Have you ever wondered about the difference between thanking and praising the Lord? The Bible talks about both, but it’s easy to combine the two as one.
It’s easy to think that they both mean the same thing when actually there’s a difference, and knowing this difference can help us to experience the Lord in a more detailed way.
So what’s the difference between thanking and praising the Lord, and how does it affect our experience?
What it means to thank the Lord
To thank the Lord is to thank Him for the things that He’s done for us and provided for us.
We may thank Him for another day to experience Him and enjoy Him or for providing us with food to eat and a house to live in. We may thank Him for giving us a job when we’re looking for work or thank Him for saving a family member that we’ve been praying for over a period of years.
This is what it means to thank the Lord: we thank Him for all of the things that He’s done for us.
What it means to praise the Lord
Praising the Lord, on the other hand, is even higher and more meaningful than thanking Him.
When we praise the Lord, we praise Him for who He is and what He’s done apart from what He’s done for us. For example, we can praise Him for His redeeming death on the cross, His resurrection from the dead, and His ascension to the heavens. We can praise Him as the One seated at the right hand of God far above all rule and authority and as the One who is the Head over all things to the church.
These are all marvelous aspects of who Christ is–apart from any benefit to us. Regardless of our situation or what we’re going through, Christ is a marvelous and glorious One who is worthy to be praised.
Why it’s good to thank and praise the Lord
As Christians, it’s very good for us to thank and to praise the Lord.
We should be thankful people who take time to express our thanks to the Lord. Thanking Him is a practice that’s mentioned in the Bible, and it’s good for us to experience this in our Christian life. It saves us from being bitter, and it saves us from being ungrateful.
First Thessalonians 5:16-18 says this about thanking the Lord:
16 Always rejoice,
17 Unceasingly pray,
18 In everything give thanks; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you.
This verse mentions that in everything we should give thanks. Why? Because it’s impossible for us to know all of the wonderful things the Lord does and the marvelous ways that He works. Thus, we want to be those who thank Him in all things.
We also want to be those who praise Him.
Praising the Lord is very good and very important for us to do. It allows us to get out of our situation and to forget about ourselves. We can forget about any problems and any woes we may have. We can forget about the job we’ve yet to receive or how poor or pitiful we think that we are.
Instead, we get out of ourselves and praise God for who He is. No matter what we’re experiencing or what we’re going through, God is worthy to be praised. He’s the Creator of the Universe, the Redeemer, the Lamb, the Christ of God, the Savior, and the King. He’s so many things to us! As such a One, he’s worthy to be praised!
We can also praise Him at any time. We can praise Him in a meeting with other Christians, and we can praise Him in our car on the way to work. We can also praise Him when we’re at home and our situation isn’t so promising. Even if the outlook is bleak, we can take time to praise the Lord. In doing so, we get out of our situation, and we see Christ as the wonderful One that He is. We realize that even though our situation is not so good, Christ is good and worthy to be praised. We even forget that our problems exist and only care to praise the Lord for who He is.
We can simply say:
Lord, I praise You for who You are and for what You’ve done. I praise You as the One who is sitting on the throne at the right hand of God. I praise You as the One who is far above all rule and authority and power and lordship. Lord, You are worthy to be praised. You’re the alpha and the omega, the beginning and the end, the firstborn of all creation and the firstborn son of God. Praise You Lord Jesus! Praise You for who You are! You are surely worthy to be praised! Praise You dearest Lord!
By praising in this way, we get out of our situation, and we see the Lord for who He really is. We forget about ourselves, and we look away unto Jesus who is the Author and Perfect of our faith (Hebrews 12:2).
Whether you’re going through a difficult time or not, it’s good to thank and to praise the Lord. We can thank Him and praise Him at any time. We have so much to thank Him for because He’s done so much for us. We also have so much to praise Him for because of the marvelous, wonderful Person that He is.
May we all learn to thank and to praise the Lord in a daily way. By thanking Him, we acknowledge all of the things He’s done for us; by praising Him, we get out of our situation and praise Him as the One who’s worthy to be praised.
Oh Lord! Teach us how to thank You and praise You so that we can experience You in a deeper and richer way!
This post was inspired by message 14 in the Life Study of Ephesians by Witness Lee.
Photo Credit: National Park Service Digital Image Archive – Spring Storm on Moro Rock, Sequoia & Kings Canyon Foothills