Give thanks to the Lord, for he is good.
His love endures forever.
(Psalm 136:1 NIV)
Did you know that several of the Psalms in God’s Word are arranged as alphabetical acrostics?
The alphabetical acrostic is a poetic form in which the writer goes through the alphabet and uses a word or phrase that begins with a particular letter of the alphabet in sequence. The most famous example of this is Psalm 119, in which every 8 verses corresponds to a different letter of the Hebrew alphabet. But alphabetical acrostics are found in several other Psalms and other biblical poetry too.
We believe this alphabetical literary form is used to highlight the completeness and perfection of God. As Revelation 1:8, 21:6, and 22:13 say, the Lord is the Alpha and the Omega – the beginning and the end. Here, Revelation uses the first and last letters of the Greek alphabet to express the Lord’s all-sufficiency.
So our Scripture engagement challenge for November is Alphabet Praise. We are hoping that several of you will take up this challenge and write back to us. Then we can compile your responses into an alphabetical acrostic poem of thanksgiving to the Lord as we enter the season of thanksgiving and generosity. Our hope is to send to you a compilation of responses before American Thanksgiving (28 November) so it can serve as a resource for you to use in your seasonal celebrations as you give thanks and prepare for the advent of Christ and the Christmas season.
As we enter this season of giving thanks and sharing the blessings God has given us, we invite you to reflect on who God is and how worthy of our thanks and praise he is. Personally, we also have found that working systematically through the English alphabet is a great and ordered way to creatively praise the Lord, and it’s good fun too. We have found Alphabet Praise to be a great prayer activity to use in church or small groups. We hope this resource is valuable to you and that you enjoy this exercise!
Here are the instructions for the Alphabet Praise challenge should you choose to accept it.
Psalm 136 is a great model of expressing different reasons to thank the Lord. We will use the first part of the first verse to begin our engagement:
Give thanks to the Lord, for he is ……
Then we invite you to fill in the blank, using words or phrases to complete the sentence that begin with each letter or sound of the English alphabet to express your thanks and praise to the Lord. We specify ‘or sound’ to allow a bit of flexibility on the difficult letters like ‘X’.
If you have more than one word or phrase for each letter, that is also fine.
You can take out the ‘is’ if you like in the phrase and replace it with another verb:
Give thanks to the Lord, for he ……
Upon completion of this challenge, you should end up with at least 26 statements of thanks to the Lord, corresponding to each letter or sound of the English alphabet. You can make this into an acrostic poem, or just submit it as a list.
Please email us your responses by November 26th so that we can compile them in a helpful way for our partnership team. You can also follow us on Facebook, where we will invite our friends to participate by using a different letter each day for the first 26 days of November.
We trust that God will use this exercise to bless you and engage with the truths of his Word.
Love and Hugs,
Graham and Ellie