For years on various days when I walked or jogged, I prayed parts of Scripture which I memorized. Often I prayed Psalm 23: “Lord, please be my Shepherd today.”
Then one day, this thought came to mind: Instead of praying, God be my Shepherd, I need to thank Him that He already plays this vital role in my life.
Since then I pray memorized Scripture differently.
Here’s how I pray Psalm 23 (based on English Standard Version)
Thank You, Lord, that You are my Shepherd, and You have dealt with all my wants. Thank You for all the times You make me lie down in green pastures. Thank You for leading me beside still waters. Thank You that You repeatedly restore my soul. Thank You that You lead me in paths of righteousness for Your name’s sake. Thank You for the times when I walked through the valley of the shadow of death (or as I walk through this dark valley) I need fear no evil, for You are always with me. Thank You for Your rod and staff, which comfort me. Thank You that when You prepare a table before me in the presence of my enemies, You anoint my head with oil, and my cup overflows. Thank You that goodness and mercy are following me all the days of my life. Thank You that I will dwell in Your house forever.
As I pray this way, my heart feels overwhelmed with gratitude for all the ways God intervenes in my life. I no longer beg Him to do so, but realize He already accomplished the actions in these verses. I feel closer to the Lord, and I celebrate His precious promises to me and how He fulfills them.
Also, since I have to add the words “thank You,” I need to think, instead of just reciting Scripture like multiplication tables.
During these days surrounding Thanksgiving Day, I will find more Scriptures which I can pray in gratitude. And I will celebrate all the ways God kept His promises to me and His faithfulness over this past year and over my lifetime.
Here’s another Psalm I pray often as I marvel over God’s forgiveness of my sins:
Thank You, for having mercy on me, O God, according to Your unfailing love. Thank You that according to Your great compassion, You have blotted out my transgressions and washed away all my iniquity and cleansed me from my sin…. (Psalm 51)
How easy I fall into the trap of focusing on what’s wrong with my life. Gratitude lifts me out of that trap.
I think of Psalm 100:4 which reminds me to: “Enter into His gates with thanksgiving, and into His courts with praise. Be thankful to Him, and bless his name.” For the LORD is good; His mercy is everlasting, And His truth endures to all generations.”
Verse 5 reminds me of three truths, which lift me up despite all the struggles in my life: “For the LORD is Good; His mercy is everlasting, And His truth endures to all generations.”
Lord, please keep me out of the pit of ingratitude. Let my heart ever overflow with thankfulness for all You have done for me, in me and through me. In Jesus’ precious name I pray. Amen.
“Give Thanks” by Don Moen
Another “Thank You” song by Don Moen: “Thank You, Lord.”