This is part five of a series on developing a discipline of gratitude can help us grow spiritually. As we’ve talked about before, these habits move us beyond the emotion of gratitude into expressions of humility and praise, and an awareness of God’s good work in our lives beyond the thing we’re presently grateful for. The first two habits allow gratitude to change how we look at God and our circumstances. The second two habits help move us toward expressions of that gratitude to God.

For instance, gratitude can usher us into praise and worship as we take time to follow it back to its source.

I love the way the Psalms call us to give thanks almost 60 times–in private and in public, for God’s deeds and God’s character, in happiness and sadness, with instruments and with our voices. And always as an act of worship. But they also teach us how to deal with ourselves in response to God and his work in our lives.

The Psalms teach us “both as individuals and as a people, to remain alive to every complex human emotion,” writes Tish Harrison Warren. “As we pray the Psalms, we learn to celebrate and we learn to lament. We learn to be honest with God about our anger and our sin. We learn to grieve and doubt. We learn to admit shame and express gratitude.”

The Psalmists don’t limit gratitude to the heartwarming feeling of being thought of or ministered to. Rather, they call us to action, exhorting us with phrases like give thanks, proclaim with the voice of thanksgiving, offer a sacrifice of thanksgiving, render thanksgiving, exalt with thanksgiving, meditate with thanksgiving, and come with a song of thanksgiving. The Psalms invite us to feel gratitude and then let it motivate us to praise.

Find earlier posts in the series by clicking on the link below: