Praise the LORD, my soul; all my inmost being, praise his holy name. Praise the LORD, my soul, and forget not all his benefits – who forgives all your sins and heals all your diseases, who redeems your life from the pit and crowns you with love and compassion, who satisfies your desires with good things so that your youth is renewed like the eagle’s. – Psalm 103:1-5

Praise the Lord, O my soul! How good and right, how refreshing and renewing, how balancing and breathing it is to our souls – to our minds, to our hearts, and to our bodies – to praise our Lord. How good it is for us to remember – actively and intentionally, humbly and thankfully – all the gifts of love, life, mercy, and strength that our Lord pours out to us now and eternally!

I have a dear friend who when I asked him how he prayed for himself during a time of great crisis, answered by telling me that he prayed during these days just like he always prayed:

“Lord, thank you for all of the blessings you have given to me and my family. Thank you, Jesus, for saving me. Please forgive me of all of my sins. Help me be the man I should be.”

A simple, humble prayer. A prayer filled with sincere thanksgiving. A prayer where his only requests were for the forgiveness of his sins and for God to help him to be the man that God wanted him to be.

I know my prayers are often far more convoluted than those of my friend’s. They are often too pleading. Often too hurried. Often too ungrateful. Often too focused on the need for others to change instead of on my need for continual forgiveness and transformation.

My friend’s way of praying moved me and challenged me. And I take more time for simple, humble prayers. More time to remember and sincerely thank God for all of His goodness and blessings in my life. More time to thank Jesus for His gift of salvation and for His inexplicable love that compelled Him to die for me. More time to confess my sins and receive God’s forgiveness with deep gratitude and a heart set free. More time to ask God to help me to be the woman He wants me to be. Praise the Lord, O my soul!

My friend passed through his time of crisis, but not in the way, or the timing, that we who loved him wanted. He passed from our presence on this earth. We mourn with deep, heart-aching loss. And we celebrate the joy we know he now has because he passed into the full, eternal, and beautiful presence of Jesus, his Savior and Lord. Praise the Lord, O my soul!

May we each take time to call our souls to praise the Lord and remember all of His blessings given so generously to us! Our God loves us. Our God forgives us. Our God redeems our lives from death and saves us to share in His joy for all eternity. Our God heals our every disease and every bit of brokenness in our lives. Our God honors us – crowns us – with His love and compassion. Our God satisfies the deepest desires of our hearts with His good things. Our God renews our strength and transforms us in deep and beautiful ways to be His people forever. Praise the Lord, O my soul, and remember!