Praise in public worship

Praise is the homage rendered to God by his creatures, in worship of his Person and thanksgiving for his blessings. It is wrong to withhold that glory which is his rightful due, for he has said Whoso offereth praise glorifieth me.
Every believer who meditates upon God’s works, recounts his benefits, and dwells by faith upon his unspeakable gift, will find praise not only a duty but also a delight. Praise sanctifies all aspects of life. Whatever else its burden may be, prayer should be praiseful, always including thanksgiving. The Holy Spirit’s grace is essential to the offering of spiritual praise.

Psa. 50:23; 11-14; 103:2; 2 Cor. 9:15; 1 Tim. 4:5; 1 Cor. 10:30, 31; 1 Thess. 5:16-18; Phil. 4:6.

The context of christian praise should be regulated by scriptural examples and principles. In Colossians 3:16 we find reference to three apparently different types of composition used in praise. These have been defined as follows:-

Psalms — spiritual poems set to music, including the Old Testament psalms, but not limited to them.

Hymns — songs of praise to the Lord. Again, they may be Old Testament psalms or hymns of praise composed by christians.

Spiritual songs — compositions on distinctly christian themes, suitable to fellowship meetings of the church, sung accompanied or unaccompanied.

Matt. 26:30; 1 Cor. 14:26.

Each of these is appropriate to christian praise today. Words, tunes and accompaniments (if any) ought to be worthy of the holiness and majesty of God. The content must be sound doctrinally, the form of high quality. The music should assist praise by stimulating spiritually rather than carnally, leaving the mind to concentrate unencumbered on the words. Whatever form is used, a spirit and attitude of reverence is required. This will be reflected in a suitable tempo of singing, neither so slow as to be laboured and lethargic, nor so quick as to lack a sense of the dignity and grandeur of holy things.

Preparation for both public praise and public prayer should be made in our private devotions. We are to rejoice in the Lord always. Such praise animates the dull and soothes the agitated spirit. It comforts and inspires the saints, and attracts the unconverted more than any other part of christian worship. Christianity has sung its triumphs throughout the ages and around the world.