What do you mean by "Praise"?

The scene is the same in churches all over.  Every sunday people go to
churches big and small, head to meetings in living rooms and nursing
homes, jails, and many other places to hear someone preach the Word
of God. in these meetings, they sing, they testify, they sit reverently
or shout out "AMEN!" or "Hallelujah" in agreement and support of what
the preacher is saying.  The singers sing, the choirs and bands play.
Each has their own way of doing their church thing.  one thing that
is common in just about all of them is the use of the phrases
"Praise the Lord", "Praise God", "Praise Jesus".  The preacher
says something like "lets all praise the Lord.", and everybody
gets out of their seats, raise their hands and begin to say, sing
chant, and shout things like:  "praise you Lord", "praise Jesus",
"praise God", and so on.  I have to admit that I always thought
that this was somehow just a little silly and a whole lot robotic,
but never said anything about it because it's something you're
supposed to do.  You don't question things like that without
coming off sounding like an unbeliever who is trying to ridicule
God's people and their ways.  So I kept it to myself and just
tried to go along with the program, telling myself that this
was just the devil trying to put doubts and faithlessness in
my mind.  But no matter how hard I tried not to think about
it, the question kept coming back to me "Why do we stand here
repeating 'Praise God' like this?".  recently, I decided to
do what I should have done years ago...
get out my bible and study what God says about the subject.

The first thing I did was get out websters unabridged dictionary
and look up the word praise.  I found two sets of definitions,
as a verb, and as a noun:

PRAISE (v)  1. to value, to appraise; also to esteem; value; prize
                    2. to express approbation of; to laud; extol; commend;
                    3. to win or gain praise or commendation
                    4. to glorify by homage and ascription of perfection.
                        especially in song.  to laud; magnify.

            synonyms: eulogize, celebrate, glorify, magnify

PRAISE (n)  1. the act of praise, or state of being praised;
                        commendation for worth or excellence; approval
                        expressed; honor rendered because of excellence or worth.
                    2. the act of glorifying God or extolling God; worship,
                        worship by song.
                    3. the object, subject, ground, or reason of praise.

                    synonyms: honor, applause, acclaim, commendation

The next thing I did was get out God's Word for windows and
Quickverse 4.0 and found out that the word 'praise' appears in
the king james version  248 times in 216 verses.  This alone
tells me that it's important because the more something is
mentioned in the bible, the more important it is.

Then I got out the strongs concordance and look up the hebrew and greek
words that were translated praise.

where        number   pronunciation  meaning
(old testament)

gen 29:35      3034     yaw-daw      to raise the hands. to revere or
                                                       worship with extended hands.
lev 19:24      1974     hil-lool           a celebration of thanksgiving for
judges 5:2     1288     baw-rak      to kneel, by implication to bless
                                                    God as an act of adoration.
1chron 16:4    1984     haw-lac      to be clear, to shine, to rave,
                                                     celebrate, commend, to make a
                                                     show... boast.
1chron 16:35   8416     teh-hil-law  laudation, a hymn - praise
psalm 21:13    2167     zaw-mar      to touch the strings or parts
                                                       of a musical instrument, to play
                                                       upon it, to make music, accompanied
                                                       by the voice... to celebrate in
                                                      song and music: give praise, sing
                                                      forth praises, psalms
(new testament)

Matt 21:16     136    ah'ee-nos            a story, used in the sense of 1868
Luke 19:37     134    ahee-neh-o         from 136 to praise God
John  9:24    1391    dox-ah                glory, dignity, honor, praise,
Rom   2:29    1868    ep-ahee-nos      laudation, a commendable thing -
1Cor 11:2     1867    ep-ahee-neh-o   to applaud, commend, laud, praise
Heb   2:12    5214    hoom-neh-o        to hymn, to sing a religious ode,
                                                           by implication to celebrate God in
Heb  13:15     133    ahee-nes-is          praising (the act), a thank offering

In digesting all this, I cannot help but come to the conclusion that
an awful lot of us have somehow missed the point...

For example, if my wife were to go out of her way to make something for
dinner that I really liked, and took the time and trouble to make it
just perfect, and I absolutely loved what she made how would I praise
her for that?   Would I stand there saying "Praise Lura, Praise Lura"?
or when telling my friends about it would i start saying "praise Lura,
Praised be Lura's cooking"?  Of course not!!  She and my friends to whom
I did this would likely think I was a little off.  At best, she would
understand my intent, and wonder "Why doesn't he just tell me how much
he likes it?"  and my friends would understand much better if i were to
tell them what she did for me, and how great it was and how much i love
her for doing that for me when she didn't have to.

Likewise, when I see people saying "Praise God" and "Praise Jesus"
and the like, I can just picture God chuckling and shaking his head
saying "I really appreciate their intent, their hearts are in the
right place, but they just don't understand what praise means."

Telling someone about something that God has done for you,
Bragging about how perfectly God has met your needs,
Telling God how much you love him,
Thanking him for what he's done for you, ETC

Things like this and more is what praising God is all about,
in song and in stories, testimony, witnessing, and
thanksgiving.  After all, Christians are not just about being
in our own little corner off by ourselves.  We are about
bringing as many people into the Kingdom as possible.
We are about telling people that God loves them, and wants
nothing less than the best for them by showing them what
He has done for us.  The best praise is that which helps someone
come to the cross and give themselves to Jesus.  Standing
in church repeating "Praise God" may express to God how we
feel, but it doesn't do much for the unsaved.  But telling
them of the great and mighty things He has done for us is
another matter entirely... it can lead souls to salvation.
and it TRULY magifies God and gives him glory.

Take a few minutes to talk to God about it,
you'll be glad you did.

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