“Enter his gates with thanksgiving; go into his courts with praise. Give thanks to him and praise his name. For the Lord is good. His unfailing love continues forever, and his faithfulness continues to each generation.” – Psalm 100: 4-5.
There are times that, because of God’s extraordinary goodness, we just overflow with thanks. But there are other times when we choose to praise God only after He has answered our prayers. And while there’s nothing wrong with thanking God for answered prayer, that should not be the only time we praise Him.
One of the more famous stories in the Bible is Jesus visiting Mary and Martha after their brother Lazarus died. Even though Jesus went there after Lazarus was already dead, there was a purpose in His visit. John 11:41-42 says, “So they rolled the stone aside. Then Jesus looked up to heaven and said, “Father, thank you for hearing me. You always hear me, but I said it out loud for the sake of all these people standing here, so that they will believe you sent me.” It is interesting that Jesus thanked God for hearing His prayer before Lazarus took one step. The bottom line is that God is worthy of praise. We don’t have to wait to see if God delivers on something we ask Him before we thank Him. And if God chooses to say, “No,” that doesn’t mean God is less worthy of our praise.
God is worthy of praise. It pleases God when we praise Him ahead of time because we’re saying, God, whether or not you choose to answer my prayers, I praise you for who you are. I thank you for all you’ve given me. And Lord, even when you choose to say “no” to my requests, I know you have your reasons. You know the beginning from the end. Your thoughts are much higher than my thoughts and your ways are higher too (Isaiah 55:8-9). And Lord, if you withhold something I’m asking you for, then maybe the thing is not good for me, or the timing is not right. I know it’s not good because you’ve said you will not withhold any good thing from me (Psalm 84:11). God, I trust you.
Ephesians 5:20 says we are to “…give thanks for everything to God the Father in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ..” And Psalm 92:1-5 says: “Come, let us sing to the Lord!Let us shout joyfully to the Rock of our salvation. Let us come to him with thanksgiving. Let us sing psalms of praise to him. For the Lord is a great God, a great King above all gods. He holds in his hands the depths of the earth and the mightiest mountains. The sea belongs to him, for he made it. His hands formed the dry land, too.”
Five minutes of thanksgiving and praise has the power to change the direction of each day. It has the power to stir our hearts and make us open to and aware of God’s will for us in every situation.
Take time to practice thanksgiving very day.
- How is it possible to give thanks even in hard times?
- Does thanking God lead to praising God in your life?
- For what are you most grateful today?