Enter . . . his courts with praise. Psalm 100:4
Praise is response to greatness. That’s why the Bible tells us to “enter his courts with praise . . . and bless his name” (Ps. 100:4). God is to be approached with praise, applause, and acclaim. His worthiness demands our praise. His grace calls for praise. God loves praise!
God lives in the midst of non-ceasing praise in heaven. But did you know that praise is God’s “address” on Earth—that praise is His dwelling place? The psalmist declared God holy and went on to say that God inhabits the praises of Israel. God is enthroned, and He dwells amid the praises of the saints. So praise is God’s address—it’s where He lives. He makes His abode where people magnify, exalt, celebrate, and bless His name. Wherever we find heartfelt praise, we will find the Lord there as well. He resides in praise. “Thou art holy, O thou that inhabitest the praises of Israel” (Ps. 22:3).
Revival has been described as heaven kissing Earth. In times of revival, there is first conviction; then comes confession, followed by cleansing; and finally, there is celebration. Whenever God shows up and shows off, we always find unbridled praise. I have heard it said that revival happens when God gets weary of being misrepresented, so He takes the field personally to clear up the discrepancies. In the aftermath of such a display of power, God’s people are swept away in a sea of praise. This is exactly what we would expect, because praise is a response to greatness. When God manifests Himself, His children sing out His praise.
Through praise God reveals Himself to those who worship Him. C. S. Lewis said, “We delight to praise what we enjoy.” The presence of God is a place of incredible delight: “In thy presence is fulness of joy; at thy right hand there are pleasures for evermore” (Ps. 16:11). Satisfaction, gladness, and delight are found in the courts of the Lord. God’s manifest presence brings unspeakable enjoyment. Our faces should not look like a reprint of the book of Lamentations at church. If they do, we need facelifts! There are some 550 references to joy and rejoicing in the Bible. Our God is a supremely happy God. His very presence emanates joy. Redemption equips us to enjoy God, not endure Him. Peter Anderson said, “The best atmosphere for prayer is praise.” The courts of heaven provide joy as we taste and see that the Lord is good. We might say that praise is a foretaste of glory divine. Employing the praise protocol prepares us for intercession.
It’s past time for God’s people to enter the arena of corporate praise with excitement and joy. Of all people, the redeemed have more reasons than anyone else to rejoice. The psalmist exhorts, “Let the high praises of God be in their mouth” (Ps. 149:6). Have you ever watched the spectacle that occurs at some football games? It might be twenty-two degrees below zero, but fans rip off their shirts, paint their bodies, dye their hair strange colors, and jump around and scream like maniacs in support of their home teams. And nobody thinks this is out of place! Surely if we are redeemed, we have the right to praise the Lord! One reason many conservative churches have died is because all the enthusiasm and fire have been purged out of the services. I am not advocating hype or manipulation, but praising the Lord is meant to be a joyful, life-giving, and expectant experience.
Instead of counting our bruises, we should try counting our blessings. “Let us offer the sacrifice of praise to God continually, that is, the fruit of our lips giving thanks to his name” (Heb. 13:15). We should think of the sacrifice of praise as a thank offering. It is our choice to give thanks continually and constantly. What a difference a grateful heart makes in our perspective. “A drop of praise is an unsuitable acknowledgement for an ocean of mercy,” said William Secker.
When men cease to praise God as they should, they begin to praise one another excessively. I travel and speak in many places. I am often amused how strangers introduce me. Though they have never met me, they often spout off a string of accolades, and I wonder who they are talking about. If my wife is with me, I say to her, “Are you listening? Do you know how fortunate you are to have me as your husband?” Ha! The undue praise of men evidences a deficient praise of God. David said, “My soul shall make her boast in the Lord” (Ps. 34:2). God alone deserves our praise.
Praise will be our chief employment in heaven. The book of Revelation gives us a preview of heaven’s activities. The four and twenty elders cry, “Thou art worthy, O Lord, to receive glory and honour and power: for thou hast created all things, and for thy pleasure they are and were created” (Rev. 4:11). If praise will be our chief employment in heaven, we should make it our noblest work while on Earth.
Every worship service is choir practice for heaven. If we find it difficult to praise the Lord for what’s going on in our lives, then we should praise Him for what is yet to be! As someone once told me, we should praise God when we feel like it or until we feel like it. The praise protocol is a happy protocol.
- Praise is God’s dwelling place—His address. God inhabits praise.
- “We delight to praise what we enjoy” (C. S. Lewis).
- Since praise will be our chief employment in heaven, we should make it our noblest work while on Earth.
- Our praise of God is independent of our emotions. Feelings come, and feelings go. We should pray in line with the unchangeable facts instead of our changing moods.
- Develop a faith outlook. Until God opens the next door, praise Him in the hallway! Spend time now blessing God’s name.
- Stop counting your bruises, and start counting your blessings. Take time to enumerate your blessings.
- Always worship God before your petitions and intercessions. The model prayer instructs us to address God’s concerns first: His name, His kingdom, and His will. Then pray for provision (daily bread), forgiveness, and deliverance from the evil one.
- If all your sins have been cast into the bottom of the sea, surely you should employ the praise protocol daily.
Taken from “Approaching God‘s Throne: Biblical Protocols for Prayer”. CLICK HERE to learn more about the book and accompanying VIDEO SERIES.