"I WILL PRAISE YOU, O LORD"
By Wayne S. Walker
"I will praise You, O LORD, with my whole heart; I will tell of all Your marvelous works. I will be glad and rejoice in You;’ I will sing praise to Your name, O Most High" (Psalm 9:1-2). The Ninth Psalm deals mostly with the Lord’s righteous judgments and a prayer for mercy in times of trouble. But David begins by expressing praise to the Lord. There are several ways in which we can give praise to God. One obvious way is by singing. The Hebrew writer reminds us, "Therefore by Him let us continually offer the sacrifice of praise to God, that is, the fruit of our lips, giving thanks to His name" (Hebrews 13:15). While it is good to sing spiritual songs on a number of topics, it is a fact that far too many of our songbooks have far too few hymns which actually praise the Lord, and most congregations likely sing very few of those regularly.
Another way that we can praise God is in our prayers. "Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication, with thanksgiving, let your requests be made known to God" (Philippians 4:6). Yes, prayer is a time to let our requests be made known to God, but Paul says, "With thanksgiving." A lot of public prayers offered in congregations of God’s people begin, "Thank you for all our blessings, both physical and spiritual," and then launch into "Give us this, give us that, give us something else. We want this, we want that, we want something else. Lord, do this, do that, do something else." It would be good to spend more time in prayer, both publicly and privately, praising God for who He is and thanking Him for what He has done.
And then, Christians need to live their everyday lives "to the praise of the glory of His grace" (Ephesians 1:6). Praise is not just something that we say. It is also something that we do. Too many people who call themselves children of God almost never seem to give God the glory for the good things that happen in their lives. It is as if they "light a lamp and put it under a basket" rather than "let your light so shine before men" (Matthew 5:15-16). Maybe they are afraid that someone will actually think that they are serving Christ! Here is how we praise God with our lives. "I have been crucified with Christ; it is no longer I who live, but Christ lives in me; and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave Himself for me" (Galatians 2:20). Praise the Lord!