Encouraging Psalms for Thanksgiving

Encouraging Psalms for Thanksgiving

Janna Wright Crosswalk.com Contributing Writer

Growing up, we had a Thanksgiving tradition. After the turkey and stuffing, the green bean casserole, and the sweet potatoes with gooey marshmallows were set steaming on the table, we’d find our seats and join hands. And right before the prayer my dad would ask each of us to share one thing we were thankful for.

In fact my dad was good at carrying this gratitude tradition into the year too.  It might be a random Wednesday in February with the seven of us kids seated at the breakfast table, and dad would pause to ask each of us to share something we were thankful for that day. Usually it was a quick and easy answer. “Friends.” “My family.”“New shoes.”

But if it happened to be a sleepy morning or your hair hadn’t worked or your brother had stolen some of your bathroom time, you might not feel very thankful. And you’d still need to think of an acceptable answer pretty quick because everyone was waiting expectantly. It didn’t take more than a sweaty pause or two to teach us to keep a fail-safe answer up our sleeves.

When dad looked at you on one of those hard-to-be-grateful days and said, “So, sweetie, what are you thankful for?” you’d quickly blurt, “Jesus!” and look at the next sibling. After all, what can anyone say to that? (And yes, my siblings and I still chuckle over our breakfast table antics.)

Psalms of Thanksgiving from the Bible

Maybe this Thanksgiving you are overflowing with gratitude for life. Maybe you have three journal pages full of things to be thankful for.

Or maybe this has been one of those years that’s like one never-ending, cranky, school morning, and you just can’t drum up much gratitude at the moment.

King David, who wrote many of the Psalms, understood the ebb and flow of life seasons. When you peruse the Psalms, you find some brimming with praise and thanksgiving and some bemoaning life and health and disloyal friends. But no matter the circumstance, most of David’s poems end with encouraging thoughts about God. And truly, no matter what you and I face today or find ourselves carrying into this holiday season, we can be encouraged as we ponder David’s words about the kind of God we have.

Here are 10 of our favorite encouraging Psalms to ponder this Thanksgiving. Read these Psalms as you praise God and thank Him for his love and faithfulness.

1. God’s beautiful love for you never changes, never falters, and never ends.Psalm 136

Give thanks to the Lord, for he is good, for his steadfast love endures forever.(136:1)

2. God’s faithfulness toward you goes on forever. Psalm 117

Praise the Lord, all nations!
    Extol him, all peoples!
For great is his steadfast love toward us,
    and the faithfulness of the Lord endures forever.
Praise the Lord! (117:1-2)

3. God is God: worthy of praise, awesome in creative power, and full of goodness.  Psalm 100

Know that the Lord, he is God!
It is he who made us, and we are his (100:3)

4. God purposefully created you as an intricate work of art, and He cares about every little piece of you.   Psalm 139

For you formed my inward parts;
    you knitted me together in my mother’s womb.
I praise you, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made.
Wonderful are your works;
    my soul knows it very well.

My frame was not hidden from you,
when I was being made in secret,
    intricately woven in the depths of the earth.

Your eyes saw my unformed substance;
in your book were written, every one of them,
    the days that were formed for me,
    when as yet there was none of them.

How precious to me are your thoughts, O God!
    How vast is the sum of them! (139:13-17)

5. God is the greatest hope and encouragement for a worn-out soul. Psalm 42

Why are you cast down, O my soul,
    and why are you in turmoil within me?
Hope in God; for I shall again praise him,
    my salvation and my God. (42:11)

6. God is the best and truest antidote to any fear. Psalm 56

In God, whose word I praise,
    in the Lord, whose word I praise,
in God I trust; I shall not be afraid.
    What can man do to me? (56:10-11)

7. God is a nurturing Shepherd who knows just what you need. Psalm 23

The Lord is my shepherd; I shall not want. (23:1)

8. God is your best defender. Psalm 27

The Lord is my light and my salvation;
    whom shall I fear?
The Lord is the stronghold of my life;
    of whom shall I be afraid? (27:1)

9. God is a trustworthy provider with your best interest at heart. Psalm 37

Trust in the Lord, and do good;
    dwell in the land and befriend faithfulness.
 Delight yourself in the Lord,
    and he will give you the desires of your heart.

Commit your way to the Lord;
    trust in him, and he will act. (37:3-5)

10. God is right here with you, listening to you and eager to help.  Psalm 145

The Lord is near to all who call on Him to all who call on Him in truth. He fulfills the desire of those who fear Him, he also hears their cry and saves them. (Psalm 145:18-19)

So whether you’re approaching this Thanksgiving with over-the-moon gratitude or a feeble attempt to drum up a droplet or two of thanks, may you find hope and encouragement as you think on the truth of our God.

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