Over the past two days, we’ve spent a lot of time looking at how both the Old Testament and the New Testament incorporate praise into times of worship. For Old Testament believers, the entire physical approach to the Temple was designed to inspire praise within the Israelites’ hearts. Their attention was pulled from the mundane of work and selfish concerns, and turned to focus on the glory and majesty of God. In the New Testament, Jesus instructed his followers to pray daily, spiritually approaching God’s throne with praise of God’s goodness and power. Both styles were designed to guide believers in humbling themselves in order to better appreciate how great God is, which can easily become forgotten among our cares and responsibilities.
In the Old Testament, the Israelites would give sacrifices to cleanse themselves before entering the Temple. In the New Testament, Jesus opened his model of prayer by addressing God as an honored and holy Father. In our daily lives, we can approach our time with God in a similar manner — laying down our cares, and calling out for a spiritual care-taker. For me, these prayers can often take this format:
“Father God, I lift your name high. I praise You for meeting me, and for wanting to meet with me. I am in awe of Your power — the miracles You have done and are continuing to do — and that One so powerful as You would be willing to hear from one so weak as me. I praise Your name, Father, Counselor, Creator, Name above all names. You are the King of kings, greater than all others, and yet You’ve chosen me as an adopted daughter. You are great, and worthy to be praised!”
Worship music also figures heavily into my praise time. Listening to music helps me to center on what I want to be thinking of, rather than the sneaky to-do lists and overdue tasks that are waiting for me. I also find myself praying lyrics from songs during my prayer time, sometimes with old verses coming back to me from my childhood. Here is a list of some of my favorite praise songs to help me focus:
- “Strong Tower” — Kutless
- “Waymaker” — Michael W. Smith, featuring Vanessa Campagna & Madelyn Berry
- “Lord I Lift Your Name on High” — MercyMe
- “El Shaddai” — Amy Grant
- “Good Good Father” — Chris Tomlin
- “What a Beautiful Name” — Hillsong Worship
- “I Could Sing of Your Love Forever” — Hillsong Worship & Delirious?
- “Who Am I?” — Casting Crowns
- “Glorious Day” — Casting Crowns
- “Above All” — Michael W. Smith