Reflections on Psalm 118:6, 28-29 for a prayer meeting in 2006.
‘The Lord is for me, so I will not be afraid. What can mere mortals do to me? You are my God, and I will praise you! You are my God, and I will exalt you! Give thanks to the Lord, for he is good! His faithful love endures forever!’
Praise acknowledges the other (who or whatever you are praising) for its beauty, presence, trustworthiness, love, self-sacrifice and faithfulness.
Praise has to come from the soul. Without your soul behind it, it is empty of meaning. You don’t usually give praise without something deep within you being touched and wanting to express something that has an emotional attachment.
Praise is an acknowledgement, thanksgiving and positive affirmation of someone’s actions or qualities.
You need to have a motivation to praise - to give praise demands sacrifice of self and raises the value of the other.
You impart some of your energy to build up the other, so you must be willing to do it. It takes you to another place, you have to be willing to move and lay open your ‘self’ and be vulnerable.
We can praise other, we can accept praise, though we may find that hard to do. We sometimes want it, but when it does come our way we don’t always know how to accept it.
Praising the Divine can take many forms. For some it may take the form of exuberant worship as this passage suggests, singing worship songs with others at church or some other positive uplifting personal sacrament. For others it may be more subtle - a quiet personal prayer with a candle, playing music, planting a seed or touching a tree.
Give praise where due and your act of self-sacrifice will be honoured.