Praise? What's that?



an awful lot of us have somehow missed the point

by Edward Langenback

The scene is the same in churches all over. Every sunday people go to churches big and small, head to meetings in living rooms and nursing homes, jails, and many other places to hear someone preach the Word of God. in these meetings, they sing, they testify, they sit reverently or shout out "AMEN!" or "Hallelujah" in agreement and support of what the preacher is saying. The singers sing, the choirs and bands play. Each has their own way of doing their church thing. one thing that is common in just about all of them is the use of the phrases "Praise the Lord", "Praise God", "Praise Jesus". The preacher says something like "lets all praise the Lord.", and everybody gets out of their seats, raise their hands and begin to say, sing chant, and shout things like: "praise you Lord", "praise Jesus", "praise God", and so on. I have to admit that I always thought that this was somehow just a little silly and a whole lot robotic, but never said anything about it because it's something you're supposed to do. You don't question things like that without coming off sounding like an unbeliever who is trying to ridicule God's people and their ways. So I kept it to myself and just tried to go along with the program, telling myself that this was just the devil trying to put doubts and faithlessness in my mind. But no matter how hard I tried not to think about it, the question kept coming back to me "Why do we stand here repeating 'Praise God' like this?". recently, I decided to do what I should have done years ago...get out my bible and study what God says about the subject.

The first thing I did was get out websters unabridged dictionary and look up the word praise. I found two sets of definitions, as a verb, and as a noun:

PRAISE (v)
1. to value, to appraise; also to esteem; value; prize
2. to express approbation of; to laud; extol; commend; applaud
3. to win or gain praise or commendation
4. to glorify by homage and ascription of perfection. especially in song. to laud; magnify.

synonyms: eulogize, celebrate, glorify, magnify

PRAISE (n)
1. the act of praise, or state of being praised; commendation for worth or excellence; approval expressed; honor rendered because of excellence or worth.

2. the act of glorifying God or extolling God; worship, worship by song.

3. the object, subject, ground, or reason of praise.

synonyms: honor, applause, acclaim, commendation

The next thing I did was get out God's Word for windows and Quickverse 4.0 and found out that the word 'praise' appears in the king james version 248 times in 216 verses. This alone tells me that it's important because generaly the more something is mentioned in the bible, the more important it is.

Then I got out the strongs concordance and look up the hebrew and greek words that were translated praise.

(old testament)
where strongs number pronunciation meaning
gen 29:35 3034 yaw-daw to raise the hands. to revere or
worship with extended hands.
lev 19:24 1974 hil-lool a celebration of thanksgiving
for harvest.
judges 5:2 1288 baw-rak to kneel, by implication to bless
God as an act of adoration.
1chro 16:4 1984 haw-lac to be clear, to shine, to rave,
celebrate, commend,
to make a show... boast.
1chron 16:35 8416 teh-hil-law laudation, a hymn - praise
psalm 21:13 2167 zaw-mar to touch the strings or parts
of a musical instrument,
to play upon it, to make music,
accompanied by the voice,
to celebrate in song and music:
give praise, sing forth praises, psalms


(new testament)
where strongs number pronunciation meaning
Matt 21:16 136 ah'ee-nos a story, used in the
sense of 1868
Luke 19:37 134 ahee-neh-o from 136
to praise God
John 9:24 1391 dox-ah glory, dignity,
honor, praise,
worship
Rom 2:29 1868 ep-ahee-nos laudation,
a commendable thing
praise
1Cor 11:2 1867 ep-ahee-neh-o to applaud,
commend, laud,
praise
Heb 2:12 5214 hoom-neh-o to hymn, to sing
a religious ode,
by implication to
celebrate God in
song,
Heb 13:15 133 ahee-nes-is praising (the act),
a thank offering

In digesting all this, I cannot help but come to the conclusion that an awful lot of us have somehow missed the point...

For example, if my wife were to go out of her way to make something for dinner that I really liked, and took the time and trouble to make it just perfect, and I absolutely loved what she made how would I praise her for that? Would I stand there saying "Praise Lura, Praise Lura"? or when telling my friends about it would I start saying "praise Lura, Praised be Lura's cooking"? Of course not!! She and my friends to whom I did this would likely think I was a little off. At best, she would understand my intent, and wonder "Why doesn't he just tell me how much he likes it?" and my friends would understand much better if i were to tell them what she did for me, and how great it was and how much I love her for doing that for me when she didn't have to.

Likewise, when I see people saying "Praise God" and "Praise Jesus" and the like, I can just picture God chuckling and shaking his head saying "I really appreciate their intent, their hearts are in the right place, but they just don't understand what praise means."

Telling someone about something that God has done for you, Bragging about how perfectly God has met your needs, Telling God how much you love him, Thanking him for what he's done for you, ETC

Things like this and more is what praising God is all about, in song and in stories, testimony, witnessing, and thanksgiving. After all, Christians are not just about being in our own little corner off by ourselves. We are about bringing as many people into the Kingdom as possible. We are about telling people that God loves them, and wants nothing less than the best for them by showing them what He has done for us. The best praise is that which helps someone come to the cross and give themselves to Jesus. Standing in church repeating "Praise God" may express to God how we feel, but it doesn't do much for the unsaved. But telling them of the great and mighty things He has done for us is another matter entirely... it can lead souls to salvation. and it TRULY magifies God and gives him glory.

Take a few minutes to talk to God about it, you'll be glad you did.