By Cindi McMenamin, Crosswalk.com
When it comes to prayers, are yours all about you and your desires or all about God and His worthiness to be praised?
Although Scripture tells us to come boldly before the throne of God and make our requests known (Hebrews 4:16), and Jesus even told us we have not because we ask not, there is a time and place to ask. Ecclesiastes 5:2 tells us, “Be not rash with your mouth, nor let your heart be hasty to utter a word before God, for God is in heaven and you are on earth. Therefore, let your words be few” (ESV).
Prayer is ultimately about communion with God and aligning our hearts with His. We can make sure our words are meaningful and honoring to God when we come to Him reverently and in awe with an adoration prayer.
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What Is an Adoration Prayer to God?
To adore someone means to show a deep love and respect for that person. Therefore, an adoration prayer includes addressing God Almighty with love, admiration, devotion, awe, and high regard. Some practice adoration prayers by repeating back to God His attributes, acknowledging His worthiness, and praising Him for Who He is and all He has done. Because Scripture provides our basis for knowing Who God is, adoration prayers can be full of Scripture, and that’s one way to ensure that we are praying “according to His will” (1 John 5:14-15).
There are many adoration prayers throughout Scripture. Here are just six that you can pray to God as a way of praising Him for His character and many attributes.
1. An Adoration Prayer for God's Majesty
In Psalm 8, David’s adoration prayer declares God as the Maker of heaven and earth. Then David compares humans to the majesty of God. David prays:
“O Lord, our Lord,
how majestic is your name in all the earth!
You have set your glory above the heavens.
Out of the mouth of babies and infants,
you have established strength because of your foes,
to still the enemy and the avenger.
When I look at your heavens, the work of your fingers,
the moon and the stars, which you have set in place,
what is man that you are mindful of him,
and the son of man that you care for him?
Yet you have made him a little lower than the heavenly beings
and crowned him with glory and honor.
You have given him dominion over the works of your hands;
you have put all things under his feet,
all sheep and oxen,
and also the beasts of the field, the birds of the heavens, and the fish of the sea,
whatever passes along the paths of the seas.
O Lord, our Lord,
how majestic is your name in all the earth!”
2. An Adoration Prayer for God’s Rescue and Protection
“I love you, O Lord, my strength.
The Lord is my rock and my fortress and my deliverer,
my God, my rock, in whom I take refuge,
my shield, and the horn of my salvation, my stronghold.
I call upon the Lord, who is worthy to be praised,
and I am saved from my enemies.”
David then describes the danger he was in as he was being hunted by men. After describing God’s powerful rescue, he proclaims:
“This God—his way is perfect;
the Word of the Lord proves true;
he is a shield for all those who take refuge in him.
For who is God, but the Lord?
And who is a rock, except our God?— (verses 30-31).
“The Lord lives, and blessed be my rock;
And exalted be the God of my salvation” (verse 46).
3. An Adoration Prayer About God’s Powerful Voice
In Psalm 29, David, the songwriter, again, prays an adoration prayer calling all heaven and earth to praise God for the power and wonder of His voice:
“Ascribe to the Lord, O heavenly beings,
ascribe to the Lord glory and strength.
Ascribe to the Lord the glory due his name;
worship the Lord in the splendor of holiness.
The voice of the Lord is over the waters;
the God of glory thunders,
the Lord, over many waters.
The voice of the Lord is powerful;
the voice of the Lord is full of majesty...
The Lord sits enthroned over the flood;
the Lord sits enthroned as king forever.
May the Lord give strength to his people!
May the Lord bless his people with peace!” (verses 1-4, 10-11).
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4. An Adoration Prayer for God’s Provision
“I will extol you, my God and King,
and bless your name forever and ever.
Every day I will bless you
and praise your name forever and ever.
Great is the Lord, and greatly to be praised,
and his greatness is unsearchable.
One generation shall commend your works to another,
and shall declare your mighty acts.
On the glorious splendor of your majesty,
and on your wondrous works, I will meditate.
They shall speak of the might of your awesome deeds,
and I will declare your greatness. (Psalm 145:1-6)
5. An Adoration Prayer Praising God for His Mercy and Forgiveness
In Nehemiah 9:5-38, we read a beautiful adoration prayer after Nehemiah (the king’s cupbearer) and the Israelites rebuilt the wall around Jerusalem. After a time of fasting and confession, the Levites told the people: “Stand up and bless the Lord your God from everlasting to everlasting” and then prayed an adoration prayer recounting all that God had done for them and all the times they repeatedly rebelled. The prayer was not a prayer of confession (that was done earlier), rather, it focused on God’s provision, goodness, righteousness, and mercy, in spite of the people’s hardened hearts. The prayer praised God who “did not make an end of them or forsake them” because He is a “gracious and merciful God” (verse 31).
6. An Adoration Prayer Praising God During Suffering
We are commanded to praise and adore God even when life isn’t going smoothly for us. After enduring many trials (more than any man on earth, besides Jesus, will ever have to endure), Job questioned God. After God gave Job a lengthy account of His holiness, and started questioning Job about his ability to sovereignly manage and sustain the universe better than the Almighty, Job humbly prayed brief adoration prayer in response:
“I know that you can do all things,
and that no purpose of yours can be thwarted.
‘Who is this that hides counsel without knowledge?’
Therefore I have uttered what I did not understand,
things too wonderful for me, which I did not know.
I had heard of you by the hearing of the ear,
but now my eye sees you” (Job 42:2-3, 5).
There are many more adoration prayers in Scripture that you can recognize by their consistent praise of Who God is and all He has done.
How Can You Pray an Adoration Prayer?
You can pray one of Scripture’s adoration prayers word for word or paraphrase the verses to apply to your own circumstances, keeping the emphasis on God’s glory, not your response or situation. For example, Psalm 145:14-16 says:
“The Lord upholds all who are falling and raises up all who are bowed down.
The eyes of all look to you, and you give them their food in due season.
You open your hand; you satisfy the desire of every living thing.”
You can pray through those three verses above and apply them to your life by paraphrasing them to make them more personal. For example:
“Lord, You uphold all who feel like they’re falling and You raise up all who are humble and wait upon You to exalt them. Help me to be humble and wait for You, even when I believe I am falling.
And Lord You take care of every living creature. Help me with what I need, materially and financially this week. I know that You are the Only One who satisfies and when I look to You, You will always come through.”
You can also pray adoration prayers by reading through the Psalms, or other portions of Scripture, and in every verse in which God is praised, pray it aloud to God, making it your praise to Him as well.
Time to Get Started
So, what are you waiting for? Scripture says God’s Word is “breathed out by God” (2 Timothy 3:16), and “living and active, sharper than any two-edged sword, piercing to the division of soul and of spirit, of joints and of marrow, and discerning the thoughts and intentions of the heart” (Hebrews 4:12). That means it can convey to God your praise of Him today, just as much as it conveyed the praises of the writers of Scripture thousands of years ago.
Come before Him with an adoration prayer and, like the Psalmist said,
“Enter his gates with thanksgiving,
and his courts with praise!
Give thanks to him; bless his name!
For the Lord is good;
his steadfast love endures forever,
and his faithfulness to all generations” (Psalm 100:4-5).
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