What Exactly is High Praise?
February 27, 2012
Updated November 14, 2017
31 comments 41178 views
Several years ago, I heard the concept “high praise” at a prayer gathering, and it was the first time that I could remember that I had heard that term, at least the first time it registered. I tucked that thought in the back of my mind, and every once in a while would reflect on it. Later on, during some devotion time, the Spirit really seemed to emphasize this concept as I was reading Ps. 149 in the NKJV where vs. 6 reads, Let the high praises of God be in their mouths… I started reflecting on what the high praises of God might look like.
My first thought was LOUD!! This might make those of us CRC’ers who are more reserved, just a bit nervous, and I don‘t blame you. We have no problem cheering and shouting out loud at a concert or a match-up of some of our favorite sports teams, but in Church? Is that even reverent?
So I studied some of the Hebrew words for praise. We are familiar with “halal” the root of hallelujah. When the Hebrews heard “halal,” their understanding was to celebrate with exuberance, clamorous, loud, to boast in/of the LORD! It was intended to be intense. Psalm 150 uses it in every verse 2-3 times. Another fascinating time it is used is Ezra 3:10-13, where it is further testified as a great shout, like a battle cry or a victory shout. Hmmm, interesting.
Another Hebrew word for praise is “yadah.” It literally means to use the hand, especially to revere and worship, so when the Hebrews would hear this “praise” in worship (i.e. Ps. 139:14), they would physically worship by using (possibly clapping) or raising their hands. It was a physical action as well as with the mouth. Hmmm again.
So, is there good biblical precedence for high praise? I think so!
This song of praise, originally sung by David is probably one of his most intense times of worship that we know of (2 Samuel 6; I Chron 15/16; see 16:34), and it is used multiple times in scripture. The context of each time is significant:
So, have we ever experienced high praise in our congregations? Maybe not quite like that, but I believe we offer a form of high praise when we speak or sing scripture, especially those scriptures where high praise is occurring. We are offering the inspired words we’ve received from God, back to Him. "Praise the LORD, He is good, His love endures forever!" (Ps. 136)
I am sure there are more ways to give high praise and I would love for you to share any thoughts you have. Hopefully this will start you thinking about the concept if it’s something you aren’t very familiar with or just haven’t thought much about before.
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Thanks for this Bev.
I just pulled out Logos4 and did some word studies. It looks to me like "high praise" in Ps 149:6 (and Ps.66:7), probably refers to lifting God up in praise. Whether the loudness of the praise is in view here, is hard to say. The fact that the word is not used very often, doesn't help us draw any conclusions about what the "high" in "high praise" actually refers to. Too bad.
On the other hand, you have come to the right conclusion about loudness of volume, exhuberance, etc., being an important part of Hebrew worship. Ps.100 begins with "Shout for joy!" (traditionally softened to "Make a joyful noise").
This makes us uncomfortable because in our worship tradition we tend to emphasize the "Be still and know..." (Ps.46:10), and "let all the earth be silent" (Hab.2:20) kind of worship. We even tend to see quiet worship as more respectful, even more authentic. We also tend to view exhuberant worship as mere emotionalism, undignfied and even (for some in our tradition) improper before a holy God.
This is clearly out of tune with what we see in the Bible. We have something we call the "regulative principle" for worship, that says we should only worship God as He has told us to worship Him. In principle it's not that bad, in practice, we use it to exclude forms of worship that are Biblical! (We're sort of funny that way.)
I like quiet, meditative worship, and feel very 'at home' there, and for me it's a very intimate kind of worship. But to say that all worship/praise must be quiet is to try to use the same crayon for the whole picture. The Bible evidences a range of expression, of emotion, of activity, of words, of types of praise that encompasses the entire range of the human psyche. Our worship experience at church should reflect all of that Biblical experience (except the temple sacrifices and stuff, of course!).
Thanks for a thoughtful article.
Thank you Rich, for digging into the Logos/Word some more on this =) and sharing your thoughts and insights...
there's a time for each - quiet, meditative worship, and loud, exuberant worship, and every level on the continuum between the 2... it's like you said, we/crc seem to hang out on the quieter end, other than maybe when we hear the organ =)
here's something I posted somewhere on the network last year some time, but I'll post it again, because it is a beautiful example of high praise.
Nice video. Good example of dance as praise.
Yesterday at church during worship, I felt the urge to give a shout when we were singing a line about Christ's victory over death. I am a person of few words who prefers to stay in the background, so I know it was the Holy Spirit encouraging me to shout out in worship. When I did, a few others joined in. It helped that the worship leader encouraged the congregation to worship in whatever way we felt led to. This is a pretty conservative bunch (Evangelical Free Church), so I am encouraged that God is definitely up to something good in our body.
bless your heart Heidi... Beautiful, precious... thanks for sharing! there are so many psalms that include shouting as praise to God...
I've been praying for a fresh flow of the Spirit... your testimony is very encouraging! Thank You Lord!
I ran across your thread from a random google search. It's been here quite a while and I'm wondering if your interest is still strong concerning 'high' praise. If so please comment as I may be of use to you. In the meantime please read Hebrews 12 22-24 and note that it is written in the present, not past, tense. I'll keep an eye out for any reply.
Thanks for responding David, I would be interested in your insights and thoughts... Hebr 12 is a key chapter that God has made living and active for me regarding various matters, so appreciate your insights on the present tense of our worship...
Also curious David, what was prompting you to research "high" praise?
What prompted me? I honestly don't know except that it was probably the Holy Spirit directing me to this thread.
BTW you have mail
It's 3 years later. How has your worship progressed?
David, it's actually 9 years later... this was originally posted in 2012, then this website re did some updating and somehow it was updated in 2017...
I continue to grow in understanding and expressing "high praise" along with the many physical expressions of praise based on the Hebrew words used... the "high" praise is a concept that has not been a part of my tradition's language regarding worship...
This is so surreal reading through the comments and realising I am here in 2022 3.30am being directed by the holy spirit to read Ps 149 and further nudged to unpack what "high praise" means! And this is the first link I clicked into out of the several... So glad I obeyed and so at peace to know God still speaks and his word is alive and active and so should our praise!
This is a pleasant surprise but I should not be surprised that the Holy Spirit did direct you here.
I'll get back with you soon.
Bless you heart Adebola! what a beautiful & powerful confirmation for high praise... may you find opportunities & safe places to worship Him with all your heart, soul, mind & strength... I was able to experience high praise this past weekend as I drove over rugged mountain passes, turned up the tunes & worshipped & wept as I had the car to myself for 5 hours with a safe & solitary place to express intense worship & love of our Almighty God, our Heavenly Father, our glorious Savior & Lord by the power of the Holy Spirit in me... after several hours of intense worship through incredible scenery, the grand finale was as I was driving up along the Columbia River up into the hills of Chelan, WA , driving into a gorgeous sunset as this song was playing - this music is so beautiful/powerful even if the words are in Latin... I'm weeping again even as I remember it... filling the universe with wonder & glory... (306) Christopher Tin - Sogno di Volare ("The Dream of Flight") (Civilization VI Main Theme) - YouTube
TO GOD BE THE GLORY!
It sounds as if the Father has found you. I pray that you will continue on this path and move even deeper in praise.
just one scripture I'd like to mention.
Eph 5;19 Speaking to yourselves in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing and making melody in your heart to the Lord;
It looks like a progressive move to me. We don't seem to be able to always 'make melody' but we can at least start with speaking to ourselves in psalms and that is an important and good place to start when the world (or the adversary) distracts us or resists our praise.
But the hour cometh, and now is, when the true worshippers shall worship the Father in spirit and in truth: for the Father seeketh such to worship him.
The last 6 words are what I'd like to emphasize - If one seeks the Fathers presence, He is already looking for you - this is worthy of meditation
Thanks for your encouragement David! You are a blessing!
PRAISE THE LORD, HIS LOVE ENDURES FOREVER!
also, thanks for the confirmation on cultivating God's Presence... I've been reading this lately...
The Presence: Experiencing More of God: Rowlands, Alec, Cymbala, Jim: 9781414387246: Amazon.com: Books
love this high praise!!!
(364) Release the Sound - IBC Live - Indiana Bible College - YouTube
Wondering if you are following the Asbury outpouring?
I have much to say on this subject. To start I want to note I was never into high worship and honestly even if I knew the phrase I assumed it was just louder more intense worship. I would sing when I was alone but that was about it sure there was that flow but I had no idea just how much I was missing out both in this and in my relationship with him in general.. I cannot go into great detail right now as it would take a long time to write but my life from my birth has been nothing but how life seems to love to show how unfair cruel and reasonable it can be seemingly for no reason. The scars and inner wounds that have dug into my heart as thorns piercing and making it bleed this is how I felt and even now it is not really gone.
But he and I ever since I was saved from the start have always a very deep very intimate kind of love and relationship, when I was saved it was actually because of how life had beaten me down and how my family had made me wonder what it feels like to actually be cared about to actually matter.
Lets just say the next morning after I broke down and begged him to come into my heart just so I could not be alone anymore well I require a lot of coffee to wake up in the morning pr at the very least it has to be pretty strong. Well I woke up that morning instantly filled with life itself you might not see it but it was as if an electric current was flowing through me in the form of fire and I would not be surprised at all if it was not just inside me but all around me I did my first true act of high worship and in my joy leaped out of bed and danced for him thanking and praising him.
For me I declared to him that day I kneeled down and swore an oath to him I wanted a covanant with him I called a coavnent of the hearts I saw in my mind my heart and his Oh if I could express in words the affection endearment and just absolute head over heels I poured into his heart in my mind I wrote the word mine on his heart in gold radiant letters I even went so far as to burn it on his heart I claimed him that day he was mine I was going to have him that heart of his the vast deep endless ocean that is heart I said to him how I was going to sink as deep as I am allowed into that ocean fakking deeper and deeper into the depths falling deeper and deeper in love with him as I sink into deep
He at the same time was doing the same thing pouring his love and affection into my heart this kind of love and affection in short is to much for the human body to contain it was only a small drop of his love and it was to much for my body to handle but if your soul was able to leap out of your soul believe me it would this love is far beyond anything you can fathon iy is so deep so rich so thick warm deep I just can't put it in words you instantly beg him to take you trust me that is the only response you are going to be able to speak your soul itself I felt it trying to leap out to him how I wanted to run into his arms so badly to just tackle him down bury my face into him and declare him as mine.
This was just how I expressed everything to him on that day and again without knowing it a high form of worship. He was always more to me than salvation, more thana savior more than my king and Lord it was always him that my hearts eyes saw even in the worst time even when I felt dead inside it was always him just him.
So things like this gave happened frequently with him and I all through out my ten years of of being saved I can honestly say what he and I had even then was not normal it would amaze people it would shock them they would always say I was a rare sort how the love and spirit of God seemed to just indwell in me and overflow
I saw how many people who weren't Christians even this one women I encountered who truly is one of those people you only hear about life was far more cruel to her than even me and that is sayingg a lot but these people would always say how I was the first real Christian they have ever met simply because the love and care I showed this one women even broke down in tears just because I treated her like a human being.
But I recently at the beginn of this experienced God on an entirely different level due to a demonic attack that overwhelmed me bringing me to break down bawling in fear running out of my upstairs apartnment in the rain bare foot with a broken foot mind you.
But what came of it was a man who showed up to help and he put his hands on me began praying and said to me this is God doing this not me.
Now I have had this done before nothing happens but I am still always open to it so suddenly the actual power of God slammed me I was so amazed so bewildered so in awe that I was just stunned and could only just sit there smiling the biggest smile like an idiot I would love to see wgat my face looked like oh man... but that day I didn't know it yet but that was the start of a journey with him that I had been waiting for from the start When we began this journey together we did so with a sworn oath to each other betrothed from the beginning I made it clear to him I intended to go all in I wanted something more with him more than faith more than salvation more than love it is difficult to explain it is like such a deep level of intimacy closeness unity with him that it requires a new word to express but then waiting and seeking searchidng ti jbiw ecery thing I could of him doing whatever it took to deepend the love and bond between us but never able to really get there. But after my third attempt of suicide as life actually much more brutal after that my health becoming so bad with little to no help having to call 911 to go to the hospitalmany times so weak that I mostly lived in my bed but after the third attempted I was back home listening to worship music just being with him and I starting sining but my heart at that time was just expressing my affection for him we were really just talking and being together when I just started singing.
It started at first as normal but then something happened I felt a change in me uddenly I felt a barrier I suddenly as is given sight saw a barrier of praise. Though my heart was in it the singing I was given was only the beginning I knew he wanted me to get passed this barrier to reach something hidden something new
This is when the doors blew open I went into a state of worship and pay attention to that because that is important.
I was worshipping him and praising him with my entire being with every cell in my body every essence of my being. The holy joy and life that comes with such worship how suddenly the kingdom makes sense how suddenly you realize this is the key to opening the gates of heaven you see there is a whole other level with him that we are unaware of.
You know how there is a limit of the universe we are able to understand and see even with all the advancements in technology even though we gave aggressively researcged and studied but there is a point where the vast universe is beyond reach but the wonders and mysteries from what we have learned so far would completely bea game changer well it is like that with him/
I saw that he was calling to a new kind thing with him to go into that unknown with him to have what he has been promising this whole time all throughout scripture.
I was changed I was activated things with him were different now
I apologize for the long post but I just felt all this needed to be said I could if I was able go on and on boasting and expressing the absolute joy wonders life power that comes with such worship the very presence of God himself filled my room at least four times and that I won't even comment on as his presence requires a whole other post to even begin to explain but lets just say we are to chase after it for a reason
I am so blessed to read about what God has done in your life and how He has blessed you. I wish everyone would see their desparate need for Jesus as you did. GOD IS GOOD! He gave you life, He saved your life, and He is giving you new life in Him. Hallelujah!
I don't know how to post videos, I tried to post a youtube video of a song called my praise by Phillip craig and dean that song says everything.
Thanks for sharing this Blain... listening to it now!
(317) Phillips, Craig & Dean - My Praise - YouTube
Bless you Blain, what beauty from ashes... thanks for sharing your powerful journey & experiences of high praise, even though some of what you share is also very painful... I pray you will continue to find deep healing as you continue to seek God's face/heart in worship & prayer...
You are a precious & priceless child of the Most High God, you are a new creation in Christ & a temple of His Holy Spirit... may many more encounter God in these life changing ways, giving Him the glory & praise, as He is worthy...
His chesed/lovingkindness endures forever!!! He is abounding in Love & His love is higher than the heavens... may you sense His sweet shalom as you continue to grow & mature in your relationship with our Heavenly Father, abiding in Christ Jesus & in step with the Holy Spirit!
Your sister in Christ,
I just want to thank you guys for those kind words I feel them to be a bit undeserving but that is all exactly what Jesus would say too so thank you honestly it was very hard for me with my eyes as damaged as they are it took me a long time I started at 3:30 am and then found out it was already almost six am when I was done.
I also am always worried that I freak people out with the things I say as I know how odd they are. But I just wasn't built like everyone else I probably would have grown as a normal man if not for how life went for me I don't want to go on a woe is me rant on how I had cancer as a kid and the abuse and everything else because while it is true that affected a lot about me my physical form my brain from the radiation and chemo it all made me look like I am a teenager and I am 32 it is actually kind of funny seeing the reaction of when you had to have an adult to see the rated R movies they would be shocked to find out I was of age it was always kind of funny.
It also made me child like in heart or perhaps I was always like that. I know that with him when I always imagine myself with him I only see myself in form of a small child maybe five year old size it is as if it is the real me somehow and honestly I would not be surprised
But I also have a mature adult side of me as well I was kind of blessed with both worlds I am able to look at the things of God from a child like perspective things are just simple that way with him you are more liekly to listen to him when he is teaching you in this kind of state you don't over complicate things yyyyyyyyyyyyyyun't bother with the details you just soak in what he is saying
Even your daily life with him is like this your just living in a childs perspective seeing through eyes we forgot as adults the wonder of God being mesmorized like you have sparkling eyes looking at him kind of thing
The adult perspect is more about being mature in Christ being obedient never forgetting that I didn't just make him my savior I made him my Lord and I understand the gravity of that. I also have the utmost reverence for him, When you utterly surrender I mean really and truly surrender unto to him when you make him your Lord, your king, your absolute everything this is the starting point.
We say Lord so casually all the time but do we understand the gravity of that word? the heaviness that comes with it?
This is not an ordinary word it is a word that in itself when spoken demands respect it is an amzing aspect of him because remember he is the Lord of Lords the king of kings he wasn't kidding about that.
So in utter surrender you give him even every day of life from that moment on what he says goes you either are dead serious about being obedient and about him being your Lord or he doesn't care in that moment in utter surrender as I was even on my knees with my head as low as it could go he wanted full devotion no more playing games no more messing around with how we are doing things he demands obedience in that moment you have a choice to make and if you say yes he takes you into a as I call it new dimension with him the things he has shown me and given me the intensity of them.
I don't even dare share most of the things because lets just say I had my first test of obedience to see if I was serious I didn't hesitate but he also told me it was going to be hard that it was going to go against my normal ways and that I would have to deal with attacks but to trust him and as long as I continue to obey he will show me his kingdom.
Well I am not used to such attacks I was obedient all the way through as best as I could even with my health being really bad
But now I just don't have confidence anymore and it is true the things he wanted me to say were out there and it requires one to listen with the spirit not read what the words say and I even explained that but eventually the attacks after he said I was finally done left me kind of beaten and now every time I speak honestly from my heart I am always so scared I freak people out or something.
I mean it I don't know how else to be but to speak my heart it is just instinctive and he knows this that instinct part he put in me as it is usually by instinct I know the way to go when it comes to him I just go with the flow of the spirit.
And people always of course first jump to saying what if the spirit your following isn't of God quoting we are to test all spirits every time their first instanct is to to try to down play it.
Y mean maybe it is just me but I don't think the holy spirit is first quick to downplay something about himself.
Some people actually do know the spirits flow because they know him he is a personal God he is a real person and a lot of people treat him like an idea or something in scripture sure they say he is inside them but the spirit speaks to the spirit.
Praise the Lord, He gave us His Holy Spirit to help us, comfort us, counsel us, lead us, guide us, etc...
Blain, thanks for sharing your heart & a bit of your journey... each journey is beautiful & unique in its own way, even though there are times it can be very painful, it is also very personal & profound...
May the eyes of our hearts continue to be open with the Spirit of wisdom & revelation to know our Heavenly Father, our Lord & Savior Jesus Christ more and more by the power of the Holy Spirit in each of us as His saints/holy people in our journeys of faith & praise... there's a time for high praise, a time for solemn reverence & everything in between... \o/ \o/ \o/ PTL!
Here's some vintage live worship songs from 1977. Recorded live from somewhere in England,
These are all scripture set to music..
More for free download a vintageworshiptapes.com in mp3 format
I just checked and these are are not hot links so a copy/paste is needed - sorry.
I will call upon the Lord Psalm - 18:13
Who is like unto Thee - Exodus 15:11
Oh give thanks unto the Lord - Psalm 107
We are a chosen people - 1Peter 2:9
Awake, Awake oh Zion - Isaiah 52:1
I will enter His gates with thanksgiving - Psalm 100
Thank you for sharing these worship songs David... I just subscribed to your channel & hit "play all"... listening as I respond :) \o/ \o/ \o/ PTL!
Ephesians 5:19 Speak to one another with psalms, hymns, and spiritual songs. Sing and make music in your hearts to the Lord, (biblehub.com)
Very confirming of one of the 59 "one another" commands that I love to share!!!
The “One Another” Passages (mmlearn.org)
TO GOD BE THE GLORY!
you bless my heart with this - thank you.
Ahhh.. you are appreciated David!
Couldn't copy one pic so here's a whole bunch ; )
53,029 Worshipping God Photos and Premium High Res Pictures - Getty Images
Hi all here,
I loaded the songs listed above to an mp3 player and by accident loaded the "Awake, Awake oh Zion" track twice. They play back to back on that device. Last week I was sitting on a stool in my wood shop listening to those songs and Awake played. As I listened I focused in on the drums. Then I spotted a couple of pencils on the bench and thought I'll have a go at playing along with the recorded drums when the song replayed. I did so and while I didn't keep time with the recording, when I set my heart on playing my "pencil drum" I became aware of a greater sense of GOD'S presence as I kept my focus on HIM. I think HE smiled.
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