Our reasons for praising God are innumerable, yet I often fail to find words that accurately express my praise. Thankfully, the Lord Himself provides words of praise in the Book of Psalms. Although the psalms are wrought with all types of emotions, some of the best (and most popular) words of praise are found in their pages. The Psalms give us words of praise for what is good, how God is good, and how He works for us and loves us.
One thing we can praise God for is the gift of His Law. The Commandments show us what is right, how we fail, and what God wants for our lives. In the next breath, God’s Word also shows us His Gospel. As you go about your daily devotions, I challenge you to read the Psalms and commandments as I’ve paired them together below. How or what can you praise God for?
“You shall not have no other gods.”
We praise God for who He is, and we love Him because He first loved us. He is the God whose loyal love endures forever.
Give thanks to the LORD, for He is good,
for His steadfast love endures forever.
“You shall not misuse the name of the LORD your God.”
We praise Him for the name He has given us to call upon Him. He has told us to call Him “Abba,” or Father (Romans 8:15), and commands us to call upon Him “in every trouble, pray, praise, and give thanks” (Small Catechism).
And call upon Me in the day of trouble;
I will deliver you, and you shall glorify Me.
“Remember the Sabbath day by keeping it holy.”
We praise Him for setting aside the Sabbath day for us, this day of resting and gathering to hear His Word.
The law of the LORD is perfect,
reviving the soul;
the testimony of the LORD is sure,
making wise the simple;
the precepts of the LORD are right,
rejoicing the heart;
the commandment of the LORD is pure,
enlightening the eyes;
the fear of the LORD is clean,
the rules of the LORD are true,
and righteous altogether.
“Honor your father and your mother.”
We praise Him for being our heavenly Father and for the mothers and fathers who give compassion and instruction to their children.
As far as the east is from the west,
so far does He remove our transgressions from us.
As a father shows compassion to his children,
so the LORD shows compassion to those who fear Him. . . .
But the steadfast love of the LORD is from everlasting to everlasting on those who fear Him,
and His righteousness to children’s children.
(Psalm 103:12–13, 17)
“You shall not murder.”
We praise Him for the life He has given us.
I praise You, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made.
Wonderful are Your works;
my soul knows it very well.
My frame was not hidden from You,
when I was being made in secret,
intricately woven in the depths of the earth.
“You shall not commit adultery.”
We praise Him for the households He has established. We especially praise Him for the love He gives us that we share with those in the houses that He established.
Unless the LORD builds the house,
those who build it labor in vain.
“You shall not steal.”
We praise Him for all we have.
From Your lofty abode You water the mountains;
the earth is satisfied with the fruit of Your work.
You cause the grass to grow for the livestock
and plants for man to cultivate,
that he may bring forth food from the earth
and wine to gladden the heart of man,
oil to make his face shine
and bread to strengthen man’s heart.
“You shall not give false testimony against your neighbor.”
We praise Him for being our refuge, deliverer, righteousness, rock, and fortress when others assault us, slander us, betray us, hurt our reputation, or speak unkindly to us.
In You, O LORD, do I take refuge;
let me never be put to shame;
in Your righteousness deliver me!
Ninth and Tenth Commandments
“You shall not covet your neighbor’s house.”
“You shall not covet your neighbor’s wife, or his manservant or maidservant, his ox or donkey, or anything that belongs to your neighbor.”
We praise Him for shaping our hearts to desire what is good and removing desires that quickly move into covetousness.
Trust in the LORD, and do good;
dwell in the land and befriend faithfulness.
Delight yourself in the LORD,
and He will give you the desires of your heart. . . .
He will bring forth your righteousness as the light,
and your justice as the noonday.
(Psalm 37:3–4, 6)
Praise is such an important and wonderful aspect of the Christian life. Especially in times of personal devotions, we are called to thank and praise our amazing God. The Psalms give us incredible examples of praise and remind us of all the many things our God has done and will continue to do. May you never lose sight of His love and mercy, and may these psalms help you praise Him.
Catechism: © 1986, CPH.
Use the Psalms for personal devotions and study in Engaging the Psalms: A Guide for Reflection and Prayer.