Psalms: Prayers about trust and thankfulness

Psalm 31: This is a prayer about trust in the midst of trouble.

“But I trust in you, O LORD; I say, ‘You are my God.'”

Every psalm has an arc. None of them are static. Especially the lamenting psalms, the sad, troubled, lonely ones. Whatever miserable state the psalmist might find themselves–and there’s a lesson right there about believers that find themselves in trouble–it’s never the end of the story.

And here, everything changes in a single word.


I trust in you. This is no throwaway statement. The weight of this is huge. This is loaded with meaning and implications. Because all of the tangible evidence suggest just the opposite.

What kind of a god invented enemies, anyway, much less allow them to get so close? What kind of trustworthy deity does that?

What does trust look like? What does it mean?

I trust you, O LORD. It means taking honest stock of the world around us and rejecting the story that it’s all God’s fault.

The great story of the psalms is that God has rescued before, and God will rescue again. In a sense, every psalm tells the story that Christ has died (past), Christ is risen (present), and Christ will come again (future).

Psalm 32: This is a prayer about extraordinary gratitude.

Steadfast love surrounds the one who trusts in the LORD. Be glad in the LORD, and rejoice, O righteous, and shout for joy, all you upright in heart!

Steadfast love. This is one of the big ideas in the psalms. It’s a big idea in the whole Old Testament. It crops up 22 times in the Psalms: Book I (chapters 1–41). “Steadfast love” is a pretty weak English way to say this Hebrew word it comes from, hesed.

Some scholars suggest “covenant loyalty,” but normal people today don’t talk like that. Imagine your best friend, the emotion and the bond you feel with that person. That’s a starter of what hesed is all about. That sense of “I’ve got your back, no matter what.”

And that’s the idea of God’s commitment to his people here.


About peterjwhite

I am a pastor to college students in Tulsa, OK.
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