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In the Lord’s Prayer, praise comes first.  Our prayers should follow that pattern.  Praise is giving God the adoration of our hearts simply for who He is.  It is expressing to God His worth.  The Old English root of the word “worship” is “worth-ship.”

 

We find voicing our praises aloud to be a helpful exercise, particularly toward concentrating.  Forming the words with our lips and listening to what we are saying give reality and depth to our expressions of praise.  We may borrow from the words of the Psalms, making them our own.  Or we may sing or read hymns from the “praise” section of a hymnal or sing along with praise selections on a record or tape.  Whatever way is most natural and meaningful to us, we tell the Lord that we love and adore Him.

 

REMEMBER AND REJOICE WITH THANKSGIVING

 

“Come, let us sing for joy to the Lord; let us shout aloud to the rock of our salvation.  Let us come before Him with thanksgiving and extol Him with music and song” (Ps. 95:1-2).

 

Perhaps nothing so grieves the heart of God as the sin of ingratitude.  We need to say to ourselves often, as did David, “Praise the Lord, O my soul, and forget not all His benefits” (Ps. 103:2).

 

Thanksgiving is a form of praise.  After focusing on who God is, we recall what He has done in the spiritual, physical, social, and occupational areas of our lives.

 

ACKNOWLEDGE SINS, ASK FORGIVENESS

 

“For the sake of your name, O Lord, forgive my iniquity, though it is great” (Ps. 25:11).

Looking at God’s character and His good acts toward us awakens us to our sinfulness.  We need to confess our sins with humility and sorrow.  We need to acknowledge that we have broken God’s Law and offended Him by failing to respond to His love or to meet the needs of others.  We should ask the Lord to forgive us and to reveal hidden areas in our lives that are unsurrendered (Ps. 139:23-24).  Then we can claim a new promise, “If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just, and will forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness” (1 John 1:9).

 

YIELD TO GOD’S GUIDANCE

 

“Search me, O God, and know my heart; test me and know my anxious thoughts.  See if there is any offensive way in me, and lead me in the way everlasting” (Ps. 139:23-24).

 

True confession includes more than sorrow for sin.  It involves a sincere intention to turn from our sin.  Such change requires the power of the Holy Spirit, and He can change us as we yield ourselves to Him.  In this final phase of our praise time, we yield everything we have to God presenting ourselves as a “living sacrifice” to Him so that we can be transformed by the renewing of our minds (Rom. 12:1-2).

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