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A Psalm of Thanks and Praise to God

The most repeated verse is in the Bible is a favorite of mine: “Give thanks to the Lord for he is good. His love endures forever.” It’s repeated forty-four times in the Bible! (Sometimes the wording is slightly different and in twenty-six instances just the last half is provided, usually because it’s being used as a refrain associated with the whole verse which was just offered.)

Psalm 136

An example is Psalm 136, a great Psalm of Thanks and Praise to God. In it there are four times that the Psalmist prays, “Give thanks to the Lord for he is good. His love endures forever.” (Psalm 136:1, 2, 3, 26; each verse uses a different name for God).

Just like the Lord’s Prayer teaches us how to pray (what kinds of things we’re wise to ask God to do) so Psalm 136 teaches us how to give thanks and praise to God. It’s a little known Psalm, perhaps because it’s a longer psalm and it’s focused on specific aspects of Israel’s history.

In Psalm 136 we begin and end in the way that we ought to begin and end all that we do: by praising God for who he is (e.g., honoring his names and his character). In the middle we give thanks to God for what he does for us in creation, redemption, and daily provision (the three foundational ways that God relates to us). The Psalmist is modeling for us the basic ways of showing our appreciation and admiration for the Lord.

Psalm 136 in Miniature

Putting together each of the five key verses of Psalm 136 makes a wonderful Psalm of Thanks and Praise in miniature. It’s easy to memorize! Then we can pray or sing it to the Lord anytime.

Give thanks to the Lord for he is good. His love endures forever. (Verses 1-3)

Give thanks to the Lord for he creates wonders. His love endures forever. (Verses 4-9)

Give thanks to the Lord for he delivers us. His love endures forever. (Verses 10-24)

Give thanks to the Lord for he gives us food each day. His love endures forever. (Verse 25)

Give thanks to the God of the Heavens for he is good. His love endures forever. (Verse 26)

Compose your Own Psalm of Thanks and Praise to God

The Psalms are for us to pray and sing. They are also models to teach us to offer our own personal prayers and songs. Psalm 136 is perfect for this. You can do this in your private devotions or it’s even better to share it with a friend or small group, as I did last night.

Each of the verses above can easily be personalized for you to offer your own expression of thanks or praise to God, in the same manner as Psalm 136. The prayer starters below will help you. I have chosen a different name for God to fit each prayer — you may want to address God by one of his other names.

Dear Lord God, I admire that you are ________.

Dear God, my Creator, I appreciate the beauty of your creation in _________.

Dear Lord Jesus Christ, thank you for delivering me from __________.

Dear Father, thank you for providing me with ___________.

Dear God of the Heavens, I admire that you are __________.

Group Prayer

If you’re praying Psalm 136 with a friend or small group allow enough time for others to verbalize out loud their short thanksgivings or praises. It’s best to do this as “popcorn prayer” in which people can “pop” with a prayer as they’re led, perhaps more than one time.

One way to add to the sense of community is to instruct the group that after a brother or sister offers their thanks or praise to God then everyone says in unison, “His love endures forever.” The Psalmist seems to have had this in mind.

(We have many Soul Shepherding Experiences that provide inspiration for private devotions and small group meetings.)


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