OceanSide church of Christ
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PRAISE GOD IN YOUR PRAYERS
Victor M. Eskew
Prayer can be a difficult practice for the child of God. For some, prayer involves the same repetitions day after day. These repetitions make prayer seem dull and lifeless. Even public prayers can fall into the realm of repetitions. After hearing some men pray a few times, the audience can say the prayer before it is prayed.
During the course of the Lord’s ministry, the disciples were impressed with His prayer life. On one occasion, it was requested that He teach them to pray. “And it came to pass, that, as he was praying in a certain place, when he ceased, one of his disciples said unto him, Lord, teach us to pray, as John also taught his disciples” (Luke 11:1). Jesus responded to this request with what some call “The Lord’s Prayer.” In reality, this is a model prayer. The Lord designed this prayer to teach men “how” to pray.
The first element of the Lord’s Model Prayer involves praise to God Almighty. “And he said unto them, When ye pray say, Our Father which art in heaven, Hallowed be thy name…” (Luke 11:2). The word “hallowed” expresses veneration to God. It is an acknowledgement that God is separate from profane things. It pronounces God to be holy and pure and sinless. Each prayer should begin with an expression of praise to God for who He is or for what He has done. This one aspect of prayer, if it is done well, could improve our prayers, especially public prayers, one hundred percent.
After reading this, some might be wondering what they could say in order to properly praise God in prayer. One older preacher of the gospel would begin his prayers with the words of Psalm 90:1-2: “Lord thou hast been our dwelling place in all generations. Before the mountains were brought forth, or ever thou hadst formed the earth and the world, even from everlasting to everlasting, thou art God.” This text acknowledges God’s care for His people. It also extols the eternal nature of The Father. It makes a beautiful statement of praise to God. However, repeating it every time one prays could make it a tired repetition also.
There are many others things that could be said of God that would set Him apart as the one, true God. The following verses provide some examples for us.
1. “The Lord is my rock, and my fortress, and my deliverer; my God, my strength, in whom I will trust; my buckler, and the horn of my salvation, and my high tower” (Ps. 18:2).
2. “For the Lord your God is God of gods, and Lord of lords, a great God, a mighty, and a terrible, which regardeth not persons, nor taketh rewards” (Deut. 10:17).
3. “O God thou art terrible out of thy holy places: the God of Israel is he that giveth strength and power unto his people. Blessed be God” (Ps. 68:35).
4. “Thus said the Lord the King of Israel, and his redeemer the Lord of hosts; I am the first, and I am the last; beside me there is no God” (Isa. 44:6).
5. “The Lord is my strength and my shield; my heart trusted in him, and I am helped: therefore my heart greatly rejoiceth; and with my song will I praise him” (Ps. 28:7).
6. “Thou art worthy, O Lord, to receive glory and honour and power: for thou hast created all things, and for thy good pleasure they are and were created” (Rev. 4:11).
This list could go on and on. There are many verses in the Bible that reveal unto us God’s wonderful nature. A casual reading of the Psalms will provide a host of phrases one can use to glorify the Father in prayer.
When one finishes praising God’s nature, he can lift Him up by means of His numerous titles. Let’s list just a few of the “Father” titles that God possesses: 1) Living Father (John 6:57); 2) Righteous Father (John 17:25); 3) Father of glory (Eph. 1:15-21); 4) Father of lights (James 1:27); 5) Father of mercies (Gen. 19:16); and 6) Father of spirits (Heb. 12:9). These six names barely touch the hem of the garment when it comes to the names and titles that God has. He is the “Ancient of Days” (Dan. 7:9-10). He is the “Fountain of Living Waters” (Jer. 2:13). He is the “Judge of all the earth” (Gen. 18:25). He is a “consuming fire” (Deut. 4:24). In his book, A Survey of the Names of God, Ernest Verify lists over 300 names and descriptive phrases that pertain to God our Father.
God’s works can also be involved in our prayers of praise. He created the heavens and the earth and all that in them is in six days (Exo. 20:11). He delivered Israel from the cruel hands of Pharaoh (Exo. 19:4). He has performed mighty wonders and miracles and signs (Ps. 77:14). He has often judged the nations (Isa. 2:4). He providentially provides for the basic needs of all upon the earth (Acts 14:17). He gave His precious Son to die for the sins of all mankind (Heb. 2:9).
Prayers do not have to be lifeless repetitions. Our opening lines can be littered with statements of praise to the God of heaven. We can praise His names. We can praise His nature. We can praise His works. Let us be as the psalmist, who said: “I will greatly praise the Lord with my mouth; yea, I will praise him among the multitude” (Ps. 109:30).