7 Psalms to Pray When You Feel Thankful
There are days I wake up and feel an overwhelming gratefulness in my heart for all God has done and is doing in my life. Then there are days when it’s hard to see God’s hand. I want to be thankful, but it’s a little harder to trace exactly what He’s up to.
No matter what we go through, there is a key to living a happy life. It’s living with a thankful heart no matter what circumstances come your way. Sometimes it’s hard to thank God in the hard times. We feel more like begging Him for relief and answers.
I’m learning if I can turn the cry of my heart into prayers of thanksgiving, I can walk through the hard days with a heart that receives comfort and eyes that look for God’s goodness in pain. There are seven psalms that I love to go to that remind me to thank God no matter what. Each one gives me words to pray that turn my heart toward thankfulness even when I don’t feel so thankful.
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1. Psalm 1 – Thankful for Wisdom in Making Decisions
“Blessed is the one who does not walk in step with the wicked or stand in the way that sinners take or sit in the company of mockers, but whose delight is in the law of the LORD, and who meditates on his law day and night” (Psalm 1:1-2).
It might not seem like a psalm warning the blessed and ungodly man about their decisions is a good psalm to pray when you want to praise the Lord. This psalm can easily be turned into a prayer of decision when seeking wisdom from God. Your prayer might look something like this:
Dear God, I choose to walk in your way. I delight in your words day and night. Thank you for giving me deep roots and consistent encouragement along the way. I don’t want to make poor decisions. I know your way is best. And I praise you and thank you for leading me every step of the way.
2. Psalm 3 – Thankful When I Feel Discouraged
“I call out to the LORD, and he answers me from his holy mountain. I lie down and sleep; I wake again, because the LORD sustains me. I will not fear though tens of thousands assail me on every side” (Psalm 3:4-6).
Do you ever feel discouraged? It doesn’t take much some days to get me off track and take me down in the dumps. I want to be upbeat and positive, but sometimes life is downright difficult. The psalm I turn to when I feel discouraged is Psalm 3. My favorite verse to pray is Psalm 3:3, “But you, O Lord, are a shield about me, my glory, and the lifter of my head.” When I read this verse, I imagine the Lord taking my face in his hands and literally lifting my face up to meet His eyes face to face. This ignites thankfulness in my heart no matter how hard life is.
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3. Psalm 8 – Thankful When Life Is Going Well
“LORD, our Lord, how majestic is your name in all the earth! You have set your glory in the heavens” (Psalm 8:1).
Oh how I love the good seasons of life. But sometimes those are the seasons that I stray away from God. When I’m not needing to run to His feet, sometimes I don’t. Although I want to live close to God through the good and the bad, it’s easy to get going in my own direction. Psalm 8 takes me back to the basics and reminds me that God created all things and is in control of all things. When life is going well, I turn here and thank God for the power of His name, the beauty of His creation, the gift of Jesus, and the freedom to praise His holy name!
4. Psalm 19 – Thankful for God’s Glory and Word
“The heavens declare the glory of God; the skies proclaim the work of his hands. Day after day they pour forth speech; night after night they reveal knowledge” (Psalm 19:1-2).
Don’t you love it when you can clearly see God’s hand at work? It might be through an answered prayer, or a word you receive from Him. But God’s hand is at work all the time. His glory is unmatched and His word is alive and powerful. When I remember to pray and thank Him for his glory and His word, I experience God’s presence in a fresh way. Psalm 19 gives me words of thankfulness to pray that directly speaks of the glory of God and the power of His word. When is the last time you experienced God’s glory? If it’s been a while, or if you never have, try praying Psalm 19.
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5. Psalm 20 – Thankful in Prayer
“Now this I know: The LORD gives victory to his anointed. He answers him from his heavenly sanctuary with the victorious power of his right hand. Some trust in chariots and some in horses, but we trust in the name of the LORD our God” (Psalm 20:6-7).
Sincere, focused prayer can be difficult. There are so many distractions everywhere. Even if we only considered our technology, it’s enough to keep up from truly focusing on God in prayer. It takes a buzz or ding on my phone and I’m leaning over checking to see who commented on my post or sent a text. Psalm 20 is a cry to the Lord. This is a psalm reminder to call on the Lord with sincerity and zeal. Though it was written as a psalm in time of trouble, it can be prayed anytime. Simply change the pronouns to personal pronouns and let your voice lift a prayer to the Lord for all He has done and is doing.
6. Psalm 40 – Thankful When I Walk Through Grief
“I waited patiently for the LORD; he turned to me and heard my cry. He lifted me out of the slimy pit, out of the mud and mire; he set my feet on a rock and gave me a firm place to stand” (Psalm 40:1-2).
Have you ever seen someone who seems to walk through grief with a spirit of peace? That peace is a heart that is thankful in spite of loss. Psalm 40 gives us words to pray in these moments. It speaks of a pit in verse 2. I think of it as a pit of grief, despair, bondage, or any other situation that captures the heart and makes it feel weak. But the psalmist isn’t wallowing in the pit, the psalmist is praising God for lifting him up at the pit and setting his feet on a rock (Psalm 40:2). This gives us the hope we need in seasons of distress and grief. When we walk through devastating loss it can be difficult to find our footing. Joy seems distant. Hope feels lost. But this psalm gives us hope! If you are feeling like you are in a pit, pick this psalm up and let it be your battle cry until you feel the dark clouds begin to roll away.
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7. Psalm 34 – Thankful at All Times
“I will extol the LORD at all times; his praise will always be on my lips. I will glory in the LORD; let the afflicted hear and rejoice” (Psalm 34:1-2).
I’ll never forget the time God gave me this psalm as a gift of mercy. I was sitting in a hospital with my son and I felt deeply discouraged. I couldn’t understand why God would allow suffering. Then I opened my Bible and read the words, “I will bless the Lord at all times; his praise shall continually be in my mouth” (Psalm 34:1). God spoke to me so clearly. I was reminded to pray with thankfulness no matter what. When I do, God does something in my heart. We might not always feel thankful, but God can help us grow thankful. Simply choosing a psalm to pray might be just the thing your heart has been waiting for.
What prayer will you pray today?
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Micah Maddox is a women’s event speaker, Bible teacher, and author of Anchored In: Experience a Power-Full Life in a Problem-Filled World. She is passionate about helping women find purpose, peace, and calm in our chaotic world. Micah is on the Proberbs31 First5 Writing Team. As a pastor’s wife, mother of three, and foster mom, she contributes her time to her family and local church serving as a women’s ministry leader. Micah loves to give a voice to hurting hearts and writes to the one who needs encouragement. You can connect with her at micahmaddox.com.
Micah Maddox is a wife, mama, friend, Bible teacher, and author of a James: Tired, Tested, Torn, and Full of Faith. You can find encouraging resources FREE HERE! Micah is passionate about helping women learn what it truly means to daily walk with Jesus. She is on the Proverbs 31 Ministries First 5 Writing Team and writes for Encouragement From Women. Her main ministry is at home with her husband, Rob, who leads worship at Clear Springs Baptist Church in East Tennessee, and with her five children, some by birth, and some by adoption. Micah's heart for her local church is what fuels her desire to keep writing, teaching, and serving. Micah loves to give a voice to hurting hearts and writes and speaks to the one who needs encouragement. You can connect with her on Instagram or micahmaddox.com.