In our efforts to seek to encounter God and experience his presence, we start by taking a posture of humility and with an attitude of receiving and requesting. For more on what that looks like, check out 30 Days of Prayer – Prayer Posture. For today, we want to take another step toward experiencing the presence of God by adding prayers of praise.
There are three reasons to always begin your times of prayer with praise and thanksgiving.
- Starting with praise is the example we see throughout Scripture, especially in the Psalms. The book of Psalms can be thought of as a prayer manual of sorts. Read through it and you’ll find many of them begin with praise. Psalm 100 even instructs us in verse 4, to “Enter his gates with thanksgiving and his courts with praise; give thanks to him and praise his name.”
- Beginning with praise also helps solidify the posture of humility that we’ve taken. By verbally praising God, we are acknowledging to ourselves and the spiritual world that we are surrendered to him. That he is the one who is good and true, the one who is worthy of our praise and adoration. It’s a good idea to give this praise out loud. Something happens when we hear our own voice speaking. Our brains more readily believe the information we’re saying, causing us to be more confident in that information. By declaring out loud that God is good, that we can trust him, that he’s strong and mighty, we are actually helping to convince ourselves of those truths. This leads to a more natural posture of surrender and humility opening the door for God to lead.
- Praising God out loud helps to prepare the spiritual atmosphere. We’ll talk more about this in a few weeks when we look at the role of prayer in Spiritual Warfare. For now, just know that by declaring the truth about God out loud, you are breaking spiritual barriers that the enemy has tried to put between you and God and establishing an open line of communication for you to hear him and receive from him.
For the next few days, continue to practice your prayer posture. You can use this as an example:
Heavenly Father, I come to you now to receive from you the grace, mercy, love and life I need this day. I thank you for the new life you’ve given to me and I surrender myself to you to receive that life. I give you all that I am, my spirit, soul and body my heart, mind and will. You are the hero of my story and I belong to you. I long to know you, to be restored and renewed in you and to be filled by you. Would you meet me here and lead this time of prayer?
Then, move into a time of praise and thanksgiving. You can write your own, use some of the Psalms or follow this example:
I sincerely praise you with everything I am. I thank you for sending Jesus to make a way for me to know you. I praise you because you are good, you are holy, you are the only one worthy of my adoration. You are above all things. The heavens declare your greatness. By your great love and mercy you have made me a son/daughter. I thank you for adopting me and I now take my place in your story.
After praying through these two parts, spend some time practicing breathing prayers. Focus on inhaling the presence of God and as you exhale, surrender yourself to him.
It’s also helpful to throw up some prayers of praise and thanksgiving throughout the day. They don’t have to be long, just a acknowledgment of the gifts and blessings he’s given you so far in the day. Even if it’s been a terrible day, find something to praise him for. I’ve also found it helpful to set reminders on your phone three to five times throughout the day to remember to reconnect with God. Let us know in the comments how it’s going for you or if you have any questions. I’m praying that you would connect with God today like never before.