What is prayer? Prayer is adoration.

Call upon God, adore, confess,
Petition, plead, and then declare
You are the Lord’s; give thanks and bless,
And let the Amen confirm the prayer.
~Isaac Watts

The second item of prayer in this poem by Watts is “adore.” What does it mean to adore God? Watts explains adoration as “honor paid to God by the creature” that can take place in at least three ways.

First, we can praise God for His attributes.

God attributes are several: eternal—He self-exists without beginning or end (Deut 33:27; Ps 90:2); sovereign—successfully exercises His rule over all (Dan 4:35; Ps 115:3); omnipotent—able to do all things in harmony with His nature (Matt 19:26; Gen 17:1); omnipresent—everywhere present in the totality of His being (1 Kgs 8:27; Ps 139:7–10; Jer 23:24); omniscient—intuitively and exhaustively knowledgeable of all things in and out of time (Ps 139:1–4; 1 John 3:20); all-wise—skillful to choose that which perfectly conforms to His nature (Ps 104:24; Rom 11:33); immutable—constant and unchanging (Mal 3:6; Jas 1:17); impassible–passively and not actively affected by things external to Himself (Rom 11:35–36); pure—free from and hateful of sin (Lev 11:44–45; Hab 1:13); righteous—conforms to the nature of His character (Deut 32:4; Ps 11:7); just—fair in all His dealings (Gen 18:25; Ps 58:11; 99:4; Rom 1:18); truthful—honest and free from error (Tit 1:2); faithful—always keeping His word (Num 23:19; 1 Thess 5:24); loving—sacrificially giving for others (1 John 4:8–10; John 3:16); merciful—showing favor to the miserable (2 Sam 24:14; 2 Cor 1:3); gracious—freely giving (Ex 34:6; Rom 11:6); patient—willing to withhold due punishment (Ps 103:8; Rom 2:4).

Second, we can praise God for His mighty deeds.

He created all things and sustains creation even now. He flooded the world and will burn it in judgment in time to come. He saved Israel from Egypt with miracles, and God the Son took humanity upon Himself to save us from sin. We will be glorified one day to praise Him forever in His newly created heavens and earth. These are mighty deeds, indeed!

Third, we can praise God for His relation to mankind as a whole and specifically to His people.

He is our Creator, Father, Savior, and Judge. He sustains us, strengthens us, and secures our salvation in His hands.

Surely there are other attributes, mighty deeds, or ways we relate to God that could be added to these lists. The point here is that all of these truths about God should move us to adoration, that is, to praise and honor Him.

Pastor Huffstutler regularly writes a short article each week for the church’s Sunday bulletin. For more articles by Pastor Huffstutler, go to his blog, ProclaimChrist.org.