Praise and worship are intimate points of connection between you and the Lord that create a unique and dynamic spiritual atmosphere built upon your willing sacrifice. What so many don’t understand is the true purpose of praise, the true power of praise, and how God’s presence moves within praise.
You were created to worship.
Remember: If you’re not intentionally worshipping the Lord, you are unintentionally worshipping something else.
What is Praise in the Bible?
At its core, praise is the offering of a willing, living sacrifice of thanksgiving to God. In the Old Testament, the first person to bring an offering to the Lord was Cain, but the first person to bring an acceptable offering to the Lord was Abel. (Genesis 4:3-4) The Bible makes it clear that there is a difference in God’s eyes.
The English word “praise” in the Bible is actually derived from seven different words in the Hebrew language and each form of praise is unique.
“…the first person to bring an offering to the Lord was Cain, but the first person to bring an acceptable offering to the Lord was Abel…”~Alicia Purdy
In order to praise the Lord with the honor due His name, it is important to understand how and why the Lord has created praise in His Word and then to follow His plan for praise in your life. There are so many ways to praise the Lord!
Within the 7 Hebrew words for “praise” there is space for an endless combination of expressions:
- Using musical instruments
- Singing with a loud voice
- The lifting of the hand and making confession to Him
- Singing a spontaneous new song
- Proclaiming the holiness of the name of the Lord
- Writing a hymn of praise
- Declaring His wondrous works in the congregation
and much more!
What are the Benefits of Praising God?
As you walk out your faith journey in ministry to the Lord through your praise, you will find that the time you spend with the dynamic of the Holy Spirit’s presence in praise starts to transform you from within.
- Parts of you that you once thought untouchable or unreachable are touched and reached.
- The Lord will reveal parts of yourself that you didn’t know were in you – both good and bad.
- You will experience a softening of the hardness in you.
- The walls you built to protect yourself begin to come down as you become vulnerable to the Holy Spirit.
The benefits of praising God are both spiritual and natural results you’ll experience through your praise, but they are not the reason you praise God.
Your praise begins with one thing: A willing, living sacrifice of thanksgiving in ministry to the Lord, but as you praise the Lord, He provides in His faithfulness (Genesis 22:17) and your praise becomes:
- A weapon of spiritual warfare
- Spiritual protection for your spirit
- Refreshment for your soul
- A deeper desire for the things of God
- Supernatural gladness and joy to strengthen your heart
- A lifestyle of surrender that God desires
- The inner victory that transforms you
- A testimony of God’s power that changes the lives of others
It isn’t accurate to say there is a “right” or “wrong” way to praise the Lord, but there is a Scriptural way. There is a God-defined way. There is a way of God’s due order and His desire. There is a spiritually effective way.
The enemy attacks body of Christ in praise and worship because he knows its true benefit: The power to transform lives!
The enemy attacks body of Christ in praise and worship because he knows its true benefit: The power to transform lives!~Alicia Purdy
Your Adversary doesn’t want you to understand God’s purpose for praise or to have this unique spiritual connection with your Heavenly Father so that he can defeat you when God has already given you victory! How can you learn to praise the Lord in fullness?
The 7 types of Praise in the Bible
Gratitude is the point of origin for all praise. Just like love without expression is empty, gratitude without direction is meaningless. Who are you grateful to, specifically?
- Psalm 68:4 says, “…sing praises to His name…”
- Psalm 75:1 says, “We give thanks to You, O God; we give thanks, and Your name is near...”
When you lift up songs of praise, always sing of the Lord by name – demons tremble and fear at the name of God, knees bow, tongues confess, new songs are sung (Psalm 40:1-3) and the world knows – You are praising THE LIVING GOD!
When looking at the 7 types of praise in the Bible, it is important to examine the context of each word because, just like in English, words can have secondary uses and meanings.
The 7 Hebrew words for “praise” are sometimes translated as words other than “praise” such as: glory, thanks, bless, shout, and kneel – which is why context matters.
Plenty of people are uncomfortable with offering the sacrifice of praise such as raising their hands, shouting, dancing or crying “Hallelujah” in praise to God, but it is Scriptural and if it feels like a sacrifice to do it – GOOD!
Presenting your body as a living sacrifice in praise is a gift the Bible calls “acceptable” in the New Testament. (Romans 12:1)
There are seven Hebrew Words of “praise” and each type of praise describes a different, physical sacrifice of praise that are still relevant and necessary today in the fullness of your praise and worship:
HALAL Praise is the Forever Hallelujah in the Bible
The Hebrew word “HALAL” is the root word for “Hallelujah” (HALAL + YAH, or “Hallelujah Yahweh”) and it means: to jump, dance, to be loud and clamorous.
The uses of HALAL praise in the Bible are always in response to mighty acts of God, impactful experiences with Him, and in acknowledgement of His greatness.
Psalm 148 is a psalm written entirely with HALAL praise!
HALAL praise is seen in Scripture as an expression of joyful exuberance, not a subdued whisper. HALLELUJAH is, Scripturally speaking, a word that you cry out in joy and spiritual agreement in your praise.
In the Bible, here are just 5 reasons why God’s people shout “Hallelujah” to the Lord:
- HALAL to His holy name – 1 Chronicles 16:10
- HALAL the beauty of His holiness – 2 Chronicles 20:21
- HALAL because you understand and know Him – Jeremiah 9:23-34
- HALAL because you believe His Word – Psalm 56:10
- HALAL His mighty Acts and according to His excellent greatness. – Psalm 150:2
Think of it this way: “His help deserves your HALAL!” Here are 5 ways the Bible shows HALAL praise being used by God’s people:
- With a great shout – Ezra 3:11
- In His sanctuary Psalm 150:1 & Psalm 109:30
- Seven times a day Psalm 119:164
- With your soul Psalm 146:1
- With the timbrel and dance, with stringed instruments and organs, upon the loud cymbals – Psalm 15
YADAH Praise Throws Thanksgiving Toward God
The Hebrew word “YADAH” means: To throw your hands up and forward while making a confession about God. The extension of the hand in praise, as many believers do in corporate worship services, is a Biblical action of YADAH praise. But there is also the added component of “making a confession about God” in praise.
YADAH praise is expressed with an extended hand and your mouth (Psalm 109:30) and “with your whole heart” (Psalm 111:1)
Here are 5 reasons why you should YADAH the Lord!
- YADAH Him for His goodness – Psalm 106:1
- YADAH the Lord for His faithfulness Psalm 89:5
- YADAH the Lord because His mercy endures forever – Psalm 118:1, Psalm 136:2, 1 Chronicles 16:41
- YADAH God for He has done wonderful things in faithfulness and truth – Isaiah 25:1
- YADAH the Lord who keeps covenant and mercy with those that love Him – Daniel 9:4
When you recall what God has done – lift your hands and let your mouth confess it to Him! You can both confess God’s Word and your testimonies in praise with your hands raised at church, and lift up your hands and confess your faith in Him in your private praise.
YADAH praise has always been part of the spiritual expression of confessing God’s greatness – privately and publicly to Christ Jesus.
TOWDAH Praise is Total Thanksgiving Toward God
The first time TOWDAH praise is mentioned in the Bible (Leviticus 7:12), it is referred to as a willing sacrifice of thanksgiving and it was an offering to the Lord apart from the requirements of law, “…at your own will…” the Lord said. (Leviticus 22:29)
TOWDAH means: To lift your hands in the giving of thanks to God.
TOWDAH praise is a form of a peace offering that God says should be “eaten that same day”. (Leviticus 7:15) TOWDAH praise, as expressed in the Bible, shows that your thanksgiving to the Lord should not only be daily, but is offered up for things in that day itself.
Other forms of praise to the Lord extend beyond the day to day of life and are expressed as “continual”, but TOWDAH praise is shown as the sacrifice of thanksgiving for the day’s provision and blessings of peace.
- 2 Chronicles 29:31 calls TOWDAH praise a “…free heart burnt offering.”
- Nehemiah 12:27 shows that TOWDAH is not a quiet offering of thanksgiving, but is expressed with “singing, with cymbals, psalteries, and with harp.”
- Psalm 100:4 shows that TOWDAH, the offering up of daily thanksgiving opens the courts of the Lord to you: “Enter into His gates with thanksgiving (TOWDAH), and into His courts with praise; be thankful to Him, and bless His name.” (MEV)
God deserves your willing sacrifice of thanksgiving every day and, in reality, your life is blessed and God is always worthy. “Whoever sacrifices a thank offering (TOWDAH) glorifies Me and makes a way; I will show him the salvation of God.” Psalm 50:23, MEV) PRAISE THE LORD!
SHABACH Praise is Your Shout
Throughout the Old Testament, where the patterns for the praise and worship of God were established, it is clear that making noise – often loud noise – is part of God’s design.
That is not to say it is always the appropriate time and place to shout or bang on a tambourine or dance, but every form of praise in the Bible is still acceptable to God and should not be quenched by “the traditions of man”. (Matthew 15:9)
…every form of praise in the Bible is still acceptable to God and should not be quenched by “the traditions of man.”~Alicia Purdy
SHABACH praise is the least used word for “praise” in the Bible and it primarily means: A loud, joyous shout of testimony. The action of “Shabach” as seen in Scripture is translated in two seemingly opposite ways: “To shout” and “To still”.
- Psalm 65:7 says, “You still (SHABACH) the noise of the seas, the noise of their waves, and the tumult of the peoples.” (NKJV)
- Psalm 106:47 says, “Save us, O Lord our God, and gather us from among the Gentiles, to give thanks to Your holy name, to triumph (SHABACH) in Your praise.
So which is it? It’s both! When people SHABACH God, they lift up a shout of praise, but when God utters SHABACH all others fall silent!
ZAMAR Praise is Your Zealous Song
ZAMAR praise is the most misused, abused, and misunderstood form of praise in the Bible because it is so easily attacked by your Adversary who uses pride to dismantle, twist, and deceive worshippers. ZAMAR praise means: To worship the Lord while playing an instrument
ZAMAR praise is both powerful and dangerous to both the worshipper and the enemy because it is a very public, dynamic, charismatic gift from the Lord that is attractive to people and can easily cause pride to develop in a musician who is not committed to the daily, private sacrifice of praise in humility before the Lord.
Music, poetry, and personal charisma create two types of musicians: Rockstars and Worship leaders.
In reality, sometimes it is hard to tell the difference at a church, but a worshipper whose heart is solely fixed on giving glory to God (Psalm 57:7) will be evident in how they live, speak, act, and lift high God’s glory above their own. Worship should be a lifestyle, first, before it should be a leadership position.
- 2 Samuel 22:50 says, “Therefore I will give thanks unto Thee, O LORD, among the heathen, and I will sing praises (ZAMAR) unto Thy name.”
- Psalm 9:11 says, “Sing praises (ZAMAR) to the LORD, which dwelleth in Zion: declare among the people His doings.”
- Psalm 30:12 says, “To the end that my glory may sing (ZAMAR) praise to Thee, and not be silent. O LORD my God…”
BARAK Praise is the Blessing of God – From and For You
In Genesis 22:17, the Lord said to Abraham, “…in blessing (BARAK), I will (BARAK) you…” after Abraham offered the willing sacrifice of his own Son – foreshadowing that one day the Lord would do the same- offer the willing sacrifice of His own Son.
That is why God is so honored by a wiling sacrifice of praise from you – because He gave you a willing sacrifice first and He knows what it really costs. The word BARAK has a dual purpose as seen in God’s words to Abraham – through the blessing you give to God, you are blessed by Him.
Throughout the Old Testament, God’s blessing (BARAK) is always associated with being fruitful, multiplying, expansion, and increase. Each time BARAK is translated as “to bless” the Lord, the worshipper always states the reason why they are speaking well of God in their praise.
Here are some reasons for BARAK praise from the book of Psalms:
- Psalm 31:21 – “Blessed (BARAK) be the LORD: for He hath shown me His marvelous kindness in a strong city.”
- Psalm 68:19 – “Blessed (BARAK) be the Lord, who daily loads us with benefits, even the God of our salvation. Selah.”
- Psalm 72:18 – “Blessed (BARAK) be the LORD God, the God of Israel, who only does wondrous things.”
- Psalm 104:1 – “Bless (BARAK) the LORD, O my soul. O LORD my God, Thou art very great; Thou art clothed with honor and majesty.“
- Psalm 144:1 – “Blessed (BARAK) be the LORD my strength, which teaches my hands to war, and my fingers to fight…”
You bless the Lord with praise from your mouth as you declare your gratitude to Him, and also with your willing sacrifice of thanksgiving for specific things He has done.
TEHILLAH Praise is the Song of Testimony
TEHILLAH is the Hebrew word for “praise” that means: To sing a spontaneous, unrehearsed song of the Lord, from your spirit. TEHILLAH is often translated as a “new song” and the reason it is always a new song is because God is always doing a new thing!
Maybe it is uncomfortable for you to write a song from your heart, but it is a personal and intimate way of connecting with and praising the Lord with your willing sacrifice of the flesh to offer Him the thanksgiving He desires- and deserves.
…as you offer up a “new song” of your spirit to the Lord, you are inviting Him to come closer and be nearer to the most intimate and vulnerable parts of you.~Alicia Purdy
God desires your praise and as you offer up a “new song” of your spirit to the Lord, you are willingly inviting Him to come closer and be nearer to the most intimate and vulnerable parts of you.
Here are just a few of the most significant aspects of TEHILLAH praise that will show you why this form of praise is the only one the Lord God of Israel refers to as “MY TEHILLAH…” (Isaiah 48:9)
- TEHILLAH praise protects and releases you from demonic oppression: “The Spirit of the Lord God is upon me…[to give] the oil of gladness for mourning, the garment of praise (TEHILLAH) for the spirit of heaviness…” (Isaiah 61:3, MEV)
- You were created to TEHILLAH the Lord: “This people I have formed for Myself; They shall declare My praise (TEHILLAH)…” (Isaiah 43:21, NKJV)
- The Lord’s presence resides within your TEHILLAH: “But thou art holy, O thou that inhabitest the praises (TEHILLAH) of Israel….” (Psalm 22:3, KJV)
- TEHILLAH praise is a testimony of God that others need: “He has put a new song in my mouth, even praise (TEHILLAH) to our God; many will see it, and fear, and will trust in the Lord.” (Psalm 40:3, MEV)
- The Spirit of the Lord IS your TEHILLAH: “He is your praise (TEHILLAH), and He is your God, who has done for you these great and fearsome things which your eyes have seen.” (Deuteronomy 10:21, MEV)
One of the most misunderstood principles of praise is this: Praise isn’t about you. There are different types of praise, but one purpose: Ministry to the Lord with a willing sacrifice of thanksgiving. Many come into praise and worship “expecting” something from the Lord, but that is wrong thinking!
Your enemy understands the true power of praise better than you do and that is why he wants to disconnect you from the spiritual dynamic of praise. He seeks to twist the definition of praise, and exhaust your desire to praise the Lord.
Everything and everyone on earth is under subjugation to the Word of God, whether they acknowledge that truth or not. You were created to worship the Lord. (Isaiah 48:9)
God will always be faithful to minister to you, (Genesis 22:17) but praising the Lord is a grateful and willing sacrifice of thanksgiving simply because He is worthy of praise.