There are a number of Jesus' prayers recorded in Scripture, but only once did He say, "After this manner therefore pray ye:" Jesus left his disciples with just one prayer as an example upon which to base their praying.
The first ten words of this important prayer provide the believer with a biblical foundation for beginning prayer with a season of praise. "Our Father which art in heaven, Hallowed be thy name." 'Hallowed' is from the same root word as 'holy' and 'sanctify'. It means to set apart for a purpose. So our prayer time should include in the first few moments some time to set apart God's name as the object of our worship. During these moments our sole purpose should be to bring God glory with our words. Ps. 50:23a, "Whoso offereth praise glorifieth me..." So the first section on our 'prayer clock' should be praise.
I. What is Praise?
A. It is vocal adoration of God.
1. Adoration is the act of rendering divine honor, esteem, and love.
2. It is derived from the ancient expression that meant 'to apply the hand to the mouth' or 'to kiss the hand'.
3. It certain countries the kiss of the hand is still a symbol of deep respect and submission.
B. The act of vocal adoration is important because it implies that we acknowledge God as God.
1. Ps. 63:3, "Because thy lovingkind- ness is better than life, my lips shall praise thee."
2. Only praise puts God in His rightful position at the very outset of our praying.
3. In praising Him we declare His sovereignty and recognize His nature and power.
C. Praise is important because it is unselfish.
1. The worship of God demands that our focus be shifted from ourselves to God.
2. Too often we go to prayer with only thoughts of what we want and what we need even when we are praying for others!
3. Praise shifts our thoughts from "God I want" to "God you are".
D. Praise is important because it will bring us into the presence of God.
1. Note: 2Chron. 5:13-14
2. The context of these verses concern the dedication of Solomon's temple.
3. When the temple was completed, Solomon brought in all of the various pieces of furniture, including the ark of the covenant, but something was still missing! The presence of God!
4. However, when they began to sing praises unto God the presence of the Lord filled the place!
5. Psalm 22:3, "But thou art holy, O thou that inhabitest the praises of Israel."
II. How to Praise God in Prayer.
A. Praise Him for His name.
1. Ps. 115:1, "Not unto us, O Lord, not unto us, but unto thy name give glory, for thy mercy and for thy truth's sake."
2. Throughout the Old Testament we are given various names for God which point to some attribute or character.
3. In the New Testament we find that His name is the Lord Jesus Christ.
4. Someone once said, "If you want to get in good with God, just brag on His Son!"
B. Praise God for His righteousness.
1. Psalm 35:28, "And my tongue shall speak of thy righteousness and of they praise all the day long."
2. The word 'righteous' means meeting the standards of what is right and just.
3. God does more than meet certain standards...He is the standard!
C. Praise God for His infinite creation.
1. Psalm 150:2, "Praise Him for His mighty acts: praise Him according to His excellent greatness."
2. That means there is no limit for our praise to Him.
3. Our praise can be something different every time we pray!
D. Praise God for His Word.
1. Ps. 56:10, "In God will I praise His word: in the Lord will I praise His word."
2. An excellent outline for praising God for His word is found in Ps. 19:7-9
3. We glorify God and His Word when we use His word to praise Him!
The possibilities for praise stretch beyond the limits of our imagination. Because God has no limit, our praise is limitless. We need to be careful not to get in a hurry and rush past the time of praise in our prayers. We need to allow God to reveal new themes of worship as we praise Him.