"I will praise thee, O Lord, with my whole heart; I will show forth all thy marvelous works, I will be glad and rejoice in thee: I will sing praise to thy name, O thou most High." (Psalm 9:1-2)
The Importance of Praise
From the verse in Psalm 9 quoted above, we can see several aspects of the act of praise. Praise, as David said, should come from the whole heart. Praise involves showing forth, or telling others, about God's marvelous works. Praise involves being glad and rejoicing, the giving of thanks, and often involves the singing of hymns or psalms.
The Scriptures often exhort God's people to offer praise unto the Lord. The writers of the Old Testament used three basic words to call the Israelites to praise God: 1) the word barak usually translated at "to bless"; 2) halal which means "praise", "boast" or "glory" and is the term from which the word "hallelujah" is derived; and 3) yadah which means to "give thanks".
The first song recorded in the Bible was sung after the Israelites crossed the Red Sea and watched as the Egyptian army was completely destroyed. It was a song of praise and thanksgiving, showing forth His might works which God accomplished in freeing the Israelites from bondage (see Exodus 15). "The Lord is my strength and song," Moses and the children sang, "and he is become my salvation... he is my God... and I will exalt him."