Praying Thankfully in the Congregation

In this season of Thanksgiving, we express our gratefulness to God by enjoying gifts he has given us: food, family, shelter, clothing, and friends. In Psalm 111, we discover additional aspects of our lives for which we should give thanks.

How and where do we give thanks to the Lord? The Psalmist writes, “Praise the LORD I will give thanks to the LORD with my whole heart, in the company of the upright, in the congregation.” These words speak to our priorities and to our behavior with our associates. The words that begin the Psalm are a phrase that has become one word in English: Hallelujah. We often say “hallelujah” with emotion, joyously celebrating good news. That is what we do when we praise the Lord. We celebrate his grace and love. We praise the Lord according to Psalm 111 with “my whole heart,” with all my being, with my mind’s total focus.

We praise the Lord in the company of the upright, in the congregation. The words company and congregation indicate different sizes of crowds. They are bound together here by the people who make up those groups – the upright. We praise the Lord best when we praise him with others who share our faith in him, whether it is with a small group of friends, a Bible study group, or with the church as a whole. Psalm 111 does not describe the worship of a lone individual hiking along a mountain stream. No, the worshipper of God surrounds himself or herself with other people who also praise God. We gather in the congregation of the upright to praise and to thank the Lord.

  • Biblical quotes are from the English Standard Version of the Bible.

O God of steadfast love, the beauty of your creation impresses us with your attention to aesthetics and usefulness.  The magnitude of your creation drives us to our knees in humble pray, seeking to understand why you would care about us.  We praise you and thank you, we shout “hallelujah” when we rejoice. Whether we feast with friends or pray alone this week, help us to remember that we are not alone in serving you. If we falter, another worshipper and you are there to lift us up and encourage us.  Thank you for your generous love.  May we reflect that love in our actions. In Jesus’ name, amen.

About Michael Summers

Michael Waymon Summers has preached in twenty-seven of the United States as well as seven other countries. Michael earned a Master of Theology degree. He also has done graduate work in international studies. Michael likes to run, loves to sing, and reads voraciously.
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