We are in the midst of 50 Days of Prayer, from Easter Sunday to Pentecost Sunday, believing God for an unprecedented outpouring of the Holy Spirit’s person, presence, power and provision. We are indeed getting ready for revival, knowing that what is most needed in this hour is Christ’s church being fully alive in the Spirit, loving Jesus supremely and serving the world sacrificially.
Each week we have been focusing on keys to revival. Among these keys, we have focused on repentance, humility, spiritual hunger, holiness and honor—all important forerunners for fullness—a move of God’s Spirit that is released and remains.
This week, we are focusing on praise as another key to seeing an ongoing habitation of God in the Spirit. Again, we will answer three key questions: What is praise? Why is praise important? How do we praise? Learning the power of praising God for who He is, what He’s done, and what He’s willing and able to do is an important principle and practice for releasing God’s presence and power.
A Story of Praise In the latter stages of King David’s life, he saw the fulfillment of God’s promise to deliver Him fully from enemies that had resisted him for a long time. The hand of Saul had been neutralized and nullified. The Philistine giants, all of the line of Goliath, had been dispatched and defeated. Everywhere David looked he saw the consummation of many years of contending for complete victory.
When all this occurred, David did what he always did—he lifted his voice in passion-filled praise for the God he loved and trusted (II Sam. 22). David’s life was a pattern of perpetual praise. He praised in the midst of trouble, and he praised in the midst of triumph. He praised when he was laid low, and he praised when he was lifted high. He praised when success seemed impossible, and he praised when success was his precious possession.
Through praise, David was able to see the Mighty Deliverer—making him confident he would be divinely delivered. Through praise, David was able to see the Powerful Protector—making him confident he would be divinely protected. Through praise, David was able to see the Abundant Provider—making him confident he would be divinely provided for. And through praise, David was able to see the Eternal King—making him confident that his future was safe and secure in Him.
What is praise? The primary Hebrew word for praise,halal,has to do with extolling (lifting up and showing forth) God’s incomparable virtues; to commend, to boast, to shine, to celebrate with adoration and abandon. In Psalm 145:2, David states his intention to unashamedly and ongoingly praise the greatness and goodness of God forever. Praise to God is something that is pronounced and strong—fully committed to Him as the focus of devotion and faith, and fully convinced of His greatness and power. There are numerous words in Hebrew for praise, but they all point to an outward and overt outpouring of honor for the Living God. Praise is a righteous action that flows from a reverent attitude.
Why is praise important? In Psalm 145:4, David declares the importance of one generation giving praise to God to an emerging generation. The Hebrew word used there is shabach, which is an outer proclamation unto an inner peace; to address in aloud tone, to commend, to exclaim with excitement and assurance. In Psalm 63, on the run from Saul in the wilderness, David says, my lips shall praise (shabach) you. This is a powerful word. It is praise that leads to being pacified and peaceful before God. In David’s life, appropriate praise for the Awesome God enabled him to appropriate a peace that soothed and settled his soul. Praise is important because God is worthy of all honor and glory. And praise is important because we are in need of a proper perspective on who God is and who we are in Him and through Him.
How do we praise? David titles his public tribute to God in Psalm 145 as a tehillah. Tehillah is a public display of praise for another, especially in strong song, lifted passionately and powerfully. According to Psalms 149 and 150, we are to praise God with shouts, singing, playing instruments, dancing, clapping, raising our hands, bowing and lying prostrate before Him. We praise God with every outward and open expression we have at our disposal. Inward reverence and gratitude become an outward release of great praise for our Great God. We praise God for who He is and what He’s done, and we praise one another for receiving and releasing the work of God in us and through us.
Remember: A people purposefully preoccupied with God’s praise is a people prepared for revival—an unprecedented outpouring of the Holy Spirit’s person presence, power, and provision.