Praise be to God! As Christians, praising God should be one of the central focuses of our life. Through praise, we align our hearts with His, recognize His supreme worth, and give Him the honor and adoration He deserves.
But what exactly is praise? And what constitutes the highest form of praise we can give to our Maker according to Scripture?
In this post, we’ll explore the biblical foundations of praise, the power and purpose behind praising God, and what the Bible reveals as the pinnacle of praise to our glorious King.
The Meaning and Origins of Praise
To praise God is to speak well of Him, to acknowledge who He is and to thank Him for it. The Hebrew word most often translated “praise” in the Old Testament is yadah, meaning to revere or worship with extended hands. The Greek word in the New Testament is ainéó, meaning to approve, appreciate, and commend.
Praising God flows from recognizing His attributes and works. We praise Him for who He reveals Himself to be – holy, mighty, merciful, gracious, and faithful. We praise Him for what He has done – creating the heavens and earth, redeeming us through Jesus, giving spiritual gifts, answering prayers, guiding our paths, sustaining us daily.
Heartfelt praise is built on knowing God deeply through His Word. The more we comprehend His majesty, love, and sovereignty, the higher our praise will ascend.
The Power and Purpose of Praise
Praising God realigns our perspective from earthly realities to eternal ones. Through praise, we exalt His purposes over our plans, His kingdom over worldly ones.
Praise reminds us of God’s supreme authority and rulership over all things. It keeps us mindful that every breath we take is by His grace. Praise humbles us before Him, helping us recognize our utter dependence on our Creator.
Praising God also releases joy in our hearts. It lifts our spirits from doubt and anxiety by magnifying the greatness of the One who holds our lives. As we praise, the grip of fear is broken. Depression lifts. Our focus shifts upward, filling our inner vision with the majesty of the Almighty.
We were created to praise God. It is central to our identity and purpose as those made in His image. When we exalt Him, our souls resonate with the purpose for which we were fashioned.
Through praise, the powers of darkness are pushed back. As we praise, God’s presence increases and the enemy is forced to flee. Angels rally around the praises of God’s people. The heavenly realms hear and rejoice with us.
Most importantly, praise brings delight to the heart of God. He is looking for people to worship Him in spirit and in truth. He seeks those whose hearts will magnify His great worth. Our praise ushers us into deeper intimacy with Him.
Examples of Praise in Scripture
The Bible overflows with examples of praise to God. Here are just a few:
- Psalms 145-150 – These final psalms are filled with rich praise, calling all creation to laud God’s mighty acts and unmatched greatness.
- Psalm 103 – A magnificent psalm urging us to “bless the Lord, O my soul”, recounting His goodness and mercy.
- Psalm 150 – This psalm concludes the Book of Psalms with a grand crescendo of praise, calling us to praise God’s mighty acts and excellent greatness.
- Revelation 4:8-11 – Heavenly creatures surround God’s throne proclaiming “Holy, Holy, Holy” and declaring Him worthy “to receive glory and honor and power”.
- Revelation 5:9-14 – The Living Creatures and elders sing a new song to the Lamb who was slain, erupting in praise over God’s salvation.
- Revelation 19:1-8 – A great multitude shouts “Hallelujah” celebrating God’s righteous judgment and the marriage supper of the Lamb.
Throughout Scripture, praise rises from those in awe of who God is and what He has done. Their examples spur us on in our praise today.
The Highest Forms of Praise
What then constitutes the highest forms of praise we can offer God? The Bible points to the following as the pinnacle of praise:
1. Praise that comes from a broken and contrite heart
God values praise that flows from a spirit of humility and repentance over the mere reciting of praise words or songs. Psalm 51:17 declares that “The sacrifices of God are a broken spirit; A broken and a contrite heart—These, O God, You will not despise.” Our praise reaches the heavens when it is offered from a posture of humility, acknowledgement of our sin, and gratitude for God’s mercy.
2. Praising God for who He is over what He gives
God loves praise for His eternal attributes and glory far more than praise for temporal gifts and blessings. The highest praise centers on the excellencies of His nature – His holiness, sovereignty, justice, wisdom, faithfulness and goodness. It focuses on His unmatched splendor, majesty and power over all creation. Psalm 138:5 proclaims “They shall sing of the ways of the Lord, For great is the glory of the Lord.”
3. Praise that flows from an intimate relationship
The highest praise is an outflow of truly knowing God, in line with Christ’s declaration in John 4:23 that “true worshipers will worship the Father in spirit and truth.” It is praise kindled in the furnace of intimate communion with Him through prayer, meditation on His Word, and the baptism of the Holy Spirit. The more we draw near and know Him, the higher our praise.
4. Praise that focuses on the cross
At Calvary, all God’s attributes converge in perfect symphony as His justice, holiness, mercy, and love meet together in Christ. Revelation 5:9 captures a glimpse of this lofty praise: “And they sang a new song, saying: ‘You are worthy to take the scroll, And to open its seals; For You were slain, And have redeemed us to God by Your blood.” The cross must be central in our praise.
5. Praise that glorifies God’s Kingdom
The highest praise anticipates and rejoices in the full manifestation of God’s kingdom on earth. It looks forward to the time when all creation finally fulfills its purpose in glorifying Him alone. Praise focused on God’s coming kingdom is highlighted in Revelation 11:15: “Then the seventh angel sounded: And there were loud voices in heaven, saying, ‘The kingdoms of this world have become the kingdoms of our Lord and of His Christ, and He shall reign forever and ever!'”
Key Takeaways on the Highest Praise
In summary, key truths on the highest praise include:
- The highest praise flows from deep reverence, awe, and intimate relationship with God. It comes from truly knowing Him.
- Praise focused purely on God’s eternal nature, glory and majesty surpasses praise for temporal benefits.
- Praising God primarily for who He is pleases Him more than praising Him for what He gives.
- Brokenness, humility and repentance elevate our praise. Praise from a contrite heart is precious to God.
- Centrality of the cross – The cross showcases God’s full glory and all praise finds its roots there.
- The highest praise looks ahead to the fulfillment of God’s kingdom on earth when He reigns forever.
Let’s pursue the pinnacle of praise! May our mouths and lives forever sing the highest hallelujahs to our great God and King!
Cultivating the Highest Praise
How then can we cultivate the highest praise to God in our daily lives? Here are some practical tips:
- Pray for the Spirit of praise – Ask God daily to fill you with a spirit of praise, to enlighten the eyes of your heart to know Him more.
- Immerse yourself in Scripture – Read, study, memorize, meditate on the Bible. The Word reveals who God is. As you behold Him, praise ascends.
- Make praise a discipline – Set aside time to praise God every day. Put reminders in your schedule. Make it part of your routine.
- Start a praise journal – Note down insights about God’s nature you discover in Scripture, record breakthroughs and blessings from your times of praise. Review it regularly.
- Sing hymns and spiritual songs – Song is a powerful way to praise. Keep a song of praise in your heart and lips through the day.
- Use your spiritual gifts – If God has graced you with musical gifts or creative talents, use them intentionally to craft praise offerings to the Lord.
- Practice humility and repentance – Bring your praise to God from a posture of humility, acknowledging your need for His mercy and grace.
- Focus on the cross – Never move far in praise from the foot of Calvary. Keep the cross central in your worship.
- Join with other believers – Praise together with the Body of Christ. This is powerful. Add your voice of praise to the symphony.
- Anticipate His coming kingdom – Let your praises resound with the hope of Christ’s return in glory to reign forever.
May our glorious God receive the highest and most heartfelt praise from our lips all the days of our lives. May every breath be filled with hallelujahs to the King of Kings!