Adoration is the one form of prayer where are not concerned with ourselves but with God alone. When we praise another person just for being that person, we are expressing an appreciation that transcends any tangible benefits we may have received or ever will receive from the one we are praising. Likewise, the highest praise we can offer God is to praise God just for being God. Praise is an ecstatic liberation from all self-preoccupation.
Praise is an ecstatic rocketing into God’s Desire; mimetic Desire at its most glorious. Nothing could be further from mimetic rivalry than praise. Praise has nothing to do with wanting what other people want except for wanting God for Godself. As thanksgiving moves towards praise, praise continues what thanksgiving started: it removes mimetic rivalry, all competition with everybody. Once thanksgiving is plunged into praise, gratitude and joy blend into one. Praise is the great unifier that brings all of us together
Since adoration is so totally centered on God, there is very little we can do on our own to praise God. Praise is not a commodity we can pull out of our inner selves at will. We can only open ourselves up to a flow of praise that comes from without but penetrates deeply within us and flows back out of us to God. Praise is a gift from God; it is the water welling up within us unto Eternal Life.
Praise may be as exciting as blaring trumpets or as silent as the still small voice the prophet Elijah heard. In fact, we praise God most deeply in silence. When we are silently directing our attention to the God, we can gently lay our preoccupations to one side and simply enjoy God’s presence. In silence, we come to appreciate more deeply the Person God is. Since praise transcends words and dissolves them, praise takes us far beyond rational thought. In doing this, praise is moving into contemplation where we rest in God for the sake of resting in God with no thought about what God will get out of it, let alone what we will get out of it.
Just as the praise of lovers for each other turns into babbling, baby talk, so does praise of God as we is shouted out in Psalm 148:
Praise the Lord!
Praise the Lord from the heavens;
praise him in the heights!
Praise him, all his angels;
praise him, all his host!
Next thing we know, all of creation gets into the act of praising the Creator:
Praise him, sun and moon;
praise him, all you shining stars!
Praise him, you highest heavens,
and you waters above the heavens!
The mountains and hills and stormy winds and sea monsters all join in. When all of creation, including earthly rulers, are praising God, any covetous desires for anything vanishes.
Most important, praise is the light of God on earth. In Heaven God is praised continuously, so when we offer praise, we are anticipating life in Heaven. Praise is not an escape from earthly life but an enrichment of it. Praise gives us the strength to face life with the conviction that God will bring all creation into God’s eternal glory. No matter how much we fear the ways we can destroy God’s world, the praise we allow to flow through our hearts and our bodies remains a light that no darkness can overcome.
This series begins with The Five Kinds of Prayer (1): Petitionary Prayer