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.”