Maybe you want to be able to praise God in all circumstances, but sometimes you just don’t feel like it. If so, you can relate well to the Psalms – the biblical book that glorifies God for who He is, while realistically depicting human struggles.
No matter how you feel at any given moment, you can use the Psalms to guide your prayers. And in the process, you’ll discover something exciting: Praising God through the Psalms will change you. Over time, you’ll develop a heart that wants to praise God no matter what.
Here are some ways you can pray through the Psalms to develop a heart of praise:
Psalm 95:6-7: Confess how hard it is for you to submit your will to God’s, and let Him know that you want to do so. Ask God to help you love and trust Him more deeply so you can surrender yourself to His will for you.
Psalm 86:11-12: Remember that God has your best interests in mind. Ask Him to give you a teachable spirit so you can discover the riches He has in store for you.
Psalm 90:9-10, 12: Acknowledge that life without God is meaningless. Ask Him to give you a vision of who you are and what you are to do. Ask for the grace to order your days in ways that glorify God. Decide to trust God’s guidance, even when you don’t understand what’s going on.
Psalm 29:1-2: Praise God for His unsurpassed holiness. Thank Him for allowing you to approach Him through prayer and gaze on the beauty of His holiness.
Psalm 22:2-3: Thank God that, while He is enthroned above, He also dwells in your heart. Realize that He knows you even better than you know yourself. Ask Him to lift your vision above your burdens and enable you to live in the power of praise.
Psalm 51:16-17: Give God all of your heart, being open and honest even when you’re hurting. Remember that He desires your heart over any material sacrifice you could bring.
Psalm 68:5-6: Know that you don’t have to be lonely, even when you’re alone. Ask God to make Him aware of His presence with you, and lead you into closer relationships with your brothers and sisters in Christ. Don’t resist the ways He has planned for you to grow.
Psalm 25:14: Praise God for revealing His plan for the ages through Jesus Christ. Ask Him to help you discern His voice above the clamor of life and to honor and reverence Him so you can be His close companion and confidant.
Psalm 26:1-2: Praise God for His whole creation – both the material and spiritual worlds. Ask Him to help you present your whole being (thoughts, words, emotions, and actions) as a living sacrifice in your worship and living.
Psalm 63:3-4: Reach up to God, acknowledging His greatness and asking for more of Him in your life. Place yourself in a position of growth and expanding consciousness of and availability to Him and His will in your life.
Psalm 66:2,4: Express your gratitude to God in song. Don’t be self-conscious, worrying about the quality of your voice or the extent of your musical gifts. Instead, be conscious of God’s greatness and simply offer your praise to Him in a celebratory song.
Psalm 65:1-2: Remember that God knows your prayers even before you put them into words. Praise Him for the gift of language. Ask Him to help you make sure that your speech – both in worship and in everyday life – glorifies Him.
Psalm 119:5-6, 8: Praise God for the way worship can cause your spirit to soar, and for how His Word tells you what your life and your worship should be like. Ask Him to help you understand the Word and connect with Him in your times of praise.
Psalm 149:5-6: Decide to aggressively trust God, forcefully throwing yourself at His feet in the midst of your weakness to receive His strength. Don’t give into fear. Instead, boldly affirm God’s power to give you victory over the forces of evil.
Psalm 96:7-8: Praise God for blessing you with so many good gifts. Ask Him to help you be more content with what you receive. Try to give generously to support His work on Earth as a way of expressing your thanks to Him. Remember that Jesus gave His all for you to have eternal life.
Psalm 147:1: Tell God that you love to experience the beauty of His love becoming a part of you. Honor Him above all beautiful things in heaven and on Earth, because of who He is and His power to transform even the most sordid life into something beautiful.
Psalm 47:6-7: Praise God for the songs He has put in your heart. Ask Him to align your mind and spirit with His eternal will, giving you godly wisdom so you can worship as the Holy Spirit leads you.
Psalm 21:8, 13: Don’t be afraid when faced with evil forces. Remember that God will empower you to overcome them. Understand the praise is a valuable weapon. As you offer praise to God, evil will flee before His might and power.
Psalm 133:1, 3: Praise God for the unity He manifests in the trinity (Father, Son, and Holy Spirit). Repent of disunity between you and other Christians. Pray for a renewed willingness to accept the unity of the Spirit through the bond of peace.
Psalm 2:7-8; 24:9-10: Exalt Jesus Christ as the King of kings that He is. Confess that there is no other name in heaven or on Earth by which you can be saved. Praise Jesus for exercising His power with love and justice. Honor Him as the master of your life. Ask Him to help you live in a way that clearly acknowledges Him as your personal king.
Psalm 139:7-8: Be glad that you can’t escape God’s presence in your life. Thank Him for always being available to you. Ask Him to empower you to follow His guidance.
Psalm 69:20: Praise God for the gifts of His Holy Spirit. Be receptive to the Spirit’s work in you that helps you be part of God’s continuing ministry among your family, friends, neighbors, and others whose lives you touch.
Psalm 68:35: Remember that God is always waiting for you to come to Him. Be bold enough to come into His presence at any time and in any situation. Bring Him your fears to exchange for faith. Bring Him your weaknesses to exchange for strength.
Psalm 147:3-6: Thank God for valuing you in spite of your sin. Ask Him to help you rely on and respond fully to the richness of His love. Don’t hide from Him, but accept His wholehearted acceptance of you.
Psalm 113:4-6: Never mistakenly think that worship isn’t relevant to life. Recognize that it’s an essential part of life that enables you to deal with earthly situations in God’s transcendent power. Understand that worshipping God is vitally important and intimately related to your life in this world. Ask God to use your worship times to equip you to heal the hurts around you.
Psalm 69:1-3: Ask God to sustain your faith in the midst of difficult times. Be honest about your thoughts and feelings, and be steadfast in prayer as you go through trials.
Psalm 137: 1-4: Admit that it’s easier to praise God in some circumstances than it is in others. But go ahead and praise God anyway, no matter how strange your situation seems to you, knowing that God is always close at hand.
Psalm 101:1-2: Praise God for being your spiritual Father. Ask Him to help you act in faith toward members of both your biological and spiritual families. Seek to glorify Him in your private walk so those closest to you can see His influence on you.
Psalm 4:8: Understand that, just as you need physical rest for your body, you need spiritual rest for your soul. Ask God to give you peace and assurance of His constant care for you. Ask Him to awaken you when you need to be alerted to His voice and His will. Trust yourself completely to the God of both your nights and your days.
Psalm 139:1-3: Praise God that, even while He is sovereign over the entire vast universe, He knows you personally – even better than you know yourself. Thank Him for being near to you and giving you unfailing love.
Psalm 145:10 – 12: Celebrate the fact that you have access to God right now if you live and worship as a citizen of His kingdom. Praise His majesty and power that enable you to live a victorious life.
Adapted from The Heart of Praise, copyright 2005 and 1992 by Jack Hayford. Published by Regal Books from Gospel Light, Ventura, Ca., 1-800-4-GOSPEL, www.regalbooks.com.
Jack W. Hayford serves as president of the International Foursquare Church and chancellor of The King’s College and Seminary in Van Nuys, California, following his 30 years as senior pastor of The Church On The Way. He has written more than 40 other books.