Can We Praise God Through Play? Inspiration from the High Calling

Praise the LORD from the earth,
you creatures of the ocean depths.

Psalm 148 summons all creation to praise the Lord: heavens, angels, sun, moon, clouds, weather, mountains, trees, animals, and all sorts of human beings. Verse 7 invites “creatures from the ocean depths” to praise God.

Now, I realize that this is not meant in a literal way, as if whales and sharks and dolphins might all of a sudden start singing God’s praises. But, as I was wondering about how sea creatures might praise the Lord, I remembered an event that happened eight years ago.

My daughter to the right; dolphins to the left.

My daughter, Kara, was working on a school project on grey whales. The timing of her project was such that it was possible for her actually to see grey whales as they migrated along the coast of Southern California. So, our family went out on a whale watching trip. We spent two hours with an expert guide, looking for whales, but without any luck. The company guaranteed whale sightings, however, so we were able to take a second trip for free. Once again, no whales. But this time we saw dolphins, hundreds of dolphins, many playing in the wake of our ship. They were jumping, flying, flipping, and frolicking. It was an amazing sight.

I don’t suppose that these dolphins were thinking about God as they played that day. But God was glorified as they used their natural abilities, their God-given abilities to play. No, I’m not making this up. Psalm 104:26 refers to “Leviathan, which you made to play in the sea.” When large sea creatures jump out of the water just for fun, they are doing that for which they were created. They are praising God through play.

Scripture teaches that we were made for work. Surely, we glorify God when we use our abilities to do good work. But we were also made to play, to run and jump, to dance, and to laugh. Perhaps we too can glorify God when we play, delighting in his creation, offering ourselves to him in all that we do, in work and in rest, in prayer and in play.

QUESTIONS FOR FURTHER REFLECTION: What do you think about praising God through play? When could play honor God? When might play be dishonoring to God? Are there types of play that are more worshipful than others?

PRAYER: Dear Lord, you have made me in your image. You have created me to work, even as you work. You have recreated me in Christ for good works that you have prepared for me. All of this is true, and I thank you for it.

But you have also made me with a capacity for play. May I discover how to offer you myself, not only in work and obvious worship, but also in play. May my laughter reflect and increase your delight. May my play be praise for you, dear Lord. Amen.


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This devotional comes from The High Calling: Everyday Conversations about Work, Life, and God ( You can read my Daily Reflections there, or sign up to have them sent to your email inbox each day. This website contains lots of encouragement for people who are trying to live out their faith in the workplace. The High Calling is associated with Laity Lodge, where I work.

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  • Beechild1

    I like how you refer to play. Over the past several years I have been given something I feel to be quite beautiful. A passion and love for word play. In my play of words I am always is awe and praise of what I write for I am not the writer only the pen holder.

    Energy Junkie

    That’s right my little device requires energy, the little
    ions from the grid that race along the line into a cell to be stored, till its
    juice is needed to connect me to the world of words and pictures. There is a
    place in-between the world outside and the world inside, it’s where I live,
    it’s called my farm inside my heart, I tend my animals (livestock), my garden
    and what not’s. My words are like streams on a string, some fly like kites
    others hold bait, some hook and sink down in their chair reading and listening
    to the sway of to and fro. I zapped your energy did I? Well let me give it
    back. The wild animals are fed by the hands of God, the forests became ripe and
    we our ancestors went in with our axes, no rain forest till we stop and find
    our way home, as farmers of our own land. Can we not share what God gave so
    freely from his heart, or do we always hang a price tag with $ dollar signs
    being hordes. Can you not see the battle is inside each and every heart? Can
    the scale be balanced once and for all? My energy is restored with LOVE from my
    heart. A little light shines from inside my house till the plug is pulled and I
    fly like birds in the sky, singing morning praise for God keeps the lights on
    even on cloudy days.