By Tim Behlen
Praise. What is it? How can it benefit my life more? And why is it an essential part of
doing God’s will?
These were a few questions I considered several years ago while in high school. These were the core questions I kept asking God.
After seeing a video of a band leading a worship experience, I realized something about praise and how to present it. Times of public worship aren’t a display of entertainment to God or others, but rather to provide a moment for His people to give and receive.
Praise may be expressed in song, prayer (including in the spirit), prophecy, dance, instruments, or even a piece of artwork, etc. What matters is that you’re giving something to God that is true and from the heart… not a fake show to impress others, but true adoration to a God and a King that are so worth our devotion.
When I was in high school, I took different art and writing classes to explore and figure out what was right in God’s eyes and what wasn’t. In each class, while I learned a new form of media (painting, poetry, photography, pencil, pastel), I never came across an artistic expression that couldn’t be used to please the Father.
As long as I did the artwork to give Him honor, and to give Him the ultimate credit for the inspiration, He was more than happy to receive it.
As I continue to grow and observe others excel in different expressions of praise, I see that whatever form it may take, it’s a part of this giving and receiving cycle. In the midst of a crowd, seeing hundreds of hands up in the air, you can see people giving their all to a God who loves them…all of them.
Those participating may be kneeling, weeping, smiling or simply reclining on the floor as they let go of stress and trauma that they may’ve been facing. And the void is being replaced with a love unlike anything else that they’ve ever known.
The God of the Universe who created all the stars and all the animals cares deeply enough to step in and simply show them that He is with them and encouraging them through any obstacle. Although challenges may seem huge, times of praise can reset our trust that God can show us the way through troubles.
While praising can be done for any amount of time, longer periods may bring greater rewards. Ironically, someone I knew used to get frustrated when a worship song would repeat the same words many times.
The person referred to those as “seven-eleven songs” (the same seven words, eleven times). What’s the benefit of redundant lyrics? Simple. It deepens in us the roots of who God is, what He has done, what He is doing, and what He will do.
God has repeated many similar promises multiple times in His book, and at times to the same people. Sometimes we need to read a certain truth (or in this case, sing it) enough times to finally believe it! We know words have power, so why not let loose a chorus that will help to genuinely change our hearts?
Why Praise Matters to Me
So why has praise become so important to me? Because the learning and the expressions of my worship have brought personal transformation. I have become more peaceful and calm. I am now more attentive to others, making sure they know what God thinks of them.
And to top it off, it has helped me in hearing from Him more. I have a better sense of His pursuit of me, and I’m more keenly aware of God telling me things about my life. Praise shows me a relationship being formed.
Praise is essential, because without giving God those focused moments of blessing toward Him, we can miss out on one of the coolest things we can have… relationship.
And this relationship is far beyond that of an earthly father, mother, sibling, friend or mentor. It’s a relationship with the One who IS love.
Without praise I would not have a relationship with God. I can almost guarantee that. First, I wouldn’t want one. I didn’t become a Christian because of a doctrine that persuaded my mind. It was because of the relationship with God that won my heart.
Second, when you give God your all in a relationship with Him, THAT is where the true fun begins. Trusting Him, being with Him, speaking with Him, praising Him… life itself becomes an adventure!