Are you the “get to the point quickly” type of person, even when I pray? Does it feel unnatural for you to use beautiful, fancy words in your prayers? As a Christ follower, I understand that the point of prayer is to commune with God, not just to share my list of requests. One way to commune with God is to offer him words of adoration and praise.
If you have struggled to come up with words of praise on you own, this may help jumpstart your prayers with praise by using the following techniques:
- Reading from scripture – The Bible is full of examples of praise to God that we can simply read out loud as a start to prayer. For instance, Psalm 117 says, “Praise the Lord, all you nations; extol him, all you peoples. For great is his love toward us, and the faithfulness of the Lord endures forever. Praise the Lord.” For other ideas, see Psalm 100, Psalm 150, Ephesians 3:14-21 and Revelation 4:11, to name a few.
- Singing praise songs – Words of worship sung to God help us focus our mind and heart on him. Listening to praise music is helpful, but it’s even better to sing along. I think it indicates a humbleness of our spirit and helps open up the channel of communication. Even if you’re not much of a singer, God will be pleased anyway. (Psalm 135:3 “Praise the Lord, for the Lord is good; sing praise to his name, for that is pleasant.”)
- Effective Daily prayer – Effective prayer cannot be reduced to a magic formula. God does not respond to our requests because we have the right ritual. He is more interested in our hearts than in our words. John Bunyan, author of Pilgrim’s Progress, said, “In prayer it is better to have a heart without words than words without a heart.”
- Studying the names and character traits of God – Learning the various names for God and his character traits has helped me better understand who God is and why he is worthy of our praise. For example, God is the Creator (Elohim), the Lord (Adonai) and the Lord My Shepherd (Jehovah-Raah). He is the essence of love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, etc. (fruit of the Spirit, Galatians 5:22-23). He can also be described as humble, generous, wise, and merciful.
- Remembering God’s help – The Bible tells us to remember God’s past actions (Isaiah 46:9). Based on my past experiences with God, I often think of him as my provider (Jehovah-Jireh) and my protector. Others may have a personal experience with God as their source of comfort, love or healing. How natural for us to then praise God that he is faithful, mighty, loving, and Kind.