There isn’t an incorrect way to praise God. He gave us our bodies to glorify and praise Him from the moment we rise in the morning. How you praise God depends on your personality and where you are. Some people praise with music, noise or poetry while others praise by speaking about Him or to Him. The important thing is to praise God with your heart. Even if you can’t move or talk, turning your mind to God and praising Him will lift your spirits and give Him glory.
How you praise God also depends on where you are as you wouldn’t do the same thing in church as you would in your home. As a Christian you can begin and end your day with praise and prayer. All of your daily actions can be offered in praise and love for God.
There are perhaps as many ways of Praising God as human beings on earth and in Heaven. But, in terms of usual practice, we can build altars to him, acknowledge his power with words, such as “majestic in sanctity”, thank God and bless His Holy Name (which means to cover him with thanks and love), we can sprinkle Holy Water on our computers, we can dance in delight to God, we can sing His praises as did David in so many of the Psalms (psalm 35 “I will give you thanks in the great assembly, praise you where the people gather” ), we can create artwork to give Him glory and to depict His works for mankind and to symbolise God’s majesty, we can make Sacred music to give him Glory, we can write Sacred poetry to God the Greatest Poet, we can speak out the awe that God’s actions inspire in us, as in Mary’s Magnificat (Luke 1:46-55), And on a daily basis, a straightforward approach is to say the Office of the Church, such as Lauds, Vespers and Compline, and above all the Holy Mass, which are full of Praises for God.
True to form, Christianity - that is to say: the Body of Christ who is the Word of God - offers us the most paradoxical way: silence.
In the final book of the Bible, Revelation, chapter 8: “The Lamb then broke the seventh seal, and there was silence in heaven for about half an hour.” This silence may or may not include thanksgiving, but it certainly includes awe. Silent awe of God and His works is, in itself, a form of Praise of God.
Psalm 19 says:
“The heavens declare the glory of God,
The vault of heaven proclaims his handiwork,
Day discourses of it to day,
The night to night hands on the knowledge.
No utterance at all, no speech,
Not a sound to be heard,
But from the entire earth the design stands out,
This message reaches the whole world.
May the words of my mouth always find favour,
And the whisperings of my heart,
In your Presence, Yahweh,
My rock, my redeemer.”
One can praise God in song - in music and lyrics, or just in music. Psalm 98: “Sing praises to the Lord with the lyre, with the lyre and the sound of melody!” The Lord is the inspirer of musicians.
We have taken to praising actors and musicians by clapping our hands at a performance, in the same way, we can clap our hands. Isaiah 55:12 says: “For you shall go out in joy, and be led forth in peace; the mountains and the hills before you shall break forth into singing, and all the trees of the field shall clap their hands…”
Psalm 98: “With trumpets and the sound of the horn make a joyful noise before the King, the Lord! Let the sea roar, and all that fills it; ...Let the floods clap their hands”.
Psalm 100: “Make a joyful noise to the Lord, all the lands!”
2 Samuel 6:15 “So David and all the house of Israel brought up the ark of the Lord with shouting and with the sound of the horn.”
Simply the act of telling people about how God works in our life is praise of God and will educate our Christology, our ecclesiology and enhance our love of God as well as, maybe, opening a window into their lives.
Psalm 96 “For great is the Lord, and greatly to be praised...Ascribe to the Lord, O families of the peoples, ascribe to the Lord glory and strength!...Say among the nations, ‘The Lord reigns!’...”
We see this in the Song of Solomon 5:10-13 :
“My beloved is all radiant and ruddy,
distinguished among ten thousand.
His head is the finest gold;
his locks are wavy, black as a raven.
His eyes are like doves
Besides springs of water,
Bathed in milk,
His cheeks are like beds of spices,
His lips are lilies,
Distilling liquid myrrh.”
St John of the Cross, Spanish mystic of the 16th century:
“SUMA DE LA PERFECCIÓN
Olvido de lo criado
Memoria del Criador
Atención a lo interior
Y estarse amando al Amado"
“PEAK OF PERFECTION
All things of the Maker
Forgotten- but not Him;
And loving the Lover.”
Respect is generally shown through our posture, as is attentiveness. But worship, honour and praise are differently shown. Worship is often shown by bowing down, honour by kneeling - with one or two knees to the ground, and praise by raising our hands up high. But the exuberant delight in the Lord which we sometimes feel expresses itself naturally, as king David did, through dance. There is such a thing as “liturgical dance”, which is done to and for God. Naturally, especially for those who cannot make such gestures, the Lord is most attentive to the heart.
Psalm 95:6 : “O come,let us worship and bow down, let us kneel before the Lord, our Maker!”
Psalm 63:4: “So I will bless thee as long as I live; I will lift up my hands and call on thy name.”
2 Samuel 6: 14-22: “And David danced before the Lord with all his might”
Revelation 7:11: “and all the angels stood round the throne and round the elders and the four living creatures, and they fell on their faces before the throne and worshiped God…”
When we talk to God, our humility comes out, since we are listening to Him as we can, and we are addressing Him. Our praise of Him will come out naturally in our conversation, if it is there. Sometimes, our awe of God is so great that we are at a loss for words. In such cases, it is good to be able to use the words of others who have met Him too. God delights also in our awe of His Saints because they are only Saints because they allowed His Grace to operate in them to the full.
2 Samuel 7:22: “Therefore thou art great, O Lord God; for there is none like thee, and there is no God beside thee, according to all that we have heard with our ears.”
There are many words, exclamations and songs of praise in the Mass, in the Office (Morning and Evening prayer for instance), and in the various liturgies of the Church. Reciting, saying or singing these prayers of praise meaningfully is also giving praise to God.
There is, in Christianity, no occasion (other than after committing a sin), for which God cannot be thanked, blessed and praised. We often do so for a particular occasion, therefore, but it is also recommended to praise God at all times. (Psalm 34:1) (1 Thessalonians 5:18 “give thanks in all circumstances for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you.”) Paradoxically, praising is recommended during a “time of testing”, when things seem difficult, painful or even hopeless. God is the Lord of hope and these times can test our faith, but trusting in Him and even praising Him for His care of us at such a time is a way to pass the test, to which martyrs and great Saints give witness.
Daniel, having received the answer to prayer through a night vision, blessed the Lord: “Blessed be the name of God for ever and ever, to whom belong wisdom and might. He changes times and seasons; he removes kings and sets up kings; he gives wisdom to the wise and knowledge to those who have understanding; he reveals deep and mysterious things; he knows what is in the darkness, and the light dwells with him. To thee, O God of my fathers, I give thanks and praise, for thou hast given me wisdom and strength, and hast now made known to me what we asked of thee, for thou hast made known to us the king’s matter.” (book of Daniel: 2: 20-23).
When Nebuchadnezzar decided to throw Shadrach, Meshach, and Abed’nego into the super-heated furnace for not worshipping his gods, it was daytime. Although the servants who had thrown them in were burned to death, the three condemned men “walked about in the midst of the flames, singing hymns to God and blessing the Lord. Then Azariah (formerly Abed’nego who took the name that means “God has helped”) ...in the midst of the fire he opened his mouth and said: “Blessed art thou, O Lord, God of our fathers and worthy of praise; and thy name is glorified for ever…Let them know that thou art the Lord, the only God, glorious over the whole world.” So he was praising God in the middle of their punishment.
As Christians, we are used to thank the Lord and ask for His blessing before meals, the idea of which comes to us from the Jewish faith, and after meals too. There are many versions of these prayers, for instance: “Bless us, Oh Lord, and these thy gifts, which we are about to receive through thy bounty, through Christ Our Lord. Amen”. “We give thee thanks, Almighty God, for all thy benefits, who lives and reigns for ever and ever. May the souls of the departed rest in Peace. Amen.” This is because we are called to the eternal banquet, and each meal can remind us of this.
(There is also a prayer traditionally said byJews on exiting the restroom. It is called the Asher yatzar and is a prayer of thanks to the Lord for good health, and by extension, for the ability to excrete.)
Then the angel of the Lord came into the furnace with them, and made the middle of the furnace “like a moist whistling wind, so that the fire did not touch them at all or hurt or trouble them. Then the three, as with one mouth, praised and glorified and blessed God in the furnace, saying: “Blessed art thou, O Lord, God of our fathers, and to be praised and highly exalted for ever; and blessed is thy glorious, holy name and to be highly praised and highly exalted for ever; Blessed art thou in the temple of thy holy glory and to be extolled and highly glorified for ever….” (Daniel 3:26-68) This is a song of praise which we, now, also use during the morning prayer of the Church (lauds) on the first Sunday, so it begins the regular movement of prayer of the Church towards God.
There is also a more difficult way of Praising God in times of adversity, which is an acknowledgement of His Supremacy, His overarching plan and His love even when we cannot see it. It is by praising him even when things seem to be going wrong.
Because “We know that in everything God works for good with those who love him, who are called according to his purpose.”(Romans 8:28) and “I know that the sufferings of this present time are not worth comparing with the glory that is to be revealed to us” (Romans 8:18)
Because we know that God is love and cares for us deeply and in every detail.
So this moment of praise in adversity is entirely based on faith. “Abraham believed God and it was credited to him as righteousness” (Romans 4, Genesis 15:6,22)
The Holy Mass is a time of reverence where we acknowledge and marvel at the amazing kindness of God, the Holy Trinity in coming down to us in the form of Jesus, second person of the Holy Trinity but also man - Jesus of Nazareth. The meaning of the word Jesus is “God Saves” which says everything about Jesus’ action on earth. We also thank Him for His great Sacrifice to the Glory of God, on our behalf.
In the Mass, the Holy Spirit, having reminded us of God’s gracious action towards humanity, inspires hymns of thanksgiving and praise (the doxology): “Praise to you, Lord Jesus Christ” and “Thanks be to God”. We are also reminded of the fact that the Angels worship the Lord continuously, by the words “Holy, Holy, Holy, Lord God of Hosts, Heaven and Earth are full of your Glory, Hosanna in the Highest!”
There are also times during sleep, such as in dreams or nightmares, when praising God will conquer the situation and enable you to wake up refreshed. This is something one can decide ahead of time and your partially conscious mind will inspire your dream self to praise God. Just saying the Name of Jesus in a dream is enough if it is in reliance on Him.
Hozana offers you many opportunities for prayer. Read and meditate on the daily Gospel with Reading & Meditation of the Daily Gospel. Pray for an outpouring of the Holy Spirit Preparation for an outpouring of the Holy Spirit.