Matterofprayer: A Year of Everyday Prayers – January 17, 2015
Praise God—In Prayer
Praise! Yay! Clap your hands! Shout with joy! Hallelujah! Amen! (Not to mention all the full range of musical praises, with instruments and voices, with drums, percussion, and every other way humanity has thought of praising God.)
Praising God is one of the most basic of prayers. Awesome, holy, marvelous, mighty, loving, faithful. God’s attributes can go on and on. And so can our praises.
As Rev. Howell tells us, praise is cheap, today. Madison Avenue and the advertisers instruct people to praise all sorts of things—from razors to toothpaste, from automobiles to coffee makers. From beer to burgers. Yet, this is not right: “the only ultimately praiseworthy object of our adoration is God, the creator of it all, the giver of all good.” 
Praise? Yes, it can be loud. Noisy. Ecstatic and uplifting. God made loud, noisy things just as much as God made quiet, soft, gentle things, too. Why can’t we praise and adore God with noisemakers and “loud, crashing cymbals?” (and other instruments, in Psalm 150)
Rev. Howell also mentions St. Francis and his canticle of praise, written near the end of this faithful saint’s life. “While racked with pain, suffering constant hemorrhaging, his eyesight almost gone, Francis and other saints have taught us a paradox in praise, how the very effort to praise God is an antidote to despair.” 
We can see how Francis’ canticle mentions Brother Sun, Sister Moon, Brother Wind, Sister Water, Brother Fire, among others. I was struck at how closely this canticle tracks with Psalm 148. Praise God. No matter what. Praise God, whether I am personally, ill, and perhaps dying. Praise God, as an antidote to despair. Praise God, at all times and all places. Praise God, in prayer.
I close this meditation, as Rev. Howell does, with Psalm 117. Praise the LORD, all nations! Extol Him, all peoples! For great is His steadfast love toward us; and the faithfulness of the LORD endures forever. Praise the LORD! Amen.
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(also published at www.matterofprayer.net
 James C. Howell, The Beautiful Work of Learning to Pray, (Nashville, TN, Abingdon Press: 2003), 58.
 Ibid, 59.