Worship Through Gratitude

Open Your Bible

1 Chronicles 16:4-36, Ezra 3:10-11, Psalm 136:1-26

In college, I was part of a university ministry that had been led in faithfulness by the same pastor for many years, and he still leads it to this day: a picture of steadfast commitment and fruit-bearing that can only come from a long obedience in the same direction (to borrow a book title from the late Eugene Peterson).

Three years ago, we gathered with alumni and supporters to celebrate the twentieth anniversary of this faithful, beloved ministry. We took turns sharing memories and singing hymns, but the wind that blew through the whole evening was one of corporate gratitude: together, thanking God for His indescribable gift, we worshiped in song and story, in thanksgiving and praise. We thanked God for what He had done, and what we knew He would continue to do.

Each of today’s passages from Scripture highlights corporate gratitude expressed in worship. In 1 Chronicles 16, David institutes the daily practice of thanksgiving, commissioning Asaph to lead the community in worship. David decrees his song of thanks in verses 8–36, which is then reflected in parts of Psalms 96, 105, and 106.

The structure of David’s song matches the content of Psalm 136 incredibly closely, and there’s a lot to be gleaned from what David thanks the Lord for and in what order.

In Psalm 136, we see the creation story unfold with a refrain about God’s everlasting love: He made the heavens, He spread the land on the water, He hung the sun and the moon and dotted the stars. Then we read, with the same call-and-response pattern, how He saved the Israelites from Egyptian slavery, struck down evil kings to protect His people, and gave them a homeland. The same themes leap off the page in 1 Chronicles 16, and they are cues we can take into our daily practice of worship and gratitude.

It’s interesting to me in that 1 Chronicles 16, David doesn’t specifically thank God for what had just happened: the bringing of the ark of the covenant into Jerusalem. They worshipped at the ark, where God dwelled, but their gratitude was cosmic in scale. It was not, “Thank You for what You did today, for this one specific thing we have to celebrate.” It was, and perhaps should usually be, “Thank You for who You have always been, for how You have loved Your people since the beginning of time.”

In corporate worship, in private prayer, in the smallest moments, and the most earth-shattering ones, we always have reason to thank God for what He has done and what we know He will do. Whether or not we feel grateful or not, whether or not we feel worshipful, there is always reason to worship in gratitude: because His faithful love endures forever.

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26 thoughts on "Worship Through Gratitude"

  1. Mercy says:

    As I read Psalm 105 and 106, seeing the account of the Israelites on papers, described through generations, how they were delivered from slavery, with gold and silver to spare, and no one feeble among them, just so that they would soon forget, and then even grieved God and provoked Him to anger, and that is from God’s perspective, but from their perspective, they did not understand, their thoughts and knowing were much limited to see their true condition. Aren’t we all like that? How many times did we not understand why God acted in certain ways? How many times we would rather do our own thing and ask God to bless it? The human heart is easily prone to wander, prone to forget, and quick to murmur and complain, even readily to blame God for our own mistakes and mishaps, God, how could you allow this or that to happen? How many times we murmur quietly in our heart? This has brought me to repentance, and realization that God is so kind and merciful nevertheless. But God, but God, nevertheless, He saved them for His name’s sake, that He might make his mighty power to be known (Psalm 106:7-8 KJV)

    Father Lord God, I thank you that even though you know how I was so imperfect, how the things I did could grieve and provoke you, you still chose to send Jesus to die for me anyways. You still chose to redeem me, to reconcile me back to you, you still chose to wash me clean through Jesus’ blood. Please mold my heart oh Father, to be quick to give thanks continually, quick to remember your wondrous works in my life, quick to trust in you and give praise always, both in good and in bad times. Mold this heart of mine to be like your own heart. Let me stay humble. Let me be still and know you are God. I bless you Lord and I give you all the praise and glory!

  2. ILIANA CANALS says:

    DAY 5: Praising God through worship is showing God how much we love him and our thankful for the things he has done in our lives. We need to show thankfulness more because our God never leaves us, always loved us and forever forgiving us. Isn’t that worth praising alone!✝️

  3. Bri Tieperman says:

    No matter the situation or what is going on in the world, we always have a reason to thank God for what he has done & what he will do ♡
    His faithful love endures forever! His love for us is ETERNAL! Amen!

  4. Keva Richardson says:

    For the past year, I have been consulting independently while I look for permanent employment and it’s been tough. I have performance anxiety which effects my self confidence and ability to cope with work.

    I know that anxiety is the evil one trying to keep me from resting in God’s protection. I understand that theres nothing that can separate us from his love and he will conquer my fear and anxiety. This morning I want to praise and thank God for his commitment to me. I’m thankful that during these challenging times, I can take the time to relearn how to trust and rest in his love.

  5. Avis DeniseGraves says:

    I am grateful, having finished my second residency, acknowledging that His mercies endure forever, and His grace covers continually.

  6. Michelle Turner says:

    This morning I woke up with some regrets from the past and I’m stuck on how they’re affecting my present and future. It’s easy to not believe that God’s love endured forever during my mistakes, or even during my current regret. But even when his chosen people rejected him, even when they wandered, even when they forgot who he was, God’s love remained steadfast. Pray for me that this truth would sink into my heart.

  7. Bobcat Cole says:

    I have been struggling with anger lately and asking God to be with me in those moments. I was upset, praying, and journaling today. before I knew it my words shifted from frustration to words of praise and the reminders that our God is powerful and works all things together for his good.
    His faithful love endures forever.

    1. Abbie Darst says:


  8. Kirsten Murphy says:

    Hiking in Zion National Park, Utah this week with the family…and let me tell you!!! Reading these verses with THIS backdrop is awe-inspiring. Wish I could post a picture so you all could see what I’m seeing. Indeed, his works are marvelous. Thank you lord for a beautiful home.

  9. NanaK says:

    “Sing to him; sing praise to Him; tell about all His wondrous works!” 1 Chronicles 16:9
    In the midst of an especially hot summer, with daily heat advisories, I have a cool home and place of work; nearly three years after a serious car accident when my oldest granddaughter broke her neck, she is healthy and vibrant and dancing; a year after my oldest daughter’s marriage was torn apart by her husband’s PTSD and alcohol abuse, they have celebrated their 11th wedding anniversary; and each day, I am honored and blessed to be married to my best friend and the most thoughtful husband!
    I absolutely give thanks, and honor to the LORD, for HE is good!!!!!

  10. Lynda Manders says:

    Amen ❤️

  11. Pam K says:

    I can always use a reminder about gratefulness. The scriptures helped me remember to look at the Big Picture of God at work along with the small things. We are in what has been a long season of managing care for two elderly parents. It is definitely a long obedience and some days I get discouraged and weary of it. The reading today was what I needed to refocus. The Lord is faithful and His love endures. I want to be grateful for this time in our lives.

  12. Mari V says:

    I’m thankful today for all that my God has done, all that HE continues to do, and all of what HE’s yet to do. I say this to my kids all the time. Even in the hard times there is something to be learned and I know God will use it for HIS greater purpose. My daughter is getting her testimony together and will be sharing it with her youth group on September 5th. Please pray for her. She’s going to speaking of her hard times and where she is today. She is praying that this will help somebody else that could be going through or has been through what she’s been through. I have to remind myself she is still a young teenager (13) and has a lot of growing to do. But has grown so much these past two years. I’m thankful that I am in a healthy environment to where I can be patient with her and stay silent at times and talk to God about it. Yes, HIS LOVE ENDURES FOREVER. His love never changes. I am grateful!

    1. Heather Relation says:

      Prayers sent!

  13. Melissa Graves says:

    I am in awe of Him. I Praise and bless your holy name, oh Lord!

  14. Terri says:

    His faithful love endures forever. God created time. His love is beyond time.

  15. Nancy Hubbard says:


  16. Kimiark says:

    Maura, praying for you, your daughter, and the new baby.

  17. Maura says:

    Worship God for who He has always been and what He has always done. Amen! We, I seem to focus on the circumstances and our feelings in the struggles and battles we daily face. When the Lord is constant in His faithfulness, lovingkindness, mercy and grace. God help me to be focused on your incredible attributes that never change. Help me to remember who you have always been, how You have always provided for me. Please pray for my daughter, she is about to have a baby, she is not communicating with me right now. It has been complicated, our relationship, bent and twisted by life in many ways. I am trusting God, knowing He is watching over her. My prayer would be for His provision and though I am not there that she would know and feel God’s love overwhelming in her heart as she brings this new baby into the world. Also that she would remember and know the truth of my love for her. Thank you Sisters. Joy to your day.

    1. Melissa Graves says:

      Praying your daughter is overwhelmed by the love and grace of God.

  18. Cayley Causey says:

    Every time I read Psalm 136, two things hit me all over again. 1. EVERYTHING He does is done out of LOVE. Isn’t that amazing? Even when we read some of judgement on the evil (verses 10-22), we see that even that is done because of His love. That is hard to understand, but is is true. 2. How different would my life be if I really believed that I am loved steadfastly and forever?

  19. Michelle Martin says:

    When I was diagnosed with cancer seven years ago, I had a 13-month old and had to put on hold our plans to try to grow our family. A wise leader at church had advised me to keep praying prayers of thanksgiving through the 8-month long ordeal of treatment. I had no idea how at the beginning of that journey. This Psalm of David reflects what I learned. Give thanks in all things. God is always good, and God is always present, even in the midst of the valleys. Sometimes today I forget the importance of this practice still. Thankful for this reading and reminder to walk this Walk in gratitude.

  20. Erica Chiarelli says:

    Our God is great & greatly to be praised! ❣

  21. Natalie Rose says:

    I love today’s reading! Gratitude has been on my mind a lot this past few days as something I need to express more frequently. Not just the obvious stuff like an unexpected gift or kindness, but the things we take for granted such as breathing, sight, the beauty of nature or the vastness of the night sky. I am grateful Lord, thank you, thank you, thank you.

  22. Churchmouse says:

    His work. His wonders. His judgments.

    David, in 1 Chronicles 16:12, would have us remember all three with gratitude. Gratitude is perhaps the purest form of worship. As we remember what He has done, we are reminded more clearly of Who He is. Our God is intimately involved in the lives of His created. We look at His works and His wonders and we see His heart. We look at His judgments and we see absolute justice. We give thanks to the Lord for He. Is. Good. Indeed His faithful love endures forever.

    Amen and praise the Lord!

  23. Kristen says:

    Our pastors wife said to replace the lines inPsalm 136 with specific things God has done in our lives, and keep His love endures forever! Also the first scripture brings this song we used to sing to memory: https://youtu.be/1qlqHUUVJ1s
    (Let the Heavens rejoice and the earth be glad.) I couldn’t get a different version, but found the on above,