Don’t Praise God Because You Have To, Praise God Because He’s God: Thoughts on How Great Thou Art


My niece Katie just turned 13, which means that I turned an age that I’d rather not think about.

When my Katie was just about 24 months old, I used to love to pick her up and she loved being picked up. She had just learned to talk around that time; she’d only say individual Chinese words here and there, mostly at random just to identify things she was pointing at. My sister-in-law, of course, was “mama”. She made up a new name for my brother–instead of the traditional “baba”, she called her dad “baaah beeee”! The word for “aunt” is “gu gu”, but since she couldn’t pronounce Gs, my sister was “doo dooooo!”. I, of course, was “suu suu”, or “uncle”.

One day we were in church…I was the only one in the room with her, so I picked her up to take her outside. As soon as I picked her up, I heard a little voice out of nowhere.

“suu suu how dwong!”

I turned around…wha? Who was that? Who said that? But there was no one around. Then I looked down into my arms. There was little Katie, by then she got distracted and was already turning her head to looking around at other things in the sky.

Now, this is the first time I’d ever heard her put a complete sentence together. And the sentence translated into English goes something like, ahem, “Uncle is so strong!”

I chuckled at her and gave her a big hug…what a little sweet talker!

Funny thing is, the rest of the day, I felt really good. Now in actuality, I wasn’t really all that strong…she was about the size and weight of a small bag of supermarket rice at that point. But in her eyes, after I picked her up, I might as well have been Mr. Universe.

There is something very innocent and very precious about the praise of a child. It’s pure. There are no ulterior motives. Their ability to praise hasn’t been hindered by years and years of being whittled down by life. No one has to put them up to it. They just observe something, and say it.

I sometimes think. When we kneel down and pray before God, what do we say to him? Usually, we ask him for this, we complain about that, we stare at our watches to see if the twenty minutes we allotted to prayer are up. How sad he must feel sometimes.

What we need to do is to learn how to once again look at God through the eyes of a child. Imagine the joy we can bring to our Heavenly Father, How happy would he feel if we could just tell him how wonderful he is. If we could just blurt out, “God is so strong!” for no other reason except…He is.

From the lips of children and infants you have ordained praise
-Matthew 21:16

1.
O Lord my God, when I in awesome wonder
Consider all the worlds Thy hands have made,
I see the stars, I hear the rolling thunder,
Thy power throughout the universe displayed!

Chorus
Then sings my soul, my Savior God to Thee;
How great Thou art, how great Thou art.
Then sings my soul, my Savior God to Thee;
How great Thou art, how great Thou art!

2.
When thru the woods and forest glades I wander
And hear the birds sing sweetly in the trees,
When I look down from lofty mountain grandeur
And hear the brook and feel the gentle breeze.

Chorus

3.
And when I think that God, His Son not sparing
Sent Him to die, I scare can take it in.
That on the cross, my burden gladly bearing,
He bled and died to take away my sin!

Chorus

4.
When Christ shall come with shout of acclamation
And take me home, what joy shall fill my heart.
Then I shall bow in humble adoration
And there proclaim, my God, how great Thou art!

Chorus