Psalm 103 is the one of the greatest psalms in the Bible. I consider Psalms 23, 63, and 103 the richest psalms in the Psalter. Psalm 103 includes some of the most exalted language in the entire Bible for God's love, God's forgiveness, and God's goodness. If you have ever struggled to understand and feel how much God loves you, as I have, then Psalm 103 is a psalm to soak in over and over.
This psalm is a "Mount Everest" of the Bible. Psalm 103 begins with a charge to bless or praise God. Note carefully: David is telling himself to praise. He is talking to himself. Sometimes we need to talk to ourselves, especially when we feel discouraged, lonely, depressed, or guilty. Talk to yourself and remind yourself of the promises and commands in the Bible.
Why is it so vital that we praise God? Several reasons: First of all, it is only right to praise God. He deserves our highest praise. He is worthy of our deepest adoration. Praise reflects reality. We live in a world ruled by a sovereign God who is unfathomably great and unutterably good. It simply would not be right for us not to praise God.
Second, praise is the language of love. Because we love God, we want to praise Him and adore Him. It is our privilege, our delight, and our desire. We express our love for God when we praise Him. Moreover, praise not only expresses our love to God, it also nurtures that love. Think about it: when we are praising God for His grace, goodness, mercy, and faithfulness, we are moved to love our God all the more.
A third reason that praise is so vital is because in praise, we gain perspective on our problems and needs. When we begin praying with praise, we lift our gaze from a focus on our problems to a focus on our God. We see things from heaven's perspective, not earth's perspective. We are more likely to trust God. Praise is absolutely essential to a life of trusting God. For each of these reasons, praise is vital to our praying. No wonder the pages of Scripture are peppered with praise. "Bless the Lord, O my soul, and all that is within me, bless His holy name!"