In one way or another, we have all witnessed the effect of praise. Praise completes the joy of an experience.
Have you ever been to a sporting event where the crowd was very quiet? The silence is almost unbearable. The best part of a sporting event is cheering for the home team’s victorious accomplishments. The most enthusiastic fans repeat those great moments to one another over and over again! Likewise, we will find energy coursing through our spiritual lives when we repeat — over and over — the mighty acts of God in history and his acts in our own lives. It is good to celebrate the joy and wonder of our relationship with the Lord.
Praise in Worship
Praise not only completes our joy in fellowship with the Lord, but it also gives us a foretaste of heaven. Worship through praise is the chief activity of eternity. Paul admonishes us, “Since, then, you have been raised with Christ, set your hearts on things above, where Christ is, seated at the right hand of God. Set your minds on things above, not on earthly things” (Colossians 3:1 – 2).
We learn something of what Paul means by this from the book of Revelation. Though many people have pigeonholed Revelation as a book solely about prophecy, this book is one of the most profound worship manuals in the Bible. While the Psalms are our biblical hymnbook, the book of Revelation reveals heavenly scenes of worship.
John’s words in Revelation 4:1 shed new light on praise by giving us an amazing description of worship: “After this I looked, and there before me was a door standing open in heaven.” It is exciting to think that worship is an open door to God’s presence.
Notice that John was ushered right to the throne! There is no waiting room or foyer for preparation. Why? Because the way has been completely opened through Jesus Christ! The writer of Hebrews expressed it this way: “Let us then approach God’s throne of grace with confidence, so that we may receive mercy and find grace to help us in our time of need” (Hebrews 4:16).
As we meditate on the realities of heaven that John colorfully describes, we find sights of glory that thrill the imagination, sounds of power, songs of praise and fragrances of incense in the prayers of the saints. As we ponder John’s words, we understand that worship is much more than an exercise of the mind. It is an experience of the whole person caught up in glory. Few activities strengthen our faith more than cultivating a richer, fuller understanding of God through worship.
Praising the Character of God
Praise calls us to consider the nature and character of God. In Revelation 7:12, the multitude worships and adores God by calling for seven blessings upon him: “Praise and glory and wisdom and thanks and honor and power and strength be to our God for ever and ever. Amen!” The worshipers affirm and celebrate the matchless glory of the Lord.
Reflection upon God’s character is a powerful means for enriching our prayer lives. As we seek to grasp God’s greatness and ascribe to him all the honor that is due him, our faith is strengthened, our hearts are encouraged and our vision of God grows. Many of us would do well to focus less on in-depth analyses of our problems and to meditate more time on the character of God, who is the answer to our problems.
Put It Into Practice
As we honor God, we receive a deeper sense of God’s presence.
When have you sensed God’s presence? What was it like?
How did this change your thoughts or actions?
When you worship this week, quiet your heart and remind yourself that God is always present with you.
Drawn from the NIV Spiritual Renewal Study Bible.