Give Thanks! — The Psalms

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Over the next few weeks (as Thanksgiving approaches) I am going to share some personal things that I am thankful to God for supplying in my life. The Scriptures tell us to give thanks in all things. So in an exercise to remind myself of God’s provision, care, and grace towards me, I want to share ten things I am thankful for.

I love the Bible. I have dedicated my life to knowing God through his Word. The Scriptures are precious to me. They contain the very words of life. Without God’s Word I would know nothing of Christ. His grace and mercy towards sinners like me would remain a mystery and I would be blind to my need for him. The perfect Word of God is my daily bread that sustains my soul. I need the Word daily.

Yet, I am often in need of knowing how to respond to God’s Word. Since his word is infallible, perfect, and sure I don’t always know what to say back to his disclosure of himself to me. How do I rightly respond in my pain back to God? What do I say that will convey the depths of my heart and keep my mouth from speaking foolishness. Surely, Paul is right in Romans 8. I don’t know what to pray, as I ought. There are times when I am stunned by the goodness of God; I don’t know what to say. There are times when I’m so broken that all I can do is groan; I don’t know what to say. There are times when I am angry, frustrated, slandered, and wrecked; I still don’t know what to say. With what words shall I approach the Almighty God and his throne of grace and ask for help? What shall I say to the sovereign creator of all things? How does a finite, tiny, mortal like myself even get a syllable out to the King over all Kings?

That is why the Psalms are so helpful. More than just a songbook in the middle of our Bibles, the Psalms are a prayer book. They give us words to address God. They are perfect words. Words to pray. Words that reflect the soul of humanity before a righteous God. They contain the entire range of human experience. From thanksgiving, praise, and rejoicing to lamentation, desperation, confession, and outright anger - the Psalms provide words to answer God.

I didn’t always understand this, and it wasn’t until earlier this year that I began to see the Psalms as a prayer book. In my contexts the Psalms were relegated to a choir book for the singers and musicians. It was removed from everyday people as a way to speak to God. Yet the Psalms have given me words to approach God. Jesus prayed the Psalms. Most of his prayers in the New Testament, especially in his suffering and death, were direct prayers from the Psalms.

We don’t often know what to pray as we ought. I am thankful for Spirit’s gift of the words to pray. Today I am thankful for the Psalms.