By Tyson Thorne

December 26, 2013

Praise large

If the prayer of penitence is most important to our soul, then the prayer of praise is most important for our heart. If the prayer of penitence is hardest on the ego, then the prayer of praise restores one’s self-worth. For praise-prayers are the expression of gratitude and thanksgiving for God having answered our prayers of forgiveness, intercession and preparation.

It is fitting that as we looked to David for a great example of a penitent prayer that we come back to one of his greatest triumphs – a psalm of praise.

“I love you, Lord, my source of strength!

The Lord is my high ridge, my stronghold, my deliverer.

My God is my rocky summit where I take shelter,

my shield, the horn that saves me, and my refuge.

I called to the Lord, who is worthy of praise,

and I was delivered from my enemies.

The waves of death engulfed me,

the currents of chaos overwhelmed me.

The ropes of Sheol tightened around me,

the snares of death trapped me.

In my distress I called to the Lord;

I cried out to my God.

From his heavenly temple he heard my voice;

he listened to my cry for help.

Unlike all other forms of prayer, praise makes no requests of God. It acknowledges all of God’s greatness, his attributes, his loving care, guidance and provision. It revere’s his power, extols his virtue and likens his qualities to the very best of creation.

The contrast of praise with penitence continues as a praise-prayer replaces the humility of confession with the joys of God’s love. We understand how much God loves us, and how important that love is, when we focus our attention on the one we serve. But the two forms also have much in common. One points to God’s willingness to forgive, while the later points to his power to save.

By keeping these types of prayer in mind we are on the road to a more satisfying prayer life and, more importantly, able to build more connections between ourselves and the lover of our souls.

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