Let your reasonableness be known to everyone. The Lord is at hand; 6 do not be anxious about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God. 7 And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus. – Philippians 4:5-7
Continue steadfastly in prayer, being watchful in it with thanksgiving. – Colossians 4:2
First of all, then, I urge that supplications, prayers, intercessions, and thanksgivings be made for all people, 2 for kings and all who are in high positions, that we may lead a peaceful and quiet life, godly and dignified in every way. 3 This is good, and it is pleasing in the sight of God our Savior, – 1 Timothy 2:1-3
Rejoice always, 17 pray without ceasing, 18 give thanks in all circumstances; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you. – 1 Thessalonians 5:16-18
Awake, my glory!
Awake, O harp and lyre!
I will awake the dawn!
9 I will give thanks to you, O Lord, among the peoples;
I will sing praises to you among the nations.
10 For your steadfast love is great to the heavens,
your faithfulness to the clouds. – Psalm 57:8-10
for his steadfast love endures forever. – Psalm 136:26
Do you want to give God a gift he will truly appreciate? When someone has done something significant to help us, it is natural to want to do something for them in return. We want to pay people for the service they have rendered to us. These days it seems that cash is the go to currency. There was a day when it would have been a freshly baked pie or a casserole.
But what gift do we give God? We have nothing that he hasn’t given to us first. Scripture calls us to give thanks. Why? Because his steadfast love endures forever. Whatever we may feel thankful for, ultimately it is because his steadfast love endures forever, it is great to the heavens and his faithfulness to the clouds, that is, it is greater than we imagine.
From the various Scripture passages for today, we see that thanksgiving is identified as an integral component of prayer. We are exhorted to supplications, prayers, intercessions, and thanksgivings. What role does thanksgiving play in this panoply of prayer?
Thanksgiving is a mental and emotional stabilizer
When one takes prayer seriously, accepting the burden of others in prayer can become oppressive if one loses perspective. We weep with those who weep and mourn with those who mourn. Intercession involves this emotional identity with another. Thanksgiving can help keep the pain we share in prayer in proper perspective with the One to whom we bring our petitions and intercessions. His steadfast love is great to the heavens, and it never ends. He is greater than the burdens we carry to him.
Giving thanks gives an attitude adjustment
Thanksgiving provides us with an often needed attitude adjustment as well. It is easy for some of us to get down in the “mully-grubs and can’t hep its” as my Southern friends might say. We can become victims. Thanksgiving will always pull one out of a victim mentality.
Thanksgiving is a response of faith
Thanksgiving is a response of faith and a wellspring of joy. Some weeks ago I began earnest prayer for a personal need. I had the Biblical promises before me as I prayed about this situation knowing that he who has given his covenant promises is faithful to keep his word. It is in his character to do so (Exodus 34:6-7). After I had been pursuing this prayer concern for a while, I awoke one morning saying, “Thank you for …” I wasn’t truthfully quite awake. As I did come to my conscious senses, I realized that I had been giving thanks from my heart for something that I have not yet received. I wasn’t giving thanks from a liturgical formula for prayer, but it was an overflow of the faith God had given me to trust him to meet my need. I did get up with a smile that morning.
So, is thanksgiving a product of faith, a product of appreciation for something God has already accomplished in our lives, or a liturgical practice that is part of our prayer life? The answer to all three questions is, Yes!
How about a little thanksgiving with that prayer?