At any moment of any day, if someone asked you or me to name something for which we are thankful, we could do it instantly. When we think about it at all, we truly are thankful, but do we show enough gratitude to God? Probably not. Or, if we do, we tend to thank him over and over again for the same things. Are you up to the challenge of taking those prayers of thanksgiving up a notch?
Psalm 92 gives us some very practical help with expressing our gratitude. It is one of ten psalms of thanksgiving in the biblical psalter. Reading through it gives us reminders of the kinds of things we should always be thankful for. God’s love, his faithfulness, his deeds, his works, and his thoughts are just a few listed in the first eight verses reprinted here:
It is good to praise the Lord and make music to your name, O Most High, proclaiming your love in the morning and your faithfulness at night, to the music of the ten-stringed lyre and the melody of the harp.
For you make me glad by your deeds, Lord; I sing for joy at what your hands have done. How great are your works, Lord, how profound your thoughts! Senseless people do not know, fools do not understand, that though the wicked spring up like grass and all evildoers flourish, they will be destroyed forever.
But you, Lord, are forever exalted. – Psalm 92:1-8
God is pleased with, deserves, and expects our thanks for the good things he does for us day-by-day, and most of us do thank him, but do you agree with me that sometimes we are tired of hearing our own prayers? We have a routine of thanking God for a repetitive list of blessings, of asking Him for general good in our lives, and praying for specific requests, some of which we have been praying about for years. Important stuff, but maybe it’s getting boring or just too routine.
The writer of Psalm 92 has an idea that can change all that. He says, “It is good to praise the Lord . . . proclaiming your love in the morning and your faithfulness by night.” (Psalm 92:1-2).
See the pattern? One prayer emphasis in the morning and a different one at night.
In the morning, it’s all about God’s love. When we get up (or even before) we can think about God, become aware of how much he loves us, thank him for the blessings of the night, and then invite him into our day. As we carry his loving presence with us, we move with confidence, recognizing all the good that comes our way just because he loves us.
At night, we prayerfully think back on all that happened that day and we remember how faithful God has been to us. We can think about appointments, meetings, conversations, projects we were part of and ask him to show us ways in which he was with us in everything we did. In fact, he was there even when we knew we let him down. He stays. He will never leave us.
Thanking God for his grace, mercy, and faithfulness in specific instances throughout the day could become a life-changing habit – one that the psalmist recommends. The benefit? Recognizing God’s faithfulness today makes it easier for us to trust him again tomorrow.
With the psalmist’s morning and evening rhythm, our prayers will be fresh and new every day. And God will be both pleased and praised!
*For those of you who want to know, in his book, How to Read the Bible for All it’s Worth, biblical scholar Gordon Fee lists the other nine thanksgiving psalms as 18, 30, 32, 34, 50, 66, 116, 118, and 138