PRAISE: The Greatest Form of Prayer

 

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There are many different aspects to prayer, different building blocks, which we build together.  One of those building blocks is praise. When Jesus taught his disciples to pray, he began with praise “Our Father in heaven, hallowed be your name” (Matthew 6:9). The word hallowed means “to set apart”, “to revere” or “to sanctify.” As we come to the Lord in pray it is always good to begin with a time of praise.

Praise is the vocal adoration of God through which we render to him honour, esteem and love. As we do, we are simply putting first things first. We put God first and recognize that it is all about him. In praise, we place ourselves firmly in his sovereignty and recognize that sovereign work over our lives and our situations. Simply put, we make space for God.

It was as the trumpeters and singers joined in praise and adoration of the Lord that the temple was filled with a cloud and the priest could no long perform their service because God’s glory had filled the place (2 Chronicles 5:13-14). Praise ushered in the presence of God to the midst of the people. Praise is powerful; the psalmist reminds us “From the lips of children and infants you have ordained praise because of your enemies, to silence the foe and the avenger” (Psalm 8:2). As we praise Him, space is created in which he can work in healing, in deliverance, in forgiveness. For as we praise we become more focused upon who God is, we recognize his nature and give him praise for who he is.

God’s Word is full of resources for us as we come to praise Him. We can praise out of the various names Scripture ascribes to Him, for those names reveal some aspect of His character. We can praise Him for the attributes with which the Scriptures describe Him, praising Him for his mercy or love or grace or compassion. We can praise him for the things that he has done, the wonders of the creation around us, or his acts of power and love demonstrated to us in the lives of others and ultimately in the life of Christ.

As Billy Graham has said “I believe that the greatest form of prayer is praise to God.”

Prayer Makes a Difference

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And I will do whatever you ask in my name, so that the Son may bring glory to the Father. You may ask me for anything in my name, and I will do it.    John 14:13–14

Throughout the Scriptures we find passages, which confirm that prayer makes a difference. When Joshua and the Israelites were fighting the Amalekites (Exodus 17) it was the prayers of Moses, on top of the hill, which made the difference in the battle. When Elijah was on the top of mount Carmel it was prayer that caused the end of the drought. Seven times Elijah bent down to the ground in prayer before the rain came (1 Kings 18:41-45). “The prayer of a righteous man is powerful and effective,” writes James (James 5:16).

Pray was a strategic tool for building the early church. In Acts 1:14, we see that the disciples “all joined together constantly in prayer.” Prayer was effective in initiating the release of Peter from prison through the intervention of an angel (Acts 12:1-19). Paul instructed the believers in Colossi to “devote themselves to prayer” (Colossians 4:2). He also included prayer as a vital piece of the armour of God instructing the Ephesians to “pray in the Spirit on all occasions with all kinds of prayers and requests” (Ephesians 6:18).

Pray is able to transform our society bringing peace, godliness and holiness and drawing people into a relationship with God through Jesus Christ…

I urge, then, first of all, that requests, prayers, intercession and thanksgiving be made for everyone— for kings and all those in authority, that we may live peaceful and quiet lives in all godliness and holiness. This is good, and pleases God our Savior, who wants all men to be saved and to come to a knowledge of the truth.(1 Timothy 2:1–4 )

Today, prayer is the post powerful tool that we have been given to see the church built and our world changed and yet so often it is the tool, which is least used or turned to as a last resort. Imagine the change that could take place if we took the work of prayer seriously…