“A prayer of praise (tehillah), of David. I exalt You, God the King, and I will bless Your name forever and always!
My mouth will speak the songs of praise (tehillim) of Yahweh, and all flesh will bless His holy name forever and ever.”
Psalm 145:1, 21
This prayer (Psalm 145) introduces and repeats the Hebrew word tehillah in its first and last verse. This word is not often used in the Bible, but it means “a prayer or song of praise”. It is also the Hebrew word used to name the entire book of Psalms, Tehillim.The title “Psalms” comes from the Greek word used to translate tehillah. The Hebrew scriptures were first translated into Greek two centuries before Jesus in Africa–specifically, in Alexandria, Egypt. The Greek translation is called the Septuagint.
When we go back to the Hebrew, we recover more than the word tehillah. We also notice that the the first letter of each line begins with a consecutive letter of the Hebrew alphabet. We call this an acrostic poem or psalm. One of the messages of this soaring praise to God is this: From A-Z (or in Hebrew, from Alef to Tav), we praise God’s name forever and ever.
Today, in your own language make an acrostic psalm of praise to God (see my example below in English to get started).
“Ask the Lord for what your heart desires
Because He hears you and loves to answer your prayers.
Call on his name and give Him the praise
Declare the wonders and works of the Lord!
Everyone join me in giving your thanks
Far away lands are hearing the good news.
God, I am grateful for your mercy
Hide me in Your strong arms of protection.”
[continue the prayer yourself]
Tehillah is a powerful though infrequent word for praise that we use today. Discover the language of praise used throughout scripture for lifting God up and giving him the honor, the glory and the worship that is rightfully due to him.
For another look at the entire Psalm 145, check out this article.
Visit our Etsy store for products and gifts based on the scriptures.
This post was first published May 13, 2015. It was updated November 8, 2021.