Praying In Praise.
Pr Edi Giudetti
The fourth instalment in the series on Prayer is that of praise, an element often neglected, but grows all the more wonderful as we read his word. It is through prayer we become joyful witnesses of the Lord, and what a joy it is to love him.
In my first sermon on the topic of Prayer I mentioned four categories of how prayer blesses those whose petitions are heard of the Lord, I said;
“that prayer is vital for our Confidence, our Faith, our Joy and our Witness.”
Praise is a form of prayer that has its hand in all four of these categories.
It renders to the Lord that which is due him and in turn it brings to us a revival of all four of those blessings noted above.
It inspires confidence in the Lord; as we praise the Lord it returns to us the knowledge that he is worthy of all our praise, that he is all that we worship him for, and that through him there is life in abundance.
It wonderfully increases our faith, because again our soul is reminded of all he is and does and will do. We see him through his word and we trust his word is sure and in that we praise him for all his wonderful works.
How can the increase of our confidence and the increase of our faith in the Lord not lead to a natural increase in joy? It is through these things that James can state with all certainly “My brethren, count it all joy when ye fall into divers temptations; 3 Knowing this, that the trying of your faith worketh patience. 4 But let patience have her perfect work, that ye may be perfect and entire, wanting nothing.” (James 1:2-4).
When it comes to temptations or trials, James uses the word “When” and that is not by accident, the trials we currently endure are to bring about patience and faith.
To praise God when you are going through trials, to praise him trusting he is in control, to praise him knowing his will will be done and you have nothing but joy through it, to praise him as you stand apart from this world and know he is watching and blessing you, beloved, this cannot be BUT witnessed by the world.
You will personally experience this as true when those who are in the world, struggling with the direction of the world, look to you and “asketh you a reason of the hope that is in you with meekness and fear” (1 Pet 3:15)
Today, as we witness the world form into that final kingdom, what an opportunity to set ourselves apart and show to the world the wonderful joy of the Lord and all that he blesses us in and through.
What an opportunity to praise him as his word comes alive before our eyes.
Now, beloved, there are SO MANY examples of praise in the Bible that we could spend decades going through them all. The Psalms are essentially Songs that are identified in a diverse number of categories, we have already looked at a number of them when going through the Treasury of David;
We looked at:
- The Messianic Psalms
- The Penitential Psalms (Psalms of Repentance)
- The Imprecatory Psalms
- The Apocalyptic Psalms
But there are also The Praise Psalms, or Psalms of Thanksgiving, as you read them it’s impossible not to be able to identify them, and as you climb from Psalm 100 through to 150, they seem to stand out all the more.
Those Praise Psalms however are broken up into two distinct Categories, National and Personal.
We do see very clearly national and personal praises to the Lord found in the Psalms, but as I said, Praise is a form of prayer and so we will find individuals in the Bible praying praise to the Lord.
This morning I will demonstrate two of them, one can be considered the first national Prayer or Praise, the other is the first personal prayer of praise.
One by Moses, the other by Hannah, the mother of the prophet/priest Samuel
In giving consideration to these two individuals, we will also find direct correlation to that which we see in the Psalms of Praise.
My aim this morning will be to attend to these two portions of scripture as a running commentary that links directly to the Psalms of Praise in the hope to encourage you to Pray in Praise.
Turn to Exodus 15.
The context of the passage before us sees the Exodus of the people of Israel out of Egypt.
400 odd years earlier they entered the land of Egypt as a Nation, now some four hundred years later they exit as a nation.
At least 2 million souls witnessed the wonder of God first hand, the plagues upon their enemies and the hand of God upon his people. 2 Million souls witnessed the parting of the Red Sea, a wall of water high up on their right hand and a wall of water high up on their left hend.
2 Million souls watched as the Egyptians pursued after them into the sea, they watched as the Egyptians themselves saw that the Lord fought for them and took off the wheels of their chariots, desiring rather to flee from the face of Israel. But Moses again lifted up his hands and the waters came onto the army of Pharoah with not one of them remaining.
History tells us of the invasion of the Hyskos people who came into and took over Egypt without a battle, the only explanation is that there was no army to trouble them.
Now Moses sings this song of Praise to the Lord.
1 Then sang Moses and the children of Israel this song unto the LORD, and spake, saying, I will sing unto the LORD, for he hath triumphed gloriously: the horse and his rider hath he thrown into the sea. 2 The LORD is my strength and song, and he is become my salvation: he is my God, and I will prepare him an habitation; my father’s God, and I will exalt him. 3
Psalm 106:12 tells us of this event saying, “then believed they his words; they sang his praise”.
How can we not sing when the Lord is so evident to us? How can we not praise him when his work in us brings to us such joy? HE is our strength and thereby he is our song.
Psalm 102:18 This shall be written for the generation to come: And the people which shall be created shall praise the Lord
The LORD is a man of war: the LORD is his name. 4 Pharaoh’s chariots and his host hath he cast into the sea: his chosen captains also are drowned in the Red sea. 5 The depths have covered them: they sank into the bottom as a stone. 6 Thy right hand, O LORD, is become glorious in power: thy right hand, O LORD, hath dashed in pieces the enemy. 7 And in the greatness of thine excellency thou hast overthrown them that rose up against thee: thou sentest forth thy wrath, which consumed them as stubble.
The people placed their trust in the Lord, the nation put their lives in Gods hands and he delivered them.
Psalm 17:7 says “Shew thy marvellous lovingkindness, O thou that savest by thy right hand them which put their trust in thee From those that rise up against them.”
There is a certainty beloved, that the enemies of the Lord and the enemies of those who love the Lord CANNOT endure for ever, they will be dealt with and the nation that Loves God will go on to exalt him and praise him for all eternity.
Psalm 28:5-7 Because they regard not the works of the Lord, Nor the operation of his hands, He shall destroy them, and not build them up. 6 Blessed be the Lord, because he hath heard the voice of my supplications. 7 The Lord is my strength and my shield; My heart trusted in him, and I am helped:
Therefore my heart greatly rejoiceth; And with my song will I praise him.
Exodus 15 Continued
8 And with the blast of thy nostrils the waters were gathered together, the floods stood upright as an heap, and the depths were congealed in the heart of the sea. 9 The enemy said, I will pursue, I will overtake, I will divide the spoil; my lust shall be satisfied upon them; I will draw my sword, my hand shall destroy them. 10 Thou didst blow with thy wind, the sea covered them: they sank as lead in the mighty waters. 11 Who is like unto thee, O LORD, among the gods? who is like thee, glorious in holiness, fearful in praises, doing wonders?
They enemy makes his plans, prepares his wares, sharpens his arrows, draws the string and shoots, but it’s the Lord who guides its flight.
Prov 19:21 says “ There are many devices in a man’s heart; nevertheless the counsel of the LORD, that shall stand.”
There is a multitude of ways the Lord can turn about the prospects of the wicked and all of them are available to him. His hands are never shortened by the craftiness of men
Psalm 135:7-10 He causeth the vapours to ascend from the ends of the earth; he maketh lightnings for the rain; he bringeth the wind out of his treasuries. 8 Who smote the firstborn of Egypt, both of man and beast. 9 Who sent tokens and wonders into the midst of thee, O Egypt, upon Pharaoh, and upon all his servants. 10 Who smote great nations, and slew mighty kings;
There are NO Limitations for God and we praise him. We stand on the side of the Lord, and though we be troubled within and though there are fighting’s without, and though we do not even have the strength to hold to our faith, If we believe not, yet he abideth faithful: he cannot deny himself. 2 Tim 2:13
Exodus 15 Continued;
12 Thou stretchedst out thy right hand, the earth swallowed them. 13 Thou in thy mercy hast led forth the people which thou hast redeemed: thou hast guided them in thy strength unto thy holy habitation. 14 The people shall hear, and be afraid: sorrow shall take hold on the inhabitants of Palestina. 15 Then the dukes of Edom shall be amazed; the mighty men of Moab, trembling shall take hold upon them; all the inhabitants of Canaan shall melt away. 16 Fear and dread shall fall upon them; by the greatness of thine arm they shall be as still as a stone; till thy people pass over, O LORD, till the people pass over, which thou hast purchased.
The reputation of God is not absent from the world of wicked men. The only way they think to overcome him is by ignoring him, but SORROW will come upon them in the end.
There are none who take courage in evil today and die in their sin, that will have such a terror overcome them but have no place to hide from him.
Psalm 68:1-3: Let God arise, let his enemies be scattered: let them also that hate him flee before him. 2 As smoke is driven away, so drive them away: as wax melteth before the fire, so let the wicked perish at the presence of God. 3 But let the righteous be glad; let them rejoice before God: yea, let them exceedingly rejoice.
Lets not make the mistake of thinking the rulers of the world are our enemies, they are the enemies of the Lord and hate him and his ways.
Job gives a good description of their attitude to God saying; “Therefore they say unto God, Depart from us; for we desire not the knowledge of thy ways” Job 21:14
But they will be visited in time, the Lord will have his way and his enemies will fear with utmost terror, we are told they will hide themselves in the dens and in the rocks of the mountains and say “to the mountains and rocks, Fall on us, and hide us from the face of him that sitteth on the throne, and from the wrath of the Lamb: 17 For the great day of his wrath is come; and who shall be able to stand? (Rev 6:16-17)
But this prayer of praise of Moses goes on to conclude the blessing of the Lord upon those who are his’
17 Thou shalt bring them in, and plant them in the mountain of thine inheritance, in the place, O LORD, which thou hast made for thee to dwell in, in the Sanctuary, O Lord, which thy hands have established. 18 The LORD shall reign for ever and ever. 19 For the horse of Pharaoh went in with his chariots and with his horsemen into the sea, and the LORD brought again the waters of the sea upon them; but the children of Israel went on dry land in the midst of the sea.
In a national sense, God is to be praised corporately. As far as the people of the Lord is concerned, we all will share in the glory of God and not one of us will be left short of the joy that will come.
Our Prayer of Praise is both in the knowledge of what he HAS DONE and in the promise of what hi WILL DO.
The enemies of God may laugh now, they may scheme now, but there will be bitterness in the latter end.
It is this Prayer of Praise that brings to us confidence of a future glory.
It is this Prayer of Praise that Increases our faith as we remind ourselves of all that was past and all that is to come.
It is this Prayer of Praise that brings corporate joy and our joy will not make us ashamed, but more so, because this is an example of a NATIONAL prayer of praise, it means that the same joy you have in Christ can be an encouragement to others who share in Christ.
This National Praise is not a personal one that applies ONLY to you, but a corporate one that is shared with all those who love the LORD. As such, WE are encouraged together, and as we are;
Our Prayer of Praise becomes a common WITNESS to the lost.
But when we suffer we also suffer personally, as such we have Prayers of Praise that are personal.
Hannah praised the Lord.
Turn to, 1 Samuel 2:1-10
The context is seen in the first chapter.
Hannah is the wife of Elkanah, she was one of two wives. Her burden was for a son to bless her home. Elkanah’s other wife had children, both sons and daughters and she provoked Hannah greatly, and provoked her to tears.
Hannah went up to the house of the Lord and in bitterness of soul, prayed to the Lord and vowed a vow, that if the Lord may give her a son, she would give him to the Lord all the days of his life.
The prayer she prayed was in her heart, her complaint to the Lord was in silence, only her lips moved.
Well the Lord gave her request and blessed her with a son.
Chapter two begins with her prayer of praise after she had weaned the child and Lent him to the Lord, fulfilling her VOW which she vowed to lend the child to the Lord all his days.
1 And Hannah prayed, and said, My heart rejoiceth in the LORD, mine horn is exalted in the LORD: my mouth is enlarged over mine enemies; because I rejoice in thy salvation.
There is a blessing that comes to the heart of one who knows their prayer has been heard. They cannot help but rejoice.
Psalm 18:2-3 shows more evidence of this personal Prayer of Praise, it is from the pen of David after he was delivered from the hands of all his enemies and Saul the king;
2 The LORD is my rock, and my fortress, and my deliverer; my God, my strength, in whom I will trust; my buckler, and the horn of my salvation, and my high tower. 3 I will call upon the LORD, who is worthy to be praised: so shall I be saved from mine enemies.
2 There is none holy as the LORD: for there is none beside thee: neither is there any rock like our God.
When you have chosen the Lord individually, when you have set him as the ONLY source of your hope and joy, you come to praise him for who he is and nothing can disappoint you.
Psalm 73:25 Whom have I in heaven but thee? and there is none upon earth that I desire beside thee.
Imagine for a moment that your ONLY desire was for the Lord, that there are none upon the earth that can compare with your desire for the Lord; no person, no career, no event, no opportunity, no thing at all. How can you EVER be disappointed?
1 Sam 2:3 Talk no more so exceeding proudly; let not arrogancy come out of your mouth: for the LORD is a God of knowledge, and by him actions are weighed. 4 The bows of the mighty men are broken, and they that stumbled are girded with strength.
Psalm 12:3-4. The LORD shall cut off all flattering lips, and the tongue that speaketh proud things: 4 Who have said, With our tongue will we prevail; our lips are our own: who is lord over us?
Beloved there may indeed be times when the proud and the arrogant boast themselves;
Ps 94:4-5 How long shall they utter and speak hard things? and all the workers of iniquity boast themselves? 5 They break in pieces thy people, O LORD, and afflict thine heritage.
But the boasting cannot last, “for the LORD is a God of knowledge”
Ps 94:8 8 Understand, ye brutish among the people: and ye fools, when will ye be wise? 9 He that planted the ear, shall he not hear? he that formed the eye, shall he not see? 10 He that chastiseth the heathen, shall not he correct? he that teacheth man knowledge, shall not he know? 11 The LORD knoweth the thoughts of man, that they are vanity.
1 Sam 2:5 They that were full have hired out themselves for bread; and they that were hungry ceased: so that the barren hath born seven; and she that hath many children is waxed feeble.
In time the opposite comes upon them.
6 The LORD killeth, and maketh alive: he bringeth down to the grave, and bringeth up. 7 The LORD maketh poor, and maketh rich: he bringeth low, and lifteth up. 8 He raiseth up the poor out of the dust, and lifteth up the beggar from the dunghill, to set them among princes, and to make them inherit the throne of glory: for the pillars of the earth are the LORD’S, and he hath set the world upon them.
Hannah’s prayer of praise acknowledges the power of the Lord and all he is able to do. She acknowledges from what has been done to her that the victory and the power is of the Lord and he is worthy to be praised.
He kills and makes alive, he builds and pulls down, he blesses and curses, he is able to lift a shepherd boy to be king over his people and he is able to cause the king of the known word to eat grass like the Oxen till he remembers who it is that rules on high.
Psalm 75:7 says “But God is the judge: he putteth down one, and setteth up another”
We are the meak of the earth, we have trusted in the Lord and not in ourselves, he saves us and not we ourselves. We can do nothing, but in Christ we can do all things.
We can endure trials to come because we have hope in the end, the wicked have no such hope.
Hannah praises him for being able to turn about the fortunes of men and women who trust in him with all patience, waiting on the Lord.
Psalm 113:7-9 says He raiseth up the poor out of the dust, and lifteth the needy out of the dunghill; 8 That he may set him with princes, even with the princes of his people. 9 He maketh the barren woman to keep house, and to be a joyful mother of children. Praise ye the LORD.
1 Sam 2:9 He will keep the feet of his saints, and the wicked shall be silent in darkness; for by strength shall no man prevail.
The preservation of his people is not in their strength but in the promise of the Lord. Jesus said “no man is able to pluck his sheep out of his fathers hand” (Jn 10:29)
Paul wrote that he knew in whom he had believed and “that he is able to keep that which I have committed unto him against that day” (2 Tim 1:12)
But the wicked will not be preserved, according to the words of Hannah, they shall be silent in darkness
Psalm 37:28 “For the LORD loveth judgment, and forsaketh not his saints; they are preserved for ever: but the seed of the wicked shall be cut off.”
10 The adversaries of the LORD shall be broken to pieces; out of heaven shall he thunder upon them: the LORD shall judge the ends of the earth; and he shall give strength unto his king, and exalt the horn of his anointed.
Hannah praises a prophetic word based logically on all that she understands of the righteousness of God.
She sees that the Lord has mercy, but that in the latter end he will be the judge of all the earth. She knows the scriptures written of by Moses and she applies them personally.
There is something to be said about the personal effect of knowing God’s judgement upon the wicked, and that the LORD shall judge the ends of the earth.
Psalm 2:9 says Thou shalt break them with a rod of iron; thou shalt dash them in pieces like a potter’s vessel.
Psalm 21:8-9 praises God saying of the wicked; Thine hand shall find out all thine enemies: thy right hand shall find out those that hate thee. 9 Thou shalt make them as a fiery oven in the time of thine anger: the LORD shall swallow them up in his wrath, and the fire shall devour them.
And Psalm 68:1-4 wonderfully summarises Hannah’s Prayer in Praise saying;
1 Let God arise, let his enemies be scattered: let them also that hate him flee before him. 2 As smoke is driven away, so drive them away: as wax melteth before the fire, so let the wicked perish at the presence of God. 3 But let the righteous be glad; let them rejoice before God: yea, let them exceedingly rejoice. 4 Sing unto God, sing praises to his name: extol him that rideth upon the heavens by his name JAH, and rejoice before him.
There is something interesting in both the National Prayer in Praise and the Personal that is found throughout The Praise Psalms, and that is the exaltation of Gods righteousness, holiness, knowledge and power, seen in both his deliverance of his people and lifting them up on high with hid judgment of the wicked and bringing them low.
We see it in Moses, we see it in Hannah, we see it in David, we see it in Solomon and even in Mary’s own Prayer in Praise in Luke 1:46-55
Turn there with me as we close;
46 And Mary said, My soul doth magnify the Lord, 47 And my spirit hath rejoiced in God my Saviour. 48 For he hath regarded the low estate of his handmaiden: for, behold, from henceforth all generations shall call me blessed. 49 For he that is mighty hath done to me great things; and holy is his name. 50 And his mercy is on them that fear him from generation to generation. 51 He hath shewed strength with his arm; he hath scattered the proud in the imagination of their hearts. 52 He hath put down the mighty from their seats, and exalted them of low degree. 53 He hath filled the hungry with good things; and the rich he hath sent empty away. 54 He hath holpen his servant Israel, in remembrance of his mercy; 55 As he spake to our fathers, to Abraham, and to his seed for ever.
How often do you praise the Lord in your time of prayer?
There is one key to praising him faithfully, you must KNOW HIM!
To KNOW HIM you must be born again and you must be reading his word daily.
If you are not saved by the blood of Christ, you have only to look forward to his firery indignation that is witnessed in each of these Prayers in Praise, you are the subject of that imprecatory portion of praise, you are the subject of his judgement.
But you can certainly become the subject of his blessing and praise him;
- Admit yourself a sinner before him.
- Believe in Jesus Christ whom he has set as a ransom for your sin.
- Call upon the name of the Lord to save you.
To you who are Born Again and who do know him, but rarely praise him;
Why are you not reading his word?
Why are you not daily sitting at the Saviours feet attending to that “good part” which is needful?
You will never praise him unless you know him and you cannot know what to praise him for unless you learn of him in the Bible.
If you think you will be able to comfortably endure the hardships of life without reading his word daily you are sorely mistaken.
And you know I am not speaking about a 15 minute snack wrap in your reading, but taking in the manna of his word like a meal fit for a king.
Unless you are daily reading the Bible you are privileged to own, you will not endure the trials with any comfort or hope without praise, and you cannot praise him unless you know him, you can’t know him unless you read him.
Jesus is coming, the time is short. It may be today, it may be twenty years, but the window for his return is closing, will you be found ready or wanting?