Praising God in prayer before we ask for anything is one of the biggest missing ingredients in our prayers to God.
Do any of you feel like when you pray that you just start talking to God and you’re telling him all of your troubles and everything you need? Does it seem to be kind of non-exciting or that you feel like you pray and that sometimes it just seems to go nowhere and you have a hard time finishing your prayers? Or do you feel like there’s sometimes just not much power to your prayers and when you’re done praying you still feel kind of drab? Well, you’re not alone. Actually, you’re in good company. The disciples felt like that too. They didn’t ask Jesus how to drive out demons or heal the sick, but they noticed that a lot of times when they woke up that Jesus was already off alone with His Father in deep prayer and they notice that when He prayed there was a power dimension to it and it also worked every time. So the disciples came to Jesus and asked him how to pray. Jesus responded in (Matthew 6:5-15) with the Lord’s Prayer and after acknowledging “Our Father, Who art in Heaven” the very next thing that Jesus taught His disciples to do when praying to their heavenly Father was to hallow His name: “Our Father who art in heaven, hallowed be Thy name.” This is many times the biggest missing ingredient in our prayers; to hallow His name means to honor and worship God. But many times we rush into prayer, rush into the sacred without really prescribing and giving the proper worship to Whom it is we’re talking to. And this makes sense too. Because if we were left to ourselves, without this instruction I can promise you that we would start and end our prayers with ourselves. For our natural self-centeredness knows no boundaries. In fact, much praying that goes on with Christian people is exactly like that. We begin with our needs and our wants and our grocery list of problems and we rush into God’s presence before we even say a good and nice hello! We have dumped all of our problems on God. It is no accident that the Lord Jesus says to us…”When you pray, pray like this…Our Father Who Art in Heaven. Hallowed be Thy Name.” And the Psalmist says…“enter into His gates with Thanksgiving and into His presence with praise.” The entryway into the presence of God is through the court of praise. We’re to hallow His name. That is something I have not done very well and I’m still learning how to do it better. One way I do this is by using the Jehovah cognate names from the Old Testament. Jehovah Tsidkenu—The Lord our Righteousness (Jeremiah 23:6), Jehovah M’Kaddesh the Lord our Sanctifier (Leviticus 20:7-8.) Jehovah Shalom the Lord Who is our Peace (Judges 6:24), Jehovah Rophe the Lord our Healer (Exodus 15:26), Jehovah Jireh the Lord our Provider (Genesis 22:14), Jehovah Nissi the Lord our Banner (Exodus 17:15), Jehovah Shammah the Lord who never leaves us (Ezekiel 48:35), and Jehovah Rohi the Lord our Shepherd (Psalm 23:1.) You may say…how do we use those names in Hallowing God in our prayers? I would say to you that every day you could focus on just one of them. And we don’t want to role model prayer because that doesn’t seem quite right, but I can express how I use them in prayer. Maybe you begin by just saying Good morning Lord. That’s what I say and I guess that’s alright. I sometimes say…”Good morning Lord, I just want to take some time this morning and give praise to You that You are Jehovah Tsidkenu my righteousness. God, I’m a sinner. I’ve got no standing before you at all. But you O’Lord are my righteousness and I want to praise You that You went to the trouble to send your only Son, Jesus Christ and pay for all of my sin and give me righteousness that I don’t deserve. And You, dear God are my righteousness that is perfect and it has made my standing before you redeemed. And I want to begin my prayer time realizing that I was a sinner lost and bound for hell had it not been for Your intervention God and I love You for that and I praise you this morning.” That’s a pretty good start to prayer. I also often praise Jehovah Rophe. “You are my healer. So many times I cried out to You God and You healed me! And I thank you and I praise you today for who You are.” What a different entrance into prayer that is than “Lord here I am and here’s what I need!” We should always enter into His gates with thanksgiving and into His courts with praise. In fact, if you look over the Jehovah cognate names of God there’s hardly ever a problem you will face that doesn’t fall into one of the areas of those names. Jehovah Tsidkenu deals with all the problems of sin in your life because He’s your righteousness. Jehovah M’Kaddesh deals with all the problems of spirituality in your life for He is your sanctifier, He is Holy. Jehovah Shalom deals with all of the issues of security in your life as He is your peace. Jehovah Rope deals with all the issues of sickness in your life for He is your healer. Jehovah Jireh deals with all the areas of lack and shortage in your life for He is your provider. Jehovah Nissi deals with all the issues of significance in your life as He is your banner. We find our significance in Him and Him alone! And Jehovah Rohi deals with all the areas of stability and wisdom in your life because now you’ve got a Shepherd who takes you through every direction you need. He’s Jehovah God…worship Him in prayer before we focus on our needs. Our Father who art in Heaven. Hallowed by Thy Name. And I worship You for who You are.
Another way you can hone in on that and expand up on that yourself is you can go through the bible and find all of the attributes of God. There’s a lot of them depending on which list you use, but you can spend some time praising God each day for the different aspects of His nature that are reflected in those attributes. Praise Him for His love for you. I don’t know which of these appeals to you most, but I often praise God for His “long-suffering” with me. Aren’t you glad that God is long-suffering and patient with us? You can praise Him for His nature. Marcus Dodsu was a famous preacher from the past. He said this after going through this process of Hallowing the Name of God. “This morning I found it easy to worship. For God seemed near and living as a second person to me. His majesty so strong that humility was natural. His holiness and love so evident that my soul was turned from all other objects. I did worship. And I worshiped God.” When you begin to pray by worshiping, everything changes. I cannot express that to you in strong enough terms. It is, I believe, the missing ingredient in most of our prayers. We have not cultivated the art of worshiping God in prayer. We have not worked hard through our journals and our reading to understand the greatness of God and to over and over again keep falling in love with Him and worshiping Him and saying to Him what we know to be true of His eternal nature. We should always enter into His courts with thanksgiving and into His presence with praise when starting our prayers to Him.
I have noticed 6 things that will change when I enter prayer with praise and worship first.
- Worship enhances my appreciation and love of God.
- Worship expands my vision. It causes me to see things in a heavenly perspective on what I can do with God working through me instead of what I can do by myself, which is really nothing minus God. I get a God-sized version of my life and others.
- Worship eclipses my fears. Worship is the best antidote to fear that there is.
- Worship energizes my work. I get ideas, and perspective I didn’t have before.
- Worship encourages my spirit. I trade in my spirit of heaviness for a garment of praise!
- Worship exhausts my enemy the devil. The one thing satan doesn’t like more than anything else is worshiping the Lord! So try it. The next time you pray, Hallow His Name! Praise and worship the Lord before emptying out your concerns. It will change your prayers and change your life!
New Covenant Worship Center