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Praying with Praise

Chester Clark III


How much have you praised God today? In the last week? You might be surprised how little actual praise Christians give, often confusing praise with thanksgiving. In this message, Pastor Clark clearly differentiates between the two – and gives helpful pointers to help us praise more!


Chester Clark III

Pastor, Evangelist, and Educator



  • January 16, 2016
    11:00 AM
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Father in heaven today we are so grateful that you've given us a chance to to rejoice with haven't. We thank you that we have this opportunity to see Adam. Commit his life. And Lord there may be someone else here who is also in the valley of decision and I just pray Lord that. Adams testimony. Might be an encouragement to them. They might know that you're coming soon and their call. You are calling for their heart. And their life. We want to pray that you'll continue to bless Adam. As he walks with you may grow from strength to strength to become more like you. We prayed in Jesus' name amen. There are a few things that I've learned about children and I don't know much about children I do have to say that. You know I was an expert about marriage. Until I got married. And. Now sometimes I feel like I'm an expert on children. Since as you know I don't have any. But one thing that I've appreciated learning from those who have more experience than eyes that. There's a there's. There's a way to build up a young person's self esteem in a positive way. You know you don't want to make someone. Egocentric a narcissistic and. And so centered self-centered and full of themselves that they become a little. Terror brat right. Intitled and all the rest. But you want them to have a healthy self-esteem and one of the things that I've been taught at least. Is that you want to praise children for the good decisions they make for what. The good decisions they make and the good character that they form in other words if I tell a little child. If I told little child. You know you have such beautiful brown eyes. That child had nothing to do with their brown eyes right. And so there's not really anything that. That they had to do with with having brown eyes and there's not really anything. Well they do might just become a proud of their appearances. But if I. Tell a person you know I appreciate a child. I preach hate how honest you are in telling. Daddy or Mommy what happened what really happened you see now I'm a firm in their choices and their character. You see there's something in life that's very important. It's not so important. What you say. What you can say. It's not even so important what you can do. It's not so important what power you have. What's most important. Is who you are who you are. Now if we think about that for just a moment. We realize that praise. Is the essence of who God is. We're going to talk about that for just a moment today. We're going to talk about praying with praise. As we discuss. God's word. Together today. You know this week we had. Pastors meetings at Kota Springs I spent three days there. And one of the takeaways that I came home with was realizing that sometimes. I confuse Thanksgiving. With praise. You know the difference between thanksgiving and praise. Now praise is important and Thanksgiving is important both of them are important. Both of them are given in Scripture as something that we ought to do. But. But they're different they're not one in the same thing. Thanksgiving it knowledge is what God has done. Thanksgiving Says Thank You God for for helping me through the day for giving me a safe trip thank you for providing for my needs this month. Thank you for giving us this food that we can eat today that's. Thanksgiving that's giving. God gratitude or thankfulness for what he has done on the other hand. Praise acknowledges. Who God is. There's a difference isn't there. One has to say Thank You God for doing. The others Thank you God for being. And God is not just interested in hearing what he has done. He's interested in hearing our hearts expressing. Praise for who he is because remember. More important than what we can say or what we can do or what we can have the power to accomplish. Most important is who we are. And the most important thing about God is not that he can speak. In life come and. Comes into existence not that he breathes. Worlds and stars into existence. The most important thing about God is not what he can do. But who he is. He is a God of love. Pray Thanksgiving fills our hearts with gratitude. Wow. Praise. Fills our hearts. With what with all. As we think about what kind of a God God is. You know I want to just pause here. In this comparison between thanksgiving and praise. And I want to just mention a little bit of a little bit of theology I guess. Do you realize that how we worship reflects our view of God. If you ever thought about that. Now don't get me wrong what I'm about to say because I realize that God God God knows we're all in our growth. We're all in a different place in our experience and. God uses different means to reach different people and bring them to know him. But if we look at church history I'm a historian. We look at Christian church history we will notice that when. There was a an extremely transcendent. View of God. You know that means. It means God is very very very very high. He's way up there very different from us which. Part of that is good right. Because God is a Holy God. And we shouldn't forget that he is a holy God His name is holy. His character is holy right. But if God is so far removed for example that the church decided we need to have. Intermediate or. Intermediaries between us and him because he's so far removed right. If he's so far removed. That we cannot contact him directly. We're just you know centers down here in God's way up there. Then we have a worship that is very. Filled with Allah and if you look at what medieval. The medieval church. If you look at the church during the middle ages. How did they worship. I mean besides intermediaries and so forth. They had grand cathedrals. Why. Because they remembered. The transcendence. Of God God is awesome. And I want to tell you friends he is. He is now I personally believe that we can come to Jesus as we are and. Jesus is our intermediary intermediating our. Mediator. Let me just say that way. Jesus is our mediator. But I also believe that our God is a Holy God. He's a Holy God. Now what you see today and again I'm not criticizing. Either what happened in the past or what's happening today. But do you notice today you see what we what we might call big box churches. I'm going to stereotype them a little bit here OK just for the illustrations point. Again. As not to say that God isn't working cut isn't use them. But big box churches where it doesn't even feel like a church it just feels more like a big room you know and. And it doesn't have the acoustics in the grandeur and the stained glass and the awesome. This the silence the sacredness that. We used to have in the churches of the Middle Ages. And you have war. More come as you are and. Dress as you please and it's a very relaxed casual and. Jesus God. Is very much more become in their thinking more of a one. One of us. Now somewhere I think there's a middle ground for us to be had. The point I'm trying to make is this this. God is an awesome God. And when we think about. Praise. It ought to fill our hearts. Overwhelm our hearts. With off. As to who God is because our God is a Holy God. Our God is an awesome God. And Thanksgiving. On one hand will make us more positive it will keep us. Cheerful. It will keep us. Grateful. Thanksgiving is a wonderful thing. But Thanksgiving can to do what prays can do. Thanksgiving makes us more positive. But praise. Is transformative to make us more like God Now what do you say. Why do I say that second printings chapter three in verse eighteen if you have your Bibles. We're going to spend some time in God's word here right now. So go ahead and pull out your Bibles or smartphones or less smartphones or whatever you have that you have your bible on. And we always assume that people are looking at the text and not texting. In church. So second Corinthians we're going to look at first chapters three and verse eighteen Second Corinthians chapter three and verse to. This is the principle. That makes praise so powerful. In our lives. Second Corinthians chapter three. And verse eighteen this is what it says. But we all with. Unveiled face. Beholding as in a mirror or the King James as a glass a looking glass. The glory of the Lord know what's the glory of the Lord. Is the character of God. The good looking as in a mirror beholding as in a mirror the glory of the Lord our being transformed into the same image. From glory to glory. Just as by the spirit of the Lord now what does this verse say. Does this first say that when we become a Christian. We are. Instantaneously perfect. And we are just like God as I was is that what it says. No it says. As we are Christians. We look at the. We behold as in a mirror the glory of the character of God and were changed from glory to glory that means our character today. Is not the same as our characters want to be tomorrow. Praise God amen. How lujah. God transforms our character. Transformed from glory to glory. Even by the spirit of the Lord so. God's power. Will Transform Your Life and my life. So that as we look at Jesus. And behold the character of God the glory of God the. Awesomeness of God not just what he does. But who he is the more time we spend focused on who God is the more we will be able to become like him are you with me. Do you think this is important. Or listen. I believe that God wants us not to just have the grace of forgiveness for our sins. God wants to give us even more grace than that. He wants to give us the grace to transform us. To become more and more like him now how does that happen. According to second Corinthians three eighteen. It happens. Not by us trying harder or for. Following a checklist or or having. Having a whole. You know. Accomplishments to our name. Coming to church and everything is good but listen there's only one way. Only one way you and I will become more like Jesus. And that's if we spend time thinking about who he is. What better way to think about who he is than to praise him. What better way than to praise another look at some examples. Let's look at some examples in Scripture. Of praise. And we're actually going to see in these examples both. Thanksgiving and praise. So if you have your Bibles again turns me to Exodus Chapter fifteen. And we're going to look at one of the early AM thumbs of praise from God's people. This is corporate worship now we're talking about God's people have been delivered from Egypt. They've gone they've been trapped between the mountains and Pharaoh's army. And then god. Divided the waters of the Red Sea. And they were able to pass through on dry ground. Do you think they were happy. Yes Do you think they were thankful. Do you think they had some praise to seeing. Yes they did the Exodus Chapter fifteen we're going to look. Starting with verse one. XS Chapter fifteen and verse one it says. Then Moses and the children of Israel saying this song the Lord and spoke saying. I will SEEM to the Lord for He has triumphed gloriously. The horse and its rider he is thrown into the sea. The Lord is my strength. And my song. And he has become my salvation. Now. Let me ask you question. Is so far is it more. Thanksgiving or praise. It's Thanksgiving. God did this. He's triumphed. The horse and his riders talking about is the Egyptian army. That has been drowned in the Red Sea. It says he is my God. And I will praise him. My father's God and I will exalt him. The Lord is a man of war. The Lord is his name you see some praise starting to creep in there. Yeah. He's trying to now he's trying to say. It's not just what God did is what God is God is God It is a man of war he is a mighty protector. He is the one who is my are my salvation. And he is the one who is my Savior from my enemies. That's all praising. Who God is in the life of the church. And it says pharaohs. Chariots in his army is cast into the sea. His Chosen captains all swords around the Red Sea the depths of covered them. They same to the bottom like a stone. And then he says your right hand our Lord has become glorious in power. You see how his interchange in thanksgiving and praise. Your right hand is glorious in power. Your right hand a lord has dashed into me and precess. In the greatness of your excellence is that things giving a praise. That's praise. That's saying god. You are amazing an amazing God. And the greatness of your excellence see says. You have overthrown those who rose against you you sent for your through your wrath. If we skip on down. Versa leavened. He continues. And I want you to see is this things you have your prey's who is like you a lord. Among the gods. Who is like you. Glorious in holiness. Fearful and praises. Doing wonders what is that. That's praise. You see on ask your question how much time have you spent crazy. This week. Just. Just take a brief moment. Reflect back on the week. And ask yourself how much time advice and. Praise not thinking. Thinking is important don't get me wrong. But praise. Oh God wants us to praise. Let's look at another passage and we can explore some more. Of the difference between thanksgiving and praise Second Chronicles Chapter six this is the inauguration. Of the Temple of Solomon. The grandest temple ever built to glorify the name of God. It was one of the wonders of the ancient world and. Of the world that time. And a Second Chronicles Chapter six we find the story of. Solomon and his words. And of course. The. It was an amazing experience an amazing experience a beautiful building beautiful brand new temple. And it came to pass it says the end of first chapter five. That. When the trumpeters and singers were as one can imagine hearing this glorious choir they were in unison it was just. They were seen together and. To make one sound to be heard in praising and thanking the Lord. When they lifted up their voice with the trumpets and cymbals and instrumental music and praise the Lord saying for he is good. Is that Thanksgiving or praise. That's praise right he is good. And his mercy endures forever that's praise. That the House the House of the Lord was filled with a cloud. So the priest could not continue ministering because of the cloud for the glory of the Lord filled the house of God verse six. Chapter six now verse one. Then Solomon spoke the Lord said he would do well in the dark cloud. I have surely built you an exalted house a house for you to dwell in. For ever. Then the King turned and said to the whole. Turned around and blast the whole assembly of Israel. While all the assembly of Israel was standing and he said. Blessitt be the Lord God of Israel. Who is fulfilled with his hands what he spoke of his mouth my father David saying. And he gave the prophecy that he would do well among them and build a temple and so forth. So this verse ten so the Lord fulfilled his words he spoke. And I have filled the position of my father David and said on the throne of Israel and. The I have built the temple for the name of the Lord God of Israel and there have put the ark in which the cover of the Lord which he has made with the children of Israel. And so we've go on and we go. Skip down Chapter six towards the end of the chapter now. And we're going to see a prayer begin with first forty now my God I pray. Let your eyes be open and let our ears be attempted to the prayer made in this place. Now therefore arise a Lord God to your resting place. You in the ark of your strength let your priest the Lord God be clothed salvation your saints rejoice in goodness. And this. This prayer. Is a part praise. Part Thanksgiving. For what God has done. We notice that God is a God who with a lot delights in the praises. And the prayers of his people we're going to look at a couple more examples here. Before we end. Daniel Chapter nine one of my favorite prayers in all the Bible. Daniel Chapter nine. And we're going to look at how Daniel. Mixed thanksgiving and praise. In his prayers. I hope that you understand as I share today I'm not saying we shouldn't be grateful for what God has done. I think God likes to recognize. Likes us. Likes it when we recognize His goodness. When I was serving as a teacher. I remember I used to sometimes Google discouraged because I felt like my students only came to say anything to me. When they needed something. You know. And even. Even a teacher likes to feel like they're worth more than just you know. Help. Maybe they're valuable as a person or something I don't know but. But whenever I would start feeling that way. The Holy Spirit would speak to my mind and say Chester. How do you think. I feel. When ninety nine percent of the time when you pray. It's because you have something to ask of me. You have something you need from me. And even when you get it you don't even say think you. Isn't it interesting how we judge others for the very sins we are guilty of. I found that to be true so many times my life always bridges to speak to me and say Chester. You're the one that does this. You just don't even really realize it. And here. Here we see Daniel. Not with that experience Daniel is having an experience where he's not judging other people or excusing himself. He actually includes himself in the in the prayer here. And we don't have time to look at this whole prayer maybe you can read it on your own. As we go. As you go home today but notice of us just look at the beginning of the prayer and. It says in verse three I set my face toward the Lord God. Daniel Chapter nine and verse three to make a request by prayer and supplications with fasting sackcloth and ashes. And I prayed to the Lord my God and made confession and said. Oh Lord. Great and. Awesome God. What is that. That's praise. The first words out of Daniel's mouth. Are praise. Oh Lord great and. Awesome God It doesn't matter the word Babylonian captivity you're still a great and awesome God It doesn't matter the My parents were killed no doubt and I was taken in and made a eunuch and made. Just as a captive in a foreign land. It. Listen. You are a great and awesome God. When we focus on praise. It actually allows us to forget about ourselves and keep our eyes on Jesus. And when you turn your eyes on Jesus as the song says the things of this earth. Will grow strangely did him in the light of His glory and grace. You see. If you want to be in that presence. You've got to look at who dog who got is you've got to spend time with him. Oh Lord. You are a great an awesome God who keeps his covenant and mercy with those who love them. And those who keep His commandments now that is what God does. But I'm to propose to you that he still praising. He's basically saying you are a covenant. Keeping God. You keep your promises that's who God is right. He is a dependable God He is a trustworthy God he's an honest God and. Even though it's been nearly seventy years and that's what Daniel starting about. It's time for the God's people to be returned to Jerusalem for Jerusalem to be rebuilt. And it looks like it's not going to happen anytime soon God you are a promise keeping God I still believe you are that God. He's praising who God is all this and sometimes we become discouraged with no real reason because there's still got on the throne. Right. And when I get discouraged because I've looked at myself instead of looking to him. When I get discouraged because I do well to ponder what I can do instead of what he can do. Who I Am said of who he is. And God wants us to God wants us to spend time. Praising him we go through this whole prayer. But you get the idea. Daniel is praising God. I want to look also at Psalm one hundred fifty saw my one hundred fifty. This is perhaps I mean the Psalms almost every Psalm is a psalm of praise. David is the great praise or. Can I call him that at all that's a word or not but it is now right. Psalm one hundred fifty is the is the conclusion. Of saw the whole collection of David's Psalms or songs of praise and noticed with me. I mean it's like he's got to the end of his paper maybe I'll know he ran out of something. He's writing the last Psalm. And it's as if he wants us to remember the theme. His book. It's the grand conclusion is the epilogue it's what he wants us to go away with remembering after we read Psalms right and here it says Psalm one hundred fifty what is to say what is a start with. Praise the Lord. Praise God in his sanctuary. Praise Him in His my D. firmament. Praise him for his my V.X.. Praise Him according to his. Excellent greatness. Praise him with the sound of the trumpet. Sit praise him with the lute and the harp. Praise him with the temporal and dance. Praise him with stringed instruments and flutes. Praise him with loud assembles. Praise him with clashing symbols. Let everything that has breath. Praise the Lord. And then if we didn't get the idea. Praise the Lord. You have. That's the theme of David lie. That's the theme of David songs. Praise the Lord. If you're living if you're breathing. You have a calling a divine mandate. And that is to praise God. I ask myself the question again How much of ice. Prays to God. This week. Our last passage we'll turn to is actually the example prayer that Jesus gave for us Matthew chapter six. If you want to turn with me there. Matthew chapter six and we're going to look at the sample prayer that Jesus gave us when you pray. This is how you should pray remember the disciples came to him. They had heard his prayers. They knew that there's prayers were answered. They knew that prayer was a personal correspondence a relationship between Jesus and the father. And they wanted that kind of experience. And so they came to him. And they asked him how they should pray teaches to pray. And the other gospels that tells us that. Part of the story and. Jesus here is telling them how not to pray in Matthew six and then in verse five it says. When you should pray should not be like the hypocrites and. Be seen of men and so forth. Verse verse eight therefore be not like them for your father knows the things you have need before you ask him. So you don't need to spend all of your time just making a litany of of. Lists of things to tell gob do this for me do this for me no. Prayer is not so that we can have a. We can have a. Get things out of God is not like one of those vending machines you see you know where you put a quarter and you get two gumballs. But another quarter and you get another two gumballs that's not prayer. Prayer is not intended for you to be able to extract something out of God. Prayer is intended for us to have a relationship with the King of Kings and to come into His presence and to be overflowing with his all. And with all of his glory and his of his character so that we can be transformed to be more like him. Listen God already knows the things we need he would be able to provide for us much easier. If we would just get our hearts in a right relationship with him. I'm not saying you should pray for things don't. God God God tells us to pray. But this is the example of the model prayer and he says here. When you pray. In this manner. Pray. Our Father in heaven. Hollywood is your name. What is that. You are a holy God. A holy God. Your character is holding its praises and holloed is your name. Your kingdom come your will be done On earth as it is in heaven. That surrender isn't. It's allowing God to have us. Take us uses. Your will be done On earth as it is in heaven in heaven. Everything is done according to God's will right perfectly they obey. When I pray that prayer it's me giving permission to God. To have his will. In my life. Now this is not just something we do when we were baptized. This is something that we do every single day. And sometimes a day doesn't go as we planned but you know what. If our. If our. If our heart. And Will is surrendered to Jesus. Then we can accept whatever life brings is coming from his hand because he doesn't make mistakes. And he only allows those things. That could to come to us that he knows he can prepare a way of escape for us that we can be able to bear it. So your will be done On earth as it is in heaven then we have requests don't we give us this day our daily bread and. Forget and forgive our forgive us our debts as we forgive our debtors do not lead us into temptation but deliver us from the evil one. For Yours is the kingdom. And the power. And the glory forever. Amen. So I want to do is take a moment now. We have about two minutes. I want to take a moment. And I want to give us an opportunity to give thanksgiving. And praise. Now we don't have microphones out there I want to be like. One sentence. If you have something you're thankful for or you would like to praise God for this is just not for to Nettie. To say I'm thankful for this. I praise God for being such and such. And you know I heard already this morning. Peggy worse Peggy Peggy told me she had a Thanksgiving. What was it Peggy. That's a Thanksgiving imagine. Now what can we say to praise God for for that experience. Praise God that He is a protector. And then got an awesome God. Praise the lord something else somebody is thankful for today. Dora. He's a powerful God and He answers prayer and he loves us. He's a loving God Thank you. What an amazing God yes. God is merciful he doesn't give me what I deserve isn't got a good God. Yes although you think we ought to be more merciful. Yeah. Anyone else. Someone. Have something they're thankful for want to praise God for yes. God is a patient. God. And he is a forgiving God. John. God is still on the throne. He is after all king of kings Izadi. Yes. That's what we need to remember he's king and we can praise him because he is in control. Thank you. Someone else something they're thankful for want to praise God for Valerie. God what a great position he's a healing God Yes Paul. God never leaves us he's faithful. And we praise God for being faithful. Yes ups and downs of life he's faithful yes. Yes thankful for joy. Aren't you glad that God made us with emotions and he fills us with joy. What amazing God yes. For never giving up on us. Yes. When he is my savior. He took me. He's not only my substitute but my example. We can praise him for that right. What an amazing testimony. Who got is. Yes or. Miracles God is a miracle working God amen. Yes. Franco. He has given us life he is the source of life isn't he Lucy. So we thank God that he provides and we praise him because he is the provider. And I heard her say What an amazing God is a God good. I think we ought to talk about him or think about him or Joseph this. Why. God changes not consistent. Wow. If we could be more like him. Joseph Amen. Unconditional love. Patience. Yes or. Yes. Every day. We just take it for granted exactly the food we eat the water we drink there we breathe that's all gift of God Thank You God for provider Silas. Knowledge. OK. He is wisdom isn't he the fear of the Lord connects us with him. Wow. Thank you we could explore that. He is no a boy he's approachable isn T.. He wants to dwell with us no evil. That's an amazing. I mean do you think of a transcendent God but he says I want to do well. Abide in me and I in you. Powerful. We can praise God for being a noble God. Yes. Yes. Yes. God gives us hope. He's a hopeful God. Doesn't the past doesn't matter the present doesn't even matter. Because he says I know the plans I have for you. Plans have to give you hope. And a future. Yes So many things that we could praise God for do you think we ought to praise God more. Yes. Not just think of my Hope this week you will think about the difference between Thanksgiving and. Praise in your time with God. That you will spend time. Just praising him for who he is by God's grace I hope it will make you and me. More like him as well as my desires and your desire. When I have that experience. Father in heaven we just thank you that you've given to us. Such a a call in the scripture. Not just to express gratitude but to express praise. And Lord I thank you for being a hearing. Answering God who loves to hear the things. The thanksgiving and praise. Of your people. So today profile that I just pray that you would help us to fill our hearts with praise. That as we think of all the many many characteristics. We've just scratched the surface of who you are. We could. We could stay all day. And still not even be a drop in the bucket. Of the mazing. Holy majestic. Awesome powerful. God you are yet loving and approachable and hopeful and. And all of the things that we've shared Lord. Thank you for being that kind of a god help us become more like you we pray. Jesus. This media was brought to you by audio first a website dedicated to spreading God's word through free sermon audio. And much more. If you would like to know more about audio verse. If you would like to listen to more sermon. Leave to visit. W W W dot org.


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