Praying with a heart of gratitude is one of the best ways to draw closer to God. Giving thanks to God for His goodness and provision is to be a continuing celebration for His people. “Give thanks to the Lord, for He is good; His love endures forever.” (1 Chron 16:34)
Many have a lot of trouble giving thanks; I think mostly because there is a sense of entitlement. I may have just made you question what I said, but bear with me. How often do we thank the Lord for the adversity we experience, the pain, or the loss? We want to thank the Lord for the good things, but don’t really know if we are thankful for what we see as bad. As Christians we have a tendency to plan out the good in ours and our loved ones’ lives. Then when something happens that we don’t see as “good”, we fret, we worry, we cry out to God, and we question His goodness and love. We don’t naturally stop and thank Him for our adversity.
We are owed nothing, and we deserve nothing. All of us are fallen sinners, all of us have our own personal foibles and faults. “We are made right with God by placing our faith in Jesus Christ. And this is true for everyone who believes, no matter who we are. For everyone has sinned; we all fall short of God’s glorious standard. Yet God, in His grace, freely makes us right in His sight. He did this through Christ Jesus when He freed us from the penalty for our sins.(Rom 3:22-24) It was an undeserved gift, grace and mercy showered down on us even though we deserve the wages of sin, death. His love for us is neverending: “The steadfast love of the Lord never ceases; His mercies never come to an end; they are new every morning; great is your faithfulness.” (Lam. 3:22-23)
“Every good thing given and every perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of lights, with whom there is no variation or shifting shadow.” (James 1:17) We can look about us, at every aspect of our lives and see those good and perfect gifts that God has given us. We have a roof over our heads despite not building it, we have food to eat despite not growing it. We have jobs and employment, a source of income. We have cars and bikes available to us for transportation while the majority of the world must walk. We have the chance for higher education, we have machines that wash our clothes and our dishes without us having to spend time. We have so very much in our lives to be thankful for. We are blessed! We are very blessed indeed!
Today I give thanks to the Lord for my recent illness, which caused me to slow down. While I was “down”, I was able to get some much-needed rest and reflect on what is really important. It was during this time that the Lord spoke to me about changes in behavior He wants me to make. “If then you have been raised with Christ, seek the things that are above, where Christ is, seated at the right hand of God. Set your minds on things that are above, not on things that are on earth.” (Col. 3:1-2) The truth is that I don’t always know what is “good”. While things might not look good to me, the Lord can use everything for His glory. “You intended to harm me, but God intended it for good” (Gen. 50:20)
What might happen if we let God define “good”, and earnestly thank Him for it? “Give thanks to the Lord, for He is good; His love endures forever.” (1 Chron 16:34) While giving our Lord thanks, sing His praises with the following song: