By Christin Ditchfield Lazo

A Reading from Psalm 136

1 Give thanks to the LORD, for he is good,
for his mercy endures for ever.

2 Give thanks to the God of gods,
for his mercy endures for ever.

3 Give thanks to the Lord of lords,
for his mercy endures for ever.

4 Who only does great wonders,
for his mercy endures for ever;

5 Who by wisdom made the heavens,
for his mercy endures for ever;

6 Who spread out the earth upon the waters,
for his mercy endures for ever;

7 Who created great lights,
for his mercy endures for ever;

8 The sun to rule the day,
for his mercy endures for ever;

9 The moon and the stars to govern the night,
for his mercy endures for ever.

10 Who struck down the firstborn of Egypt,
for his mercy endures for ever;

11 And brought out Israel from among them,
for his mercy endures for ever;

12 With a mighty hand and a stretched-out arm,
for his mercy endures for ever;

13 Who divided the Red Sea in two,
for his mercy endures for ever;

14 And made Israel to pass through the midst of it,
for his mercy endures for ever;

15 But swept Pharaoh and his army into the Red Sea,
for his mercy endures for ever;

16 Who led his people through the wilderness,
for his mercy endures for ever.

17 Who struck down great kings,
for his mercy endures for ever;

18 And slew mighty kings,
for his mercy endures for ever;

19 Sihon, king of the Amorites,
for his mercy endures for ever;

20 And Og, the king of Bashan,
for his mercy endures for ever;

21 And gave away their lands for an inheritance,
for his mercy endures for ever;

22 An inheritance for Israel his servant,
for his mercy endures for ever.

23 Who remembered us in our low estate,
for his mercy endures for ever;

24 And delivered us from our enemies,
for his mercy endures for ever;

25 Who gives food to all creatures,
for his mercy endures for ever.

26 Give thanks to the God of heaven,
for his mercy endures for ever.

Meditation

I remember a really dark time in my life when I was in so much pain — physically, emotionally, spiritually — that I just didn’t want to go on living. A friend tried to help me see that things weren’t as dark as they seemed. I wanted hope; I just couldn’t find any. Well, they made me promise that for a month, before I went to bed every night, I would write down in a journal at least one blessing — one thing I was thankful for. Like the words of that old chorus:

When upon life’s billows you are tempest tossed,
When you are discouraged, thinking all is lost,
Count your many blessings, name them one by one,
And it will surprise you what the Lord hath done.

Or as the psalmist says, “Give thanks to the Lord, for he is good, for his steadfast love endures forever.”

It wasn’t easy. But a promise is a promise. So I started looking for something — anything — good that I could write down. Little things and then bigger things. Words of encouragement God was speaking to my heart. Ordinary, and sometimes extraordinary, miracles. Answers to prayer. Once I was looking for them, I saw blessings everywhere. In time my faith was strengthened, my hope renewed. My depression lifted.

It’s not a magic formula, and God heals in various ways, but it’s a powerful practice I’ve returned to many times, and not just in times of trouble or distress.

No matter where you are today or what life is like for you right now, let me encourage you to speak to your own soul — and to others’ — with words of hope and faith and courage. Remember God’s goodness in the past. Declare your trust in his goodness here and now. Look forward to the future, when we will again “join the joyful throng” (Ps. 42:4).  Together we will celebrate that his love endures forever!

Christin Ditchfield Lazo, M.A. (Bible and Theology), is a best-selling author, conference speaker, and syndicated radio host, passionate about calling believers to a deeper life of faith.

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Daily Devotional Cycle of Prayer

Today we pray for:

All Saints’ Episcopal Church, San Diego, Calif.
The Diocese of Central Busoga (Church of the Province of Uganda)