This is the first segment of a new series called “Six Weeks in Psalms”. Don’t fear that I will attempt to attack every psalm verse by verse (though perhaps I will in my lifetime!), but rather carefully selecting specific psalms that have great significance or value to me personally. The first part of this series will focus on Psalm 103, written (unsurprisingly) by King David himself. This psalm praises the Lord, tells of his goodness and compassion, and lets its readers know how deeply known and loved we are.
Because I am so excited for us to dive into the simple goodness of these first couple verses, let me give you only a quick note of context. This psalm’s primary purpose is to express David’s fervent devotion, which is clear from the opening lines. One biblical commentary states simply, “it is a most excellent psalm of praise, and of general use”, and I wholeheartedly agree. With that, I believe, it is time to begin.
I hope you will find the message of Psalm 103 as refreshing and satisfying as I did.
“¹Praise the LORD, my soul; all my inmost being, praise his holy name. ²Praise the LORD, my soul, and forget not all his benefits–“
Psalm 103:1-2, NIV
“Praise the LORD, oh my soul” is not a contingent statement. God is always good. He is always praiseworthy. He is always righteous and compassionate. There is no “if”, it’s only “because”. There is always a reason to praise the Lord.
When I was still serving on the worship team at my church before moved away to go to school, the worship leader asked me to give an introduction to the song “10,000 Reasons” by Matt Maher. I told the congregation about the same idea I’ve just mentioned to you. The lyrics of the chorus are: “Bless the Lord, oh my soul, oh my soul, worship His holy name.” No conditions. No exceptions. This was only a few months after I lost my dad, so those words really hit home for me. There were moments I didn’t feel like praising the Lord. Moments I didn’t feel like blessing Him. Moments I didn’t feel like telling God how great He was. So I was honest with the church while I was on stage introducing this song. I was real with them because that’s what it means to be a believer. The Bible calls us to praise the Lord, even when we don’t feel like it.
No Conditions. No exceptions.
No conditions. Not, “Praise the Lord if everything is going great”, “Praise the Lord if you’re doing well in school”, or “Praise the Lord when you get a promotion at work”. Praise the Lord, because He is worthy to be praised. He is always worthy. We should always be praising.
No exceptions. Not “Praise the Lord, except if your girlfriend breaks up with you”, “Praise the Lord, except if your kids are sick”, or “Praise the Lord, except if your car breaks down”. Praise the Lord, because He is worthy. It’s really very simple, but we miss the mark all the time.
I think sometimes this is because we’re not sure what it means to praise the Lord. What does it look like exactly? How can I praise the Lord in a way that He will appreciate? Here is an idea based on the verses we read above.
What Does It Look Like to Praise the Lord?
The psalmist in our verses does two things: calls upon his inmost being to praise God and calls upon his soul to remember the good things God is and has done. Let’s use this template as an example for us all.
1. First, tell God how awesome He is and how great His works are.
How many psalms begin or end or somewhere include a statement about how absolutely incredible God is? You can use whatever adjectives or nouns most speak to you about the nature and character of God. “Oh, Lord, You are mighty. You are good. You are my Redeemer.” Pray about what He’s done in your life. “God, You have helped me graduate school; You have given me a good home; You have brought such joy to my life.” Or start simple and praise Him by repeating the exact words above: “God, You are awesome and Your works are great.” He gets what you mean, even if you don’t use very many words to say it.
2. Second, thank God specifically for His plans and provisions.
Pretty self-explanatory, but one of the greatest ways to fill your heart with God’s praise is to thank Him for what He has done. I occasionally pray something similar to this: “God, thank You for your goodness and mercy. Thank You for all you have done, for all You are doing, and for all You are yet to do. I know Your plans are perfect and Your promises are good.” That short prayer alone always shifts my heart to a perspective of praise.
Remember also that there is no wrong way to praise God. A posture of praise is one of humility and of genuineness. You can’t praise the same way any other uniquely created being does. Take some time this week to reflect on when and how you can be praising God. If you want to dive a little deeper, check out this week’s challenge.
Challenge: Write Psalm 103:1-2 down in a journal or even on a scratch piece of paper. Underneath, write your own verses of praise, using the adjectives and nouns that most speak to your heart. BONUS: Share your verses with me here on the blog or email them to me at firstname.lastname@example.org!
And for even more ideas about including God in everyday life, check out last week’s list here! Thanks for sticking around and enjoying the adventure of life that God has given us. 🙂
Author: Susannah Judd
Hello, my lovelies! I am the author and owner of wearethelovelyones.com. I am so excited to share in this journey through life and faith with you! One of my favorite things we are called to as believers is sharing life together. I also love cookies of any kind, my darling husband Caleb, and of course, Jesus himself. Check out my “About Me” page for more. 😉