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How to write your own Psalm of Thanksgiving

Psalms of Thanksgiving provide a way of giving thanks to the Lord for his goodness and mercy, to praise God for something He has done for the Psalmist, and to offer thanksgiving in the form of worship. Thanksgiving is the next step after lament. In lament, the petitions are brought to God with an affirmation that he will act. The thanksgiving prayer is the response to God’s actions, acknowledging that he has heard the petition and answered in some way that has been experienced by the worshipper.

They follow this general structure:

  1. Address, Invocation or opening statement: Call out to the Lord, announce the intent to give praise to the Lord. Write a summary of how God helped you.
  2. Distress: Articulate the problem or crisis you were facing.
  3. Appeal: Articulate the appeal that was made to God.
  4. Deliverance: Write about how God delivered you.
  5. Testimony: Acknowledgement of God’s help or aid. Offer praise for God’s deliverance.

Psalm 116

Address or Invocation

1 I love the Lord, for he heard my voice; he heard my cry for mercy.

2 Because he turned his ear to me, I will call on him as long as I live.

Distress

3 The cords of death entangled me, the anguish of the grave came over me; I was overcome by distress and sorrow.

Appeal

4 Then I called on the name of the Lord: “Lord, save me!”

5 The Lord is gracious and righteous; our God is full of compassion.

Deliverance

6 The Lord protects the unwary; when I was brought low, he saved me.

7 Return to your rest, my soul, for the Lord has been good to you.

8 For you, Lord, have delivered me from death, my eyes from tears, my feet from stumbling,

9 that I may walk before the Lord in the land of the living.

Testimony

10 I trusted in the Lord when I said, “I am greatly afflicted”;

11 in my alarm I said, “Everyone is a liar.”

12 What shall I return to the Lord for all his goodness to me?

13 I will lift up the cup of salvation and call on the name of the Lord.

14 I will fulfill my vows to the Lord in the presence of all his people.

15 Precious in the sight of the Lord is the death of his faithful servants.

16 Truly I am your servant, Lord; I serve you just as my mother did; you have freed me from my chains.

17 I will sacrifice a thank offering to you and call on the name of the Lord.

18 I will fulfill my vows to the Lord in the presence of all his people,

19 in the courts of the house of the Lord—
in your midst, Jerusalem.

Praise the Lord.

Communal Psalms of Thanksgiving: 65, 67, 75, 107, 124, 136

Individual Psalms of Thanksgiving: 18, 21, 30, 32, 34, 40:1-11, 66:13-20, 92, 108, 116, 118, 138.

Application

Take some time and reflect on how the last week (or a time frame of your choice) has been for you. Make note of the predominant emotions you have been feeling during this time, in particular the ones centering around feelings of gratitude. Reflect on a particular situation or recurring theme that you know has caused you distress, pain or anxiety, and that you feel God responded to, and delivered you from. Imagine that God is with you and that you have the opportunity to thank Him and also tell others of His goodness and mercy towards you.

With a piece of paper and pen, invite God’s presence and follow the steps outlined below.

  1. Address, Invocation or opening statement: Call out to the Lord, announce the intent to give praise to the Lord. Write a summary of how God helped you.
  2. Distress: Articulate the problem or crisis you were facing. Explain how you felt during your distress. Share your fears or anxiety as you wrestled with this issue.
  3. Appeal: Articulate the appeal that you made to God, how you called out for his assistance.
  4. Deliverance: Write about how God delivered you. Describe how you felt when God started to hear your prayers.
  5. Testimony: Acknowledge God’s help or aid in your time of greatest need. Offer praise for God’s deliverance, and for His goodness and mercy.
 
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