Why are we commanded to praise God? Does God need our praise?
Sacred Scripture is full of the praise of God, and in reading it, we encounter the instruction given to the People of God to engage in acts of worship. The Old and New Testaments are sprinkled with injunctions to sing his glory: “Praise him for his mighty works; praise his unequaled greatness” (Psalm 150); “Sing to the Lord, all the earth; proclaim his salvation day after day” (1 Chronicles 16:23); “They said to him, “Do you hear what these children are saying?” And Jesus said to them, ‘Yes; have you never read, ‘Out of the mouth of infants and nursing babes you have prepared praise for yourself’?" (Matt 21:16).
But why are we commanded to praise God? Does God need our praise?
First, God is an all-perfect, self-sufficient being who does not need anything from us to be complete, but to praise him is the only appropriate response to his greatness. “To praise God is simply to acknowledge the good that he is,” says Fr. Vincent Serpa, O.P., of Catholic Answers in San Diego, CA. “It comes before every other form of prayer. When his disciples asked Jesus how to pray, he began with ‘hallowed be thy name.’”
God deserves our praise, and it is therefore a matter of justice for us to give it to him. “For great is the Lord and most worthy of praise; he is to be feared above all gods” (1 Chronicles 16:25). We can easily find examples of this in our earthly lives. We can see when others have distinguished themselves in some good way that deserves to be acknowledged, and we feel that it is only right and good to render such acknowledgment.
It is also “good for us to praise him” (1 Chronicles 16:25). In fact, when we truly realize the gratitude and praise that we owe God, the desire to render what is due to him wells up within us. We are standing in a right relationship with reality when we give God the praise he is due, and this brings us closer to him who is the source of our human fulfillment and joy.