Prayer is a very personal exercise, a life built between an individual and God. Thus, these suggestions may of themselves feel intrusive or foreign to some. However, through the years, I have heard many express some difficulty in knowing how to praise God or what to say in praise to Him when in prayer. Leah, in naming Judah, was the first to articulate the idea (through his name), “I will praise” (Gen. 29:35). Moses resolved the same at the head of his song in Exodus 15:2. The remaining six times the phrase appears, the psalmist pens the words (Ps. 22:22; 35:18; 69:30; 109:30; 145:2; 146:2). Twice in the Psalms we learn that “praise is becoming” (33:1; 147:1). In fact, it makes little sense to make the case for the importance of praise to anyone who professes a belief in God and has seen His blessings and assistance in his or her life.
Having said all of that, what are some specific things one can praise God for in the exercise of prayer?
- Praise Him for His attributes (eternality, limitlessness, superlativeness).
- Praise Him for the wonders of creation (try praying under a starry sky, as the sun is rising, or out in the midst of nature’s beauty—words of praise will flow like water).
- Praise Him for His blessings.
- Praise Him for His sovereignty and superiority.
- Praise Him for His promises.
- Praise Him for His desire to have relationship with you.
- Praise Him for His providence.
- Praise Him for His plan of salvation, giving thought to its component parts.
- Praise Him for the glorious future He has prepared for you.
- Praise Him for the victorious work of Christ and the spiritual benefits that brings you.
Obviously, this is just a primer list of ideas. Contemplate God, His nature, His work, His personality, and you will have an ever-growing, ever-changing, and ever-deepening “praise component” to your prayer life. It is good to thank Him and petition Him, but take sufficient time to exalt Him by infusing your supplications with praise to Him! As David urged Asaph and his relatives to proclaim, “For great is the Lord, and greatly to be praised” (1 Chr. 16:25a). Amen!