There are a lot of passages in the Bible that use the word Hallelujah. There are also a lot of songs with it, the most famous being the Hallelujah Chorus. The original word is a combination. The first part is a verb, commanding praise. The second is a noun, using a shortened form of the name of God; Jah.
Where is it used in the Bible? Some of the Psalms in the Bible are called “hellel psalms,” or praise psalms. That is one of the places the word starts to be found. It continues into the New Testament, especially during the Triumphal Entry. In fact, the use on that occasion was one of the things that made the Pharisees want to kill Jesus. They told Him to stop His followers, and He said that if the people were silent, the stones would cry out.
Why is it important? In church liturgy, the word is used frequently. It also says “It is indeed right and salutory that we should praise the Lord on all occasions and circumstances.” It is our natural response to the wonders and glory God has shown us.
How can I always praise Him? Going back to Jerry Jordan and The Phone Call from God, it is hard to praise the Lord when your thumb is caught in the linen closet. There are times when we will not feel like praising God. In fact, there will be times when we are angry with Him. Praise does not come out very meaningfully under those circumstances.
Does that mean I shouldn’t try? No, it means we need help. Sometimes, that help may be counseling with a pastor or other trained person. Sometimes it means we need to decide to praise Him and ask the Holy Spirit to change our hearts so we can.
How should I praise Him? There are a lot of ways of doing that. Naturally, saying, reading or singing come to mind first. They aren’t the only ways. Quietly doing the things Jesus talked about are another sign of praising Him…following what He taught.
Jesus gave some specific examples: I was hungry and you fed me, I was thirsty and you gave me to drink, I was naked and you clothed me, I was sick or in prison and you visited me. Insomuch as you have done this to the least of these My brethren, you have done it unto me.” (Matthew 25:31-46)
It is hard to praise God when a family member is seriously ill or has died. It’s hard to praise Him when there is any major upset. The words that are often said at a time like this are useless platitudes. The only one I offer is also from scripture: “Weeping may endure for the night, but joy cometh in the morning.” I can, even with a heavy heart, praise God when I look to the first morning in Paradise. (Psalm 30:5)