Not far from my home is a place of local legend called Sennett’s Hole. A quarter-mile hike through the woods takes you there to a picturesque bend in the Eno River framed by granite rocks and old-growth trees.
Locals say it was the site of a mill in the 1700s and that the pioneer who built the mill lost his life in the waters’ depths when spring floods turned the river into a torrent. More than a few people have been caught in swift currents that converge where the river bends, evidenced by the search-and-rescue teams that show up every so often.
But most days, calmer waters beckon. One sweltering summer afternoon the cooling depths called me and my 13-year-old son down the trail to the water’s edge, our 110-pound black Lab “Bear” happily trotting along beside us.
On the far side of the river a rope hangs from a solid old sycamore, offering relief for a swing and a leap. While Bear and Geoff hopped from boulder to boulder on the water’s edge, I swam to the rope swing and called out to let them know I was there.
As soon as Bear heard my voice, he leaped into the river and began to paddle the distance, just under the length of a football field. I swung from the rope and swam out to meet him. We crossed the rest of the way together.
That afternoon taught me a lesson in love. At the sound of my voice, a dog dared a leap and a long and potentially dangerous swim. I loved him for it, and it made me wonder. If a dog’s daring love for me made my heart go out to him, how much more does our flawless heavenly Father (in whose image we’re made) respond when we dare to delight in Him?
True praise—praise with an active faith that is greater than only emotion—is a daring thing. It challenges us to leave old paths of the human heart behind and reach for something beyond ourselves, giving ourselves up to God. Praising God doesn’t come naturally to me. My struggle is with self—a dangerous current that runs strong and deep in my heart. Sure, the Bible tells me to “always be joyful,” “never stop praying,” and that it’s “God’s will” that I “be thankful in all circumstances” (1 thess. 5:16-18), but there are times I just don’t feel like it. Still, by the grace of God, ever so slowly I’m learning delight isn’t just something you feel—it’s something you do.
God’s Word commands us to “take delight” in Him. The words in Psalm 37:4 are in the imperative. The command confronts us in our complacency and calls us to a higher way of thinking. That isn’t easy—it costs us something. But even though it begins as work, it doesn’t end that way.
God never leaves us where we are. With every effort we make to draw near, we’re promised He will come close to us (james 4:8). Dare to delight in God and He not only gives you your heart’s desire, He becomes it. The following pages are filled with the Spirit-inspired praises of God’s people. Make them your own and you’ll never regret it. Dive in and pray these prayers, and it won’t be long till you discover that God is moving to meet you.
No one is stronger than you!
Your right hand, O Lord, is glorious in power. Your right hand, O Lord, smashes the enemy. In the greatness of your majesty, you overthrow those who rise against you. You unleash your blazing fury; it consumes them like straw. —exodus 15:6-7
You created everything!
Let all that I am praise the Lord. O Lord my God, how great you are! You are robed with honor and majesty. You are dressed in a robe of light. You stretch out the starry curtain of the heavens; you lay out the rafters of your home in the rain clouds. You make the clouds your chariot; you ride upon the wings of the wind. The winds are your messengers; flames of fire are your servants. You placed the world on its foundation so it would never be moved. You clothed the earth with floods of water, water that covered even the mountains. At your command, the water fled; at the sound of your thunder, it hurried away. Mountains rose and valleys sank to the levels you decreed. Then you set a firm boundary for the seas, so they would never again cover the earth. You make springs pour water into the ravines, so streams gush down from the mountains. You send rain on the mountains from your heavenly home, and you fill the earth with the fruit of your labor. You cause grass to grow for the livestock and plants for people to use. You allow them to produce food from the earth—wine to make them glad, olive oil to soothe their skin, and bread to give them strength. You made the moon to mark the seasons, and the sun knows when to set. You send the darkness, and it becomes night, when all the forest animals prowl about. O Lord, what a variety of things you have made! In wisdom you have made them all. —psalm 104:1-10, 13-15, 19-20, 24
No one can measure your greatness.
I will exalt you, my God and King, and praise your name forever and ever. I will praise you every day; yes, I will praise you forever. Great is the Lord! You are most worthy of praise! No one can measure your greatness. Let each generation tell its children of your mighty acts; let them proclaim your power. I will meditate on your majestic, glorious splendor and your wonderful miracles. Your awe-inspiring deeds will be on every tongue; I will proclaim your greatness. Everyone will share the story of your wonderful goodness; they will sing with joy about your righteousness. —psalm 145:1-7*
Nothing is too hard for you.
O Sovereign Lord! You made the heavens and earth by your strong hand and powerful arm. Nothing is too hard for you! You show unfailing love to thousands, but you also bring the consequences of one generation’s sin upon the next. You are the great and powerful God, the Lord of Heaven’s Armies. You have all wisdom and do great and mighty miracles. You see the conduct of all people, and you give them what they deserve. You performed miraculous signs and wonders in the land of Egypt—things still remembered to this day! And you have continued to do great miracles in Israel and all around the world. You have made your name famous to this day. —jeremiah 32:17-20
You have sent us a mighty Savior.
Praise the Lord, the God of Israel, because he has visited and redeemed his people. You have sent us a mighty Savior from the royal line of your servant David, just as you promised through your holy prophets long ago.
We have been rescued from our enemies so we can serve God without fear, in holiness and righteousness for as long as we live. —luke 1:68-70, 74-75*
Who is like you?
Who is like you among the gods, O Lord—glorious in holiness, awesome in splendor, performing great wonders? —exodus 15:11
You rescued me!
Sing to the Lord! Praise the Lord! For though I was poor and needy, you rescued me from my oppressors. —jeremiah 20:13*
All glory to the only wise God.
All glory to the only wise God, through Jesus Christ, forever. Amen. —romans 16:27
Praise the Lord! Salvation and glory and power belong to our God. Praise the Lord! For the Lord our God, the Almighty, reigns. —from revelation 19:1, 6