What does it truly mean to praise God? What is happening in that act?

Does God want our praise because God is lacking in affirmation or needs a confidence boost?

Could it be that it was our spiritual needs that God had in mind when commanding us to practice praise and to “give thanks in all circumstances”?

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The one who enters in the Lord’s name is blessed; we bless all of you from the Lord’s house. The Lord is God! He has shined a light on us! So lead the festival offering with ropes all the way to the horns of the altar. You are my God— I will give thanks to you! You are my God— I will lift you up high! Give thanks to the Lord because he is good, because his faithful love lasts forever.

Psalm 118:26-29

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God is “forever love” and so much more. God is present, attentive, and engaged in every detail of our lives. As the psalmist writes, God’s “faithful love lasts forever.” Some translations say “steadfast love” – which means unwavering and sure.

When I consider that word, steadfast, I think of cost – the cost of truly loving someone. When I was a young man, in high school and college, I made some bad decisions. These decisions affected me and my family. My reckless behavior hurt my parents. Yet, despite my misdeeds, they still loved me dearly.

Sadly, we don't all have parents like that, but we do all have a Perfect Parent in heaven who loves us that way. “Forever love” is God’s nature, and beyond that, God’s love is steadfast, enduring all of our mistakes. Having lived that truth, I can join with the psalmist to honor our amazing God by saying, “You are my God— I will give thanks to you! You are my God— I will lift you up high!”

Wade Griffith

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God, thank you for what you do, but more importantly, thank you for who you are. Thank you for loving me so extravagantly. Help me to learn to love like you love. Amen.

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Maybe true praise is less in the singing and more in the doing.

Does God want another song to rise from your lips, or would God prefer an act of costly obedience to come from your hands, feet, or mouth?

Forget the palm branches today and instead commit to giving God the palms of your hands!

Wade Griffith

Wade Griffith is a husband, father and pastor in Birmingham, AL. He attended divinity school at Vanderbilt University and leads an inclusive church that warmly welcomes those who are not accepted in other faith communities. When he has a free moment, he enjoys backpacking, reading, running, gardening, Alabama football, and wrestling with his boys.

Reflections on the Way: Lord, I want to be a Christian - This is My Father's World

Ken Medema

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