What the difference between praise and thanks?
Many times we use them interchangeably in our prayers. Both of the words are nouns and verbs. Each word has a specific objective, yet the words overlap in purpose. Together, praise and thanksgiving lead us to worship God.
Praise is recognizing God’s character and nature.
It expresses awe for who God is.
Many of the Psalms lead us to praise God’s name and attributes, as shown in this verse.
“The Lord is compassionate and gracious, slow to anger abounding in love.” Psalm 103:8 NIV
In this verse the characteristics of compassion, grace, patience and love are mentioned. As I read them, my heart is stirred to praise God for who He is.
Thanks-giving is offering gratitude for what God has done.
Gratitude can be given for answered prayers, for how God has worked in situations and lives. Thanksgiving is offered for specific blessings.
“Give thanks to the Lord, call on His name; make known among the nations what He has done.” 1 Chronicles 16:8
“Let them give thanks to the Lord for His unfailing love and his wonderful deeds.” Psalm 107:31
As I read those verses, I pause to reflect on God’s wonderful deeds, past and present. God is active everyday; we need to open our eyes to see it and tell Him our gratitude.
The following quote by Ben Patterson further explains the difference between praise and thanks.
In thanksgiving we list God’s benefits, in praise God is the benefit. Thanksgiving is like a child opening a gift from a parent, a new doll or a baseball mitt, and throwing her arms around her mom and dad and saying, “Thank you, thank you! It’s just what I wanted. It’s wonderful!” Praise is what happens when that child can pause and look up from the gift into her folks’ eyes and say, “You are wonderful.” There is, in prayer and worship, a kind of ascendancy that moves from thanks to praise to wonder to awe and silence—and then back again to thanks to praise to wonder to awe to silence. (from Deepening your Conversation with God, by Ben Patterson).
For instance, try this simple exercise in giving praise and thanks to God.
First, take a moment to give God praise.
- Read Psalm 145. What attributes of God are listed? Which one touches you the most?
Next, take a moment to offer God thanks.
- Read Psalm 118:1. Ask yourself, how have you seen God work in the past 12 months? What can you thank God for? What are daily blessings for which you can thank Him? How have you seen answered prayers?
Most importantly, in the Christian life, we offer God both praise and thanks. Praise for His greatness and thanks for the blessings and answers to prayer. These verses demonstrate both in the life of the believer:
“I will give thanks to the Lord because of his righteousness and will sing praise to the name of the Lord Most High.” Psalm 7:17
“I will praise God’s name in song and glorify him with thanksgiving.” Psalm 69:30
Praise and thanks are components of the Christian life. Both are essential in prayer and in worship.
In this Thanksgiving week, I hope you can make time for both praise and thanks. Look to the Lord with both praise and gratitude. It will improve your outlook.