“Praise the name of the Lord; give praise, O servants of the Lord…” (Ps 134/135: 1)
Giving praise, as distinct from asking for something, in prayer, is something I tend to neglect, when I am caught up in my usual concerns. Our liturgical services, however, consist largely of praise-filled texts and actions, although our ears tend to perk up more when we are asking for something, as in the litanies or “ektenies.” It is a common human tendency, I suppose, to be more aware of what we need, than of what we already have, thanks to the Lord’s abundant mercy and faith in us. So our prayers tend to look like shopping-lists of I need this and I need that, rather than praise-filled gratitude for His undying glory.
In order to be capable of praise-filled prayer, which fills my heart with humility, joy, and gratitude, I need to be aware of what I have. And this sometimes takes some work. I find it helpful to make a list of the many blessings, in the form of the experiences, situations, things, and people, in my life. The Lord, in His name, has carried me through many challenges and situations, both good and bad, lovingly leading me to growth. Above all He has given me Himself, most entirely, having elevated Himself on a cross, with outstretched hands, on a Friday, under Pontius Pilate. So today, on this Friday, I thank Him, and praise His holy name: Praise the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, now and forever!