Israel, when the people willingly offered themselves.
Barak is the word Deborah used in her song here after Israel won the victory over their enemies. Barak means to bless, to kneel, to salute. Most of the time the word Barak is translated as the word bless (like, 302 times actually). Let’s take a knee, Mommas. Let’s salute Him as the mighty God of angel armies! Let’s bless Him for the way He always wins our battles–every time.
Psalm 40:3 [NKJV] 3 He has put a new song in my mouth–Praise to our God; Many will see [it] and fear, And will trust in the LORD.
The word praise here is Tehillah, which means a song or a hymn of praise. It also means a spontaneous expression of spiritual song. Wow! What does your heart want to sing to Him? Make up the words as you go. Just let your heart sing a new song–a song that’s never been heard before. He can’t wait to hear it! He delights in you.
Psalm 9:2 [NKJV] I will be glad and rejoice in You; I will sing praise to Your name, O Most High.
Psalm 33:2 [NKJV] Praise the LORD with the harp; Make melody to Him with an instrument of ten strings.
In these two verses, the word praise is actually Zamar. Zamar means to make music, to sing praise, to play a musical instrument, or to pluck and twang. Do you play an instrument? Play a song of praise to Him! Try playing sometime without singing at all, and just let yourself feel the love going straight to the Father’s heart through the sound you’re releasing. If you don’t play, then sing with all your might!
Psalm 50:23 [NKJV] Whoever offers praise glorifies Me; And to him who orders his conduct aright I will show the salvation of God.
The word here is towdah, which means confession, praise, and thanksgiving. Most of the time, this word is actually translated as thanksgiving. Bring thanks to God for all the blessings He has brought your way. Confess His goodness, His mercy, and His everlasting love! Let’s offer thanksgiving to God and glorify Him today.
Psalm 63:3 [NKJV] Because Your lovingkindness is better than life, My lips shall praise You.
Shabach means to exclaim, shout, laud, praise, and commend. You may have sung “Shout to the Lord,” but have you ever really shouted to the Lord? You should try it! You will enjoy it. His lovingkindness is better than life, so my lips just have to shout His praises. Let’s give Him a mighty shout!
I would encourage you to try all of these out! Maybe take a new one each week. When you’re alone with Jesus (or even with your kiddos!), offer up praise in a new way. You know, sometimes trying something new will open up your understanding to more of God!
And you don’t have to worry if your church doesn’t do it like this–remember this is all from the Bible. Don’t be afraid to get out of your comfort zone. It will be fun, and God will enjoy it even more than you do. He loves it when we come to Him with praise, no matter what it looks like!
What are your favorite ways to praise Him? Is there a specific time of praise when God really touched your heart? What new praise do you want to offer to Him? Let’s talk about it. I’d love to hear your comments below. Read my full comment policy here.