Names of God in Praise

by Janet Sketchley

One of my favourite stories is the story of Joshua leading the nation of Israel across the Jordan River into the Promised Land. You can read about it in Joshua 3.

Here’s the pep talk Joshua gives the people before they set out:

Joshua said to the Israelites, “Come here and listen to the words of the LORD your God. This is how you will know that the living God is among you and that he will certainly drive out before you the Canaanites, Hittites, Hivites, Perizzites, Girgashites, Amorites and Jebusites. See, the ark of the covenant of the Lord of all the earth will go into the Jordan ahead of you. Now then, choose twelve men from the tribes of Israel, one from each tribe. And as soon as the priests who carry the ark of the LORD—the Lord of all the earth—set foot in the Jordan, its waters flowing downstream will be cut off and stand up in a heap.”

Joshua 3:9-13, NIV* Emphasis mine.

In that short passage, look at how Joshua refers to God:  “the LORD your God… the living God… the Lord of all the earth (twice)”.

Knowing and reminding ourselves of the names of God can affirm and strengthen our faith.

Joshua chose traits the people needed to remember for the journey ahead. He knew they needed to keep their faith strong in a land of giants.

I always love it when public prayer goes beyond “Dear God” and the leader picks one or two relevant character attributes to address the need: “God of comfort and grace, All-wise and knowing God, God who formed us and knows our weakness…”

It’s a good way to encourage our faith.

Different aspects of God’s character seem especially appropriate to different prayer needs we face.

Choosing one of God’s descriptive names helps in praise too. I like to pick just one and spend time thinking what it says about His nature, His glory, His honour. They comfort me, encourage me, and inspire me to praise Him.

Some of my favourites:

Ancient of Days (Daniel 7)

Father to the Fatherless (Psalm 68:5)

My Rock and My Redeemer (Psalm19:14)

My Shepherd (Psalm 23)

The Author and Finisher of our Faith (Hebrews 12:22, KJV)

What are some of yours?

Janet Sketchley

Janet is a Canadian writer whose passion is fiction. Her unpublished novel, Praying for the Enemy, was short-listed for the 2008 Best New Canadian Christian Author Award. She’s also a wife, mom, daughter, friend, neighbour… trying to balance relationships and responsibilities, and learning how faith applies to real life. Add that to her quirky imagination and love of fiction, and you get stories about everyday women in suspenseful situations discovering more strength than they would have imagined.

Janet writes weekly book reviews and devotionals at her blog, “God With Us: Finding Joy”, and a quarterly fiction column in FellowScript.


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