“For what thanksgiving can we return to God for you, for all the joy that we feel for your sake before our God.” – 1 Thessalonians 3:9

In the Pray First – a Personal Prayer Guide, there is a section entitled Thanksgiving and Praise – Present Yourself Before God. That is the subject of this devotional.

But how do we thank God? It is like gathering with your family a few weeks back at Christmas. You are enjoying a wonderful Christmas atmosphere with the family when you receive a gift that is so special that a mere “thank you” was just not enough.

When you pause and reflect on all that God has done for us, a mere “thank you” doesn’t cut it.  Have you ever felt that way? I know I have. I feel that way sometimes when I pray. I also feel that way during communion when we thank Jesus for giving up His life so that we might be forgiven and given life. How do you respond to the general grace that God gives all of us? How do you respond when God blesses you specifically – when He answers a prayer, He provides healing, He supplies your needs in a way only He can.

While words are never going to be enough, they are needed. When I give a gift to somebody, I want to know they like what I have bought them. I can usually tell by the expression on their face, but I will only know for sure if they tell me. 

Thankfulness is a reoccurring Bible theme. 1 Thessalonians 5:16-18 says, “Rejoice always,  pray without ceasing, give thanks in all circumstances; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you.”  Notice that we are told to give thanks in all circumstances. Thankfulness should simply be standard operating procedure regardless of our circumstances.

Psalm 136:1 says, “Give thanks to the Lord, for he is good, for his steadfast love endures forever.” Here we have two reasons to be thankful: God’s goodness and His steadfast love.

Here is a six day challenge: Be a thankful person and praise God for all you have been given, remember what God has done for you and take the time to thank Him in prayer.

We should be thankful because God is worthy of our thanksgiving. It is only right to credit Him because “every good gift and every perfect gift is from above”  (James 1:17). Expressing thankfulness helps us remember that God is in control. Thankfulness, then, is not only appropriate; it is actually healthy and beneficial to us. It reminds us of the bigger picture, that we belong to God, and that we have been blessed with every spiritual blessing. Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us in Christ with every spiritual blessing in the heavenly places.” (Ephesians 1:3). 

Discussion Questions:

  1. Is being thankful really our choice ? Can we actually decide that we will be thankful people?
  2. Where has being thankful ranked on your list of required Christian qualities up until now? Has this devotional changed your mind at all? If so, how?
  3. We rarely think the source of our problems is tied to our lack of being thankful. How do you think being thankful and praising God is the solution that will help us experience God’s best in our situations?
  4. Pray to thank and praise God this week.