Does God Want or Need Our Praise?
December 2, 2012
I had an interesting conversation with a friend last week about whether or not God wants or needs our praise. My friend comes from an upbringing that didn’t bring much to the table about religion, so she didn’t have a real opinion about it from a theoretical point of view. She simply felt good when she lifted up the name of God out loud. It made her feel close to God and “tingly.”
I, on the other hand, came from a very reformed place in religion where we were taught that God loves to hear his people praise his name. I see in the bible that angels, night and day, sing praise to God in heaven.
I know that in my heart, I feel the same as my friend—a kind of ambivalence about the law—yet love the process. But, I have trouble believing that a God who has everything, made everything, and could get everything could actually want his children to praise or exult Him/Her.
So many scriptures exist that share that God is like a Daddy to us. What good father wants to exact praise from his children? Respect, perhaps, but not praise. Maybe praise, in the way you would a great person, but not bowing down and worshipping, as the religious ministers insist that God wants.
So, I sat there wondering about this for a long time. I thought about the many times I exhorted the Lord with my entire heart, on my knees, expressing what I could only express bowing before the Almighty. I wondered if I had been amiss. I wondered if I had gone to my dad with authenticity and love and asked him, as an adult to help, if my prayers would have been just as heard as they were on my knees.
The answer came quickly. The exhortation of how I pray to get what I need isn’t about God at all. It’s about me. It’s about what I think will be what is needed to be heard. The truth is, God knows my needs before I even pray. My prayer is extraneous in the universal book of unfoldment. My prayer is important because as intention goes, what I believe to be true in my mind, will follow in my life. This is the law that Jesus preached about.
We see Jesus beseeching the Father on the cross and on his knees. We see and hear “The Lord’s Prayer” and try to exact from these teachings exactly what Jesus wanted us to hear about the art of praying.
In my mind, I think that when Jesus was exhausted and emptied of his own will, he found himself bowed to the floor, exemplifying an emptying of his own soul, rather than a bowing in praise of the Father. And when he prayed to the Father on the cross, it was certainly as a son would ask a Father in language that was exact and purposeful. The same, I believe, with “The Lord’s Prayer.”
I come to this now after a few days of thought: whether you are bowing, kneeling, dancing or praying with your hands folded, “if you heart is pure, your prayer is heard.”
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