The Missing Prayer (Pt 2)
By George Iskander
Why is praise so important?
By God’s grace, after reading this, we can all endeavor to make praise a part of our daily prayer.
+ Praise in the most selfless form of prayer
It has nothing to do with asking, or taking, it’s all about giving and offering. Classed by many of the church fathers as the highest level of prayer.
- A. Russel in his book, The Power of Praise, says:
Praise is the form of prayer which recognizes most immediately that God is God. It lauds God for his own sake and gives him glory, quite beyond what he does, but simply because HE IS. It shares in the blessed happiness of the pure of heart who love God in faith before seeing him in glory. By praise, the Spirit is joined to our spirits to bear witness that we are children of God, testifying to the only Son in whom we are adopted and by whom we glorify the Father. Praise embraces the other forms of prayer and carries them toward him who is its source and goal: the “one God, the Father, from whom are all things and for whom we exist (1 Cor 8:6)
+ Praise is a source of blessing, reward and comfort
God loves His creation to praise Him, to acknowledge Him, to appreciate Him…consider this, if you are not a parent, try and picture yourself as one; nothing would make you happier and feel more loved than hearing your child telling you, you are the best dad/mum in in world, and knowing they see you as the strongest person in the world, and that they feel safe that you’re in control of their lives.
Try see the rewards and blessings that come with attending the Holy Psalmody (Tasbeha), which is a strong source of praise.
Praise allows you to have God’s greatest resound in your heart and mind. If you find yourself in a scary, stressful situation, one thing that will calm you down and comfort you is praise.
One time, a friend and I found ourselves caught in a rip and we were 100s of metres from the shoreline but managed to stay together, we tried to swim back, but our efforts were futile and exhausted us. Eventually being so far out and realizing the waters depth, we began to think of the concept of sharks and other sea creatures which made us increasingly more nervous. After exhausting all physical and practical effort, my friend and I turned to God and decided to start praying. We tried thanking God for our situation but it was a bit tough and really hard to mean it due to our rising fears, so we didn’t get much comfort from that. Finally some verses of the Holy psalmody came to me where we sing “Praise the lord the O Seas and Rivers” “Bless the Lord all the winds” “Bless the Lord all things that move in the waters” We lined our boards together and started praising God saying that He was the powerful creator of the universe and everything is under His control, even the weird shadows we saw moving below us. Before we knew it we were both calm and found ourselves back at shore.
+ Praise helps you truly love God and teaches humility
What helps us to love our parents, spouses or friends? Usually when we think of their kindness, selflessness or other great qualities, it reminds us of why we love them
If we keep reminding ourselves of God’s great characteristics as the powerful architect of the universe that sent His Son to save us, it makes us love Him more, and in turn grants us humility by realizing how small we are in comparison.
+ It is the language of heaven
What is heaven but continual praising of God – in fact angels exist in heaven for this very purpose. If we do not enjoy the praise of God on earth, how can we enjoy it in heaven? There is a pure joy that comes with true praise, which gives us a taste of heaven on earth.
St Basil the great says:
The work of praising attracts the service of the Angels because this is a function of their existence. Thus they come closer to those who imitate in their ways.
St. Basil also goes on to say that liturgical music in particular essential because the liturgy is an imitation of heavenly glory and praise.
Next week, we’ll explore praise in a different light!