Psalm 9:1 “I will praise you, Lord, with all my heart; I will tell of all the marvelous things you have done.”

In the Bible study I am following, they occasionally take a look at the original Hebrew text of the Psalms. Today they looked at the word “heart” in this verse. A little backstory, Psalm 9 is assumed to have been written by David after he had victory over the Philistines, so David should be praising God! But, our western definition of “heart” doesn’t quite express the fulness of David’s praise. In this verse, “heart” in Hebrew is the word “leb” meaning the heart, mind, and soul of a person (I’ve linked “leb” to the Strong’s concordance for further definition).

What does it look like to praise God with your whole being? Is it being silent and reverent? Dancing and shouting? The beautiful thing is, it looks different for everyone. There is no wrong or right way to praise God. With that in mind, we also must be careful to not get in the way of others praising God with their whole being just because it’s different from how we do it. 

Having attended a Christian, liberal arts college, chapel was something that I was required to attend. Most people went begrudgingly, but others handful went with eagerness to learn. I’ll admit that some days I went just to get credit, but during those days God opened my eyes to see how others worshipped. There were those who jumped and danced as they worshipped; there were those who fell to their knees; there were those who stood still, completely engaged with the Father. 

Then there were those who sneered at the people worshipping charismatically and those who wished they had the confidence to be free with their praise. Now for a tough pill to swallow: the only people who are praising wrong are the ones who focus on what others are doing rather than focusing on the Lord. 

Brothers and sisters, let us encourage one another to praise God with our whole being in whatever way fits us. But don’t let your praise stop in church. Let it spill into your everyday. Praise God when you do the dishes. Praise him while you walk your dog. Praise him with your whole being. 

Sarah Harrison