I will praise you, O Lord my God, with all my heart. Psalm 86:12
Most of us have little trouble remembering to pray during times of crisis. I certainly called on the Lord the night a burglar startled me out of my sleep and again on the evening that Jim suffered a stroke. We do pretty well at bringing other requests before Him, too. We know that Jesus said, “Ask and you will receive, and your joy will be complete” (John 16:24). These are easy prayer concepts to teach our children.
But our prayerful communication with the Lord has another purpose: worship. After all, God is not a “genie in a bottle” waiting in heaven for us to send a laundry list of needs and wants. He is worthy of our praise and is pleased when we come before Him with humble reverence. He wants to be appreciated, just as we do.
Praise and adoration are not merely “appetizers” in the lives of believers—they are part of the main course. David, who gave us so many wonderful words of praise in the Psalms, put it this way: “Ascribe to the Lord the glory due his name.… Worship the Lord in the splendor of his holiness” (1 Chronicles 16:29).
In the same way, praise and worship are essential to an effective and satisfying life of prayer. When Jesus taught His disciples how to pray, He began with praise: “Our Father in heaven, hallowed be your name” (Matthew 6:9).
Our loving Lord is the sovereign Creator of the universe. He loves us as His own children and has given us every good thing that we have; He is worthy of our praise every moment. Let’s remember to focus on Him when we pray and to teach our children to do the same. It will move us away from being self-centered, filled with worry and distress, to being God-centered, with joy and peace in our hearts.