Monday, June 6, 2022

How to Praise God (Psalm 66)

"Make His praise glorious. Say to God, “How awesome are Your works!” (Psalm 66:2b–3a).

When you praise the Lord, do you offer up a general word of praise or do you extol Him for particular things? Too often, we rush through our prayers of worship. In doing this we neglect a deep consideration of the many things God has done. David and the other psalmists were not ones to skimp on prayers. Their psalms serve as a testimony to intense meditations on the many attributes and works of God. We, too, should not be satisfied with a simple, “I praise You God.” Like David, we should honor God by thinking about all that He is and has done in our lives, praising Him for specifics not just generalities.

In Psalm 66 we discover a great song of praise from the lips of one who truly loved and adored the Lord. Love for God overflows, stirring all men to praise the Lord of heaven. This psalm focuses particularly on God’s goodness and works of providence, His preservation and restoration of His people, and His faithfulness in answering prayer. This psalm hopes to “withdraw men from the vain or positively sinful and pernicious pursuits in which they are engaged, and direct their thoughts to the works of God,” Calvin wrote. God provides for all the world out of His goodness, and this in itself is enough to reverence Him.

The psalmist also directs our attention to God’s special care over His church. The redemption we find in Christ and the preservation of our souls by God’s power prove to be a common source of joy to all believers. Our hope is in God, and we know that even amid trials here on earth, we have the expectation of joy and prosperity in eternity. Yet, while we are here we can take comfort that God faithfully hears the prayers of His people. We do not praise a God who is silent and far off, but He is with us always.

As the psalmist praised God, he realized his need to offer sacrifices of sweet savor to the Lord, for even his praises were stained by sin and unworthy of the excellency of God. In Christ, our praises are sanctified, for His sacrifice covers even our worship of the Lord. Let us then always look to Christ in whom we have access to God as we praise Him for His many works and for the glorious salvation He has wrought.

Personalize Psalm 66 by writing one of your own, praising God for particular things He has done in your life and for specific attributes in God Himself. Pray through this psalm, thanking God for Christ in whom you have access to God. Endeavor to spend more time when you pray praising God.