Can I Cultivate Thanksgiving? Psalm 9a

When I was a little girl, the days spent between Christmas and New Year were filled with the arduous task of writing thank you notes. Looking back now, less than ten notes to write loomed large over those days. For my sister and me, the challenge felt overwhelming.

 I sat for hours at the dark wood desk in my room with the leather inlay carving out words with my blue ballpoint pen. The lightweight air mail paper made my penmanship even more difficult. Ink smeared over the words I crafted. I struggled to complete each note.

Cultivating Gratitude

My mother knew that cultivating an attitude of gratefulness required application. To feel thankful, putting pen to paper reinforces and acknowledges what has been received.

In Psalm 9, David begins his psalm with an order to write thank you notes to the LORD. While these notes do not have to be handwritten on airmail stationery, listing and “recounting” what God has done for us builds up gratefulness in our hearts and minds.

I must confess to a certain degree of pessimism in my own heart. Naturally, I lose sight of all I have received. Sometimes I need to cultivate an attitude of gratitude by making a list.

1 I will give thanks to the LORD with my whole heart; I will recount all of your wonderful deeds.
2 I will be glad and exult in you; I will sing praise to your name, O Most High. 
(Psalm 9:1-2 ESV)

Listing off the Lord’s wonderful deeds will lead to wholehearted praise and a much-needed perspective shift for me.

3 When my enemies turn back, they stumble and perish before your presence.
4 For you have maintained my just cause; you have sat on the throne, giving righteous judgment. (Psalm 9:3-4 ESV)

Currently, I am traveling through a season of challenges regarding some financial matters—one of those times when my responsibility intersects with someone else’s mistakes. Today, I will choose to claim verse 4 as a promise. “For you have maintained my just cause; you have sat on the throne, giving righteous judgment.” This lifts the crushing pressure to fight for my rights off my shoulders. The Lord maintains my just cause day and night. He will prevail in His perfect timing and in His ideal manner.  

See the Everlasting Ruins

5 You have rebuked the nations; you have made the wicked perish; you have blotted out their name forever and ever.
6 The enemy came to an end in everlasting ruins; their cities you rooted out; the very memory of them has perished.
(Psalm 9:5-6 ESV)

How many times have we visited ancient and historical ruins and marveled about how a king or a country had so much in the world’s eyes, and then it was all taken away? During a visit to Israel a few years ago, I saw this time and time again.

Does the Lord leave “everlasting ruins” behind to remind us how much power He has? I believe those ruins stand as a testimony to His might and abilities. We are forgetful people who need visual cues.

7 But the LORD sits enthroned forever; he has established his throne for justice,
8 and he judges the world with righteousness;   he judges the peoples with uprightness.
(Psalm 9:7-8 ESV)

In whatever situation I find myself in, it is always comforting to be reminded of the Lord’s position in my life and the world. He is on the throne. He has authority in my life and the world around me. While the world appears to be spinning out of control, especially lately, He is still sitting in authority over it all. He will make a final judgment someday when Jesus returns to rule for eternity.

Try Hiding in God’s Stronghold

9 The LORD is a stronghold for the oppressed, a stronghold in times of trouble.
10 And those who know your name put their trust in you, for you, O LORD, have not forsaken those who seek you.
(Psalm 9:9-10 ESV)

In the meantime, when I feel utterly overwhelmed by it all, I can withdraw into His presence, a stronghold. Because I know His name, I can put my trust in Him. Sometimes it becomes a daily challenge and even an hourly challenge. Spending time in God’s stronghold might look different for each of us. For me, it is choosing to sing songs of praise or sitting quietly and listening for His voice of reassurance. Sometimes, getting outside in nature tends to my soul by exposing me to God’s creation. Time spent in God’s presence brings a reset to my soul and renews my mindset.


Lord, I choose to begin with thanksgiving. I will decide to make a list of all You have done and provided for me.

Lord, I choose to see the everlasting ruins You have provided to remind me of Your power. All the while, I will look up to seeing you enthroned forever.

Lord, today I choose to take a few minutes or even hours to hide in Your presence. Usher me into your soul-tending presence as I commit to sing praises and recall Your marvelous deeds.

In Jesus’ name, Amen.