Let me start off with a challenge to you. Show me one person in scripture who repeated “Praise the Lord” a hundred times when he/she praised God.
Scratch that.Show me one person in scripture who has repeated the phrase “Praise the Lord” twice in succession when praising God.
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The Biblical “praise”
“And when you are praying, do not use meaningless repetition as the Gentiles do, for they suppose that they will be heard for their many words.” (Matthew 6:7)
One of the Hebrew word for “praise” is yadah, meaning “praise, give thanks, or confess.” Just like any other word in a human language, this word too has a meaning. So biblically, “yadah” means to give thanks/praise/confess. It is a verb. It’s a verb just like “pray”, “eat”, “drink” etc. Do you eat by repeating the word “eat”? Do you drink by repeating the word “drink? Of course not.
Let’s analyse the sentence “Praise the Lord”. This sentence is telling you to do something. It’s telling you to praise God. Also, God is in the third person in that sentence. So it isn’t the right phrase to use when you speak one-on-one with God. Let’s say you have a friend named David and you want to thank him. Do you go to him and say “Thank David” in the third person? Or do you say “Thank you”? When he does you a favour, how do you thank him? Do you go to him and say “Thank David, Thank David, Thank David” a thousand times? When you keep repeating “Praise the Lord”, it sounds as though you are telling someone else to praise God.
It’s absolutely ridiculous to use that phrase “Praise the Lord” when you are communicating directly with God. David never used that phrase when speaking to God directly and neither did anyone else in the bible. Let us look at a few examples.
Let sinners be consumed from the earth. And let the wicked be no more. Bless the Lord, O my soul. Praise the Lord! (Psalm 104:35)
Praise the Lord! Oh give thanks to the Lord, for He is good; For His lovingkindness is everlasting. (Psalm 106:1)
Praise the Lord! Praise, O servants of the Lord, Praise the name of the Lord (Psalm 113:1)
Praise the Lord, all nations; Laud Him, all peoples! (Psalm 117:1)
Just like the above examples, every time David uses that phrase, he is either talking with himself or teaching the Israelites. He never uses it in direct communication with God.
If you want to praise God, use your own words and tell God why you are being thankful for. Sing songs of praise to him. Praise him by singing with musical instruments. Praise God by giving to the poor. Praise God by living like Jesus. It is by doing things like that you will praise God truly. But no, don’t repeat “Praise the Lord” a hundred times and assume that is praising God. If I’m not praying if I keep repeating “pray, pray, pray” and neither am I praising if I keep repeating the word “praise”.
Psalm 150 is an excellent Psalm on this topic.
1 Praise the Lord. Praise God in his sanctuary; praise him in his mighty heavens.
2 Praise him for his acts of power; praise him for his surpassing greatness.
3 Praise him with the sounding of the trumpet, praise him with the harp and lyre,
4 praise him with timbrel and dancing, praise him with the strings and pipe,
5 praise him with the clash of cymbals, praise him with resounding cymbals.
6 Let everything that has breath praise the Lord. Praise the Lord.
It answers 3 questions
- HOW to praise God – v3-5
- WHY praise God – v2
- WHERE to praise God – v1
Until a few years back my understanding of “praising” God was to repeat “praise the Lord” over and over again. But I slowly began to understand that just like the word “pray”, the word “praise” too has a meaning. We don’t repeat the word “pray” a thousand times when we pray, do we? Why then do we take the meaning “praise” to mean repeating “Praise The Lord” over and over again?
How is TPM at fault?
TPM is in the business of redefining words. Just like they have redefined the word “apostle” to mean TPM ministers, they have redefined the meaning of “Praise” to mean repeating “praise the Lord” a hundred/thousand times. Pastor MT used to teach that God has something like a bank account in heaven and every time you repeat “praise the lord”, you are depositing it in the heavenly account and you can exchange it for favor from God. What a ridiculous teaching! But I have to confess I was guilty of following that teaching of his blindly back then.
It is because of this redefinition, whenever a TPM believer reads the Old Testament (especially the Psalms), we think whenever David mentions “Praise” it means repeating the word over and over again. This is called reading into the text of scripture. We have invented a new definition of the word (in the 21st century) and then read into scripture written thousands of years ago and assume the definition you have in your mind is the same one David had in his. Shouldn’t we establish the meaning of words in the minds of the writers by studying how the writers of the bible praised God?
In TPM, you praise told to repeat “praise the Lord” for the things God has done. You are also told to repeat “Praise the Lord” when you need something. Let’s say you need a job. TPM tells you to repeat a 100 “Praise the Lord” every day and God will grant you your needs. Is that biblical? When the Word of God made flesh came to earth 2000 years ago, do we see anyone doing that? No! They merely came to Jesus and asked Him. God sees your faith and blesses you, not by seeing how many times you have repeated a certain phrase. The former is biblical, the latter isn’t.
“And I will do whatever you ask in my name, so that the Father may be glorified in the Son. You may ask me for anything in my name, and I will do it.” (John 14:13,14)
“Therefore I tell you, whatever you ask in prayer, believe that you have received it, and it will be yours.” (Mark 11:24)
“And whatever you ask in prayer, you will receive, if you have faith.” (Matthew 21:22)
“And this is the confidence that we have toward him, that if we ask anything according to his will he hears us. And if we know that he hears us in whatever we ask, we know that we have the requests that we have asked of him.” (1 John 5:14,15)
The above is the biblical teaching on how to pray to God. It is merely asking God in faith in accordance to his will. He will give us our needs because He is a loving Father and compassionate. He will answer us for His glory.
It is hard to shake off such indoctrination when all your life you have been thinking of praising God means to repeat a phrase. I know, because I have lived through it. I would encourage our readers to set aside their understanding regarding praising God they have received from TPM and search the scripture with an unbiased view and understand how the saints in the bible praised God. Then you will realize that the bible nowhere teaches this practice of repeating a phrase over and over again.