Let everything that breathes praise the LORD (v. 6a). Why does the book of Psalms end there? Why does this liturgical book that remembers and reflects, confronts and heals, celebrates and laments the story of God’s people conclude with this line?
The Psalter engages us in every prayerful way imaginable, so why are the last six poems psalms of praise? These are not petitions or preparations; they are not words of comfort or confession. The Psalms take us into every nook and cranny of our hearts, surveying every experience of our lives. But after doing all that, this worship book clearly guides us back to intentional praise.
In worship we deal with, pray about, preach on, and make many kinds of commitments, which is good. But the Psalter leads us back to praise because, in the end, worship is about God. The beautiful poetry of Psalm 150 makes that perfectly clear.
Throughout the ages, many confessions of faith have proclaimed that glorifying God is the chief end and primary purpose of any human life. Some wonder if praise is something God needs, as if the Almighty is a megalomaniac. But God is not needy—we are.
We are self-focused creatures, and our daily demands keep us in that state. We need the practice of turning again and again to God with thankful hearts. Praise returns us to a proper disposition about who we are and what our place is in the world. All creation manifests God’s being. Everything that has breath expresses the reality of God’s glory. Remembering that together on a Sunday helps us manifest our part on Monday.
Why is praising God essential to your life?
God, guide me to use my daily breath in praise of you. Amen.