Praise God with understanding1: Make an effort to understand the meaning of the songs you sing


“For God is the King of all the earth: sing ye praises with understanding.”

Psalm 47:7 KJV


Your hands in the air, your body swerving to the beat and your voice as loud as it can carry. You’re in church and in the middle of an awesome praise service. The praise leader raises one well-known, spirit-filled number, then another, then another until he raises ‘one of those songs’. Yes. ‘One of those songs’. One of those songs whose lyrics you don’t really know and whose meaning you’ve never cared to find out, after all these years. What do you do?

According to Matthew Henry’s concise commentary, to sing praises to God with understanding means to sing as one who understands;

  1. why and for what reason you are praising and
  2. what it means to praise God as an act of service (See Matthew Henry’s Concise Commentary ).

Yet, though I fully agree with his explanation, I’m beginning to think that for those of us who for one reason or the other find ourselves praising God in an unfamiliar language (not referring to praising in other Tongues [1Corinthians 14:15]), singing praises to God with understanding could and should entail making an effort to understand and consider the meaning of the actual words we’re saying while singing.

I’m very careful to use the phrase make an effort because I know it’s impossible for all Nigerian believers for instance, to know the meaning of the myriad of songs sung in our different indigenous languages. However, I think you and I can be more intentional in our praise and worship of God by asking our friends and acquaintances about the meanings of some of the songs we sing. I can guarantee you that at least four things will happen when you do this;

  1. you will, if only for that brief moment really appreciate the real meaning of what that song says
  2. with your new found understanding, you can make an informed decision as to whether or not a particular song is a song you want to keep singing in praise of your God
  3. if you succeed in committing the meaning of the song to memory, so that you remember the meaning of the song each time you sing it, there’ll be a greater depth to your praise and worship of God every time you sing that song. Because now you’ll literally be singing praises with understanding and finally
  4. If you keep learning the meaning of songs originally sung in a particular language, you’d gradually be learning that language too as a bonus ;0)

I am in no way saying that when a person doesn’t understand the meaning of a song being sung, then the person cannot praise. No! Not at all. when we’re in the midst of believers and a song or songs are being raised which we do not know/understand, we can still continue praising and worshiping God by dancing (Psalm 149:3), lifting up holy hands (1Timothy 2:8), singing in the spirit/in other tongues (1Corinthians 14:15), playing an instrument (Psalm 149:3) etc. what I am only suggesting is that we just try to find out for ourselves what these otherwise unfamiliar lyrics mean so that we can in that sense sing praises to God with understanding.

As for the praise leaders, my suggestion in this post applies even much more to you. Please for the sake of those of us in the congregation, do not only make an effort, do all that is in your power to learn the correct lyrics and the meaning of the songs you love to sing or want to sing. Those of us in the congregation listen to you whenever we want to learn the correct lyrics. Plus, when you mispronounce a word in a particular language multiple times, those people who understand that language immediately get distracted as they realize you really don’t understand what you’re saying. So please do us all a favor and do your homework. Thanks for the effort.



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Merci beau coup ;0)


One more thing. please I need help with the lyrics and meaning of these two praise songs 00. So please if you know them please share in the comment box below;

1. Ima bong inyere ke sa…….

2. We ko wu ye. We ko wu ye. We ko wu ye oghene!!!! ….

Please forgive the mis-spelling. I don’t understand the language nah. Thanks!!

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