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How to praise God in all circumstances

A lot happened to David in his life. He went from being a shepherd to God’s anointed king (1 Samuel 16:11-13). He loved God and wrote some of the deepest Psalms we cherish today, but he struggled with sins that devastated his family and his entire kingdom. He was adored by his people, yet his own son undermined him and took control of his kingdom.

David experienced dimensions of joy and grief that may never touch our lives, but somehow his praise to God is still relatable. The same feelings of being overwhelmed, surrounded, and at the mercy of our enemies — even when our “enemies” come in the form of bill collectors, poor health, and in-laws — exist today. That’s why David’s example is so powerful: Whether he was at a high or low point in his life, he stopped to praise God and give thanks.

Praising God can mean simply speaking the truths we know about Him. That’s how David starts his praise: “The Lord is my rock, my fortress, and my deliverer” (2 Samuel 22:2). Then David shifts to thankfulness — ways that God demonstrated His stability, shelter, and deliverance: “In my distress I called to the Lord; I called out to my God … He drew me out of deep waters. He rescued me from my powerful enemy, from my foes, who were too strong for me,” (2 Samuel 22:7 and 2 Samuel 22:17-18).

Praising God and thanking Him for what He has done in our lives can help us to think about “whatever is true,” which the apostle Paul says will help us have peace (Philippians 4:8). But, it can also change our hearts and lives as we pay closer attention to what God does for us on a daily basis.

  • When was the last time you made a list of what you were thankful for, other than at Thanksgiving?
  • Other than making a list, what is one way you can express your thanks for what God has done or is doing in your life now? Consider reading other Psalms of praise or sharing what you are thankful for with those around you. 

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