"Enter His courts with thanksgiving and His courts with praise; give thanks to Him and praise His name." Psalm 100:4
Have you ever stopped to think about how you pray? I don't know if you have, but I did the other day. After a few minutes of examining my prayer life, I realized that most of the time, my "wants" outweigh my "thanks". A few days ago, my family was having a prayer time and my dad was emphasizing the importance of thanksgiving in our prayers. That doesn't mean the usual "thank you, Lord, for this day" or "thank you for providing this meal" or some other simple thanks (which by the way, are usually routine thanks and not really something we say from the heart-- it's like a "filler". I'm not saying this is always true, but it is in most cases...). It is actually being thankful to your Maker for everything He's done for you! So many people forget to ever stop and think about things to be grateful about. They pray and pray asking for things and when God does answer their prayer and give them what they've been asking, they begin praying for the next thing on their list instead of giving thanks for what God had just provided for them. It's a shame that they do so because when we stop and give thanks and praise God is when we realize what an awesome and amazing God He is! Now, there are also the people who do give thanks, but not for everything, just those things that they consider important. There are so many things that people overlook when thinking about what they're thankful for. Even though He knows everything, God cares and wants us to express our thanks to Him for everything.
Just being alive is a blessing and something to be thankful for. Not only that, but He made us in His image (Genesis 1:27)! His creation is amazing as well! People, animals of the sky, land, and sea, the mountains, the oceans, they all proclaim His glory and are things to be thankful for. How about your salvation? You're able to know God in your youth and can speak to Him while there are millions of people-some way older than you-who don't even know God exists. What a privilege we have! :) How about the fact that we live in a free country with freedom of religion? We can say like Joshua did in Joshua 24:15:
"But if serving the Lord seems undesirable to you, then choose for yourselves this day whom you will serve, whether the gods of your forefathers, served beyond the River, or the gods of the Amorites, in whose land you are living. But as for me and my house, we will serve the Lord."
We can say that verse with full confidence; and yet another reason to be thankful. On top of all those important reasons, you have the material possessions God has given you. Now I know that some may have more than others, but nevertheless, we should be thankful for what we have (I’m sure your parents have told you that ;) ) because it is what God has given to us. He knows us and what we need and He gives and takes away according to His will. He'll give us what He knows we need. He is a wise God who knows everything about us and what we need (yet another reason to be thankful!). God has been merciful in giving us so much because we really don't deserve any of it. That brings me to another reason to be thankful: His grace (see, everything leads to another...you'll never run out of things to be thankful for!). He didn't have to die for us, He didn't have to forgive us, and much less love us, and He didn't have to show us mercy and grace, and He certainly didn't have to give us all of our earthly blessings such as family, friends, house, and material possessions, etc. All of those things are reasons to give thanks and there are so many more!
When we come to God in prayer, the first words that should be spoken are words of gratitude and thanks. We worship God when we do so and oh, does He love to be worshipped! We should all begin to thank God more often. Maybe dedicate a day to only give thanks. What really helps would be to make a list of things you're thankful for. On the day that you decide to just give thanks, set apart a time in the morning to just sit and pray and write down everything you're thankful for. Write down everything, no matter how little it may be! That little, petty thing is important in the eyes of God and something worth giving thanks for. Let's stop asking so much and begin giving thanks more often. :)
"You are my God and I will give you thanks; you are my God and I will exalt You.
Give thanks to the Lord for He is good; His love endures forever." Psalms 118: 28-29
Do you give thanks as often as you think you should? What are other important things to be grateful for? In what ways do you give thanks? Are you up to selecting one day to just give thanks?
I can't wait to hear your thoughts! :)