As I turned left into the road, I was thinking about my next appointment. Suddenly, I heard a crashing sound. My car and another car collided. This was not how I’d hoped my day would end.
Ever had a day like that? Perhaps you’re dealing with betrayal, financial distress, emotional turmoil, addiction, or a challenging situation where things aren’t turning out as you hoped. It can be tough to be grateful when you feel discouraged and life is difficult.
Even when you feel like giving up, you can still look for ways to be thankful. Paul reminds us to:
Give thanks in all circumstances, for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus. 1 Thessalonians 5:18
Here are 5 important Psalms to help you cultivate a thankful heart and boost your joy no matter the circumstances.
5 Important Psalms to Cultivate a Thankful Heart
- Psalm 30 – Gratitude for God’s faithfulness during the dark night of the soul.
Have you ever experienced a severe illness or a completely hopeless situation (a dark night of the soul)? What happened when you cried out to God for help? David was critically ill and cried out to the Lord. God answered by healing David and sparing him from the dark pit of death. In return, David thanked God … I will exalt you, Lord, for you lifted me out of the depths. Psalm 30:1
I found comfort in this Psalm during many trials when God seemed far. When the situation looked bleak and hopeless, Psalm 30 gave me assurance that God’s right there beside me. It encouraged me to hope and trust that joy will come in the morning.
Even if you’re experiencing a dark night of the soul, thank God, knowing that he can turn things around quickly. You can be secure in God’s steadfast love and trust his promises of protection and favor, which last for a lifetime.
What are the difficulties you’re facing today? How can you trust God and thank him in a practical way?
- Psalm 34 – Perpetual thankfulness for victory in times of persecution
I will extol the Lord at all times; His praise will always be on my lips… I sought the Lord, and he answered me, and he delivered me from all my fears. Psalm 34:1, 4.
How has God helped you experience true joy when you’ve faced persecution? It can be tough to be grateful for suffering and injustice. But you can be joyful and thankful if you’ll allow God to guide your response.
Know this, the Lord’s personal messenger, the Angel of the Lord, is fighting on your behalf to deliver you from all (not some) your troubles.
The righteous cry out, and the Lord hears them and delivers them from ALL their troubles. Psalm 34:17
He’ll grant you victory, replace your shame and defeat with peace, and mend your broken heart. That’s a huge blessing and a great reason to thank God.
Even if life is tough right now, what’s something good you can be thankful for today? Perhaps you can be grateful for God’s grace, deliverance from fear, and his plans for your life?
- Psalm 32 – Thankful for the joy of forgiveness
Since the fall, sin has been a part of this world. We all struggle with sin and its two cousins, guilt and shame. In Psalm 32, David acknowledged his sin of adultery and asked God to forgive him. Forgiveness is a gift and part of God’s loving nature.
We may hide due to guilt and shame when we sin. But we won’t find any relief or experience forgiveness and freedom from guilt until we confess to God.
Oh, what joy for those whose disobedience is forgiven, whose sin is put out of sight… I confessed all my sins to you and stopped trying to hide my guilt. I said to myself, “I’ll confess my rebellion to the Lord.” And you forgave me! All my guilt is gone. Psalm 32:1, 5 NLT
To know the joy of forgiveness is to feel freedom and release from guilt. Thank God for the gift of forgiveness.
Where do you feel particularly tempted? Ask God for help and express gratitude for the power to overcome temptation.
- Psalm 40 – Gratitude in waiting
Do you struggle to have joy in the journey when life is not going as you expect?
I don’t know about you but waiting patiently is difficult for me. Waiting requires trust. Letting go of what you think of the situation and trusting God. The Psalmist describes the benefits and joy of waiting patiently for the Lord. As you wait on God with gratitude, you can trust him for:
Security – he’ll lift out of the pit of despair
Stability – he’ll set your feet upon a firm rock
Deeper relationship – he’ll give you a new song of praise
All these enable us to trust God with our disappointments and develop a heart of gratitude while waiting.
Many times, when I’m in a season of waiting, I’ve found reflecting on God’s attributes and being thankful for who he is in my life helpful. Also, thanking him for all the ways he’s working that I cannot see yet, helps me to wait expectantly with hope.
Express your gratitude to God for supporting you in waiting.
- Psalm 107 – Count your blessings to see the faithful love of God
Have you experienced God’s steadfast love?
This Psalm reminds me of the song, “count your blessings, name them one by one, and it will surprise you what the Lord has done.”
Moment by moment, day by day, you and I are recipients of God’s unfailing love, grace, and mercy. He saved us from the power of the enemy. He blesses you daily and does what you cannot do for yourself.
Has the Lord delivered you from a wilderness season, homelessness, hunger, thirst, near-death situations, darkness and gloom, imprisonment, iron chains of misery, storms, oppression, and all kinds of troubles? Perhaps you’re blessed with a loving family, a lovely home, a job, good health, and so much more.
When you think of all God has done for you, like the Psalmist, you, too, will count your blessings, thank him, and tell others about his faithfulness.
In what ways will you praise and thank God for his faithful love for you today?
Friend, every moment and every day is a gift from God. In that fender-bender, I chose to thank God for protecting the other driver and me from any injuries. No matter your challenges, you can thank God for his faithfulness in good times and hard times. You can receive God’s forgiveness even if you’ve made a mess of your life.
Don’t give up. God is for you. He loves you!
You can always look for something good to be grateful for in your life.
Thank you for being a blessing. I am grateful for you!
Which of these 5 Psalms resonates with you? What other scriptures help you cultivate a thankful heart? Share in the comments.
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You may also be interested in Thanksgiving Prayers: Anchored Through Gratitude