Perking Up Our Prayers-Through Thankfulness

We now know that adoration and confession make our prayers more effective and richer.  Let’s turn our thoughts to thankfulness as a means to fortify our prayer lives.  So often the grace of thankfulness is neglected in our lives.  Sadly, thankfulness has almost disappeared from common society.  How long has it been since you sent or received a thank you card?  How often are we drawing attention to the good deeds of others? Isn’t it amazing how something that is simple to do is left out of our daily conversations?
Neglecting thankfulness is present most often when it comes to thanking the Lord for all he has done for us.  God has done so much so often that it is easy for us to take it for granted or worse yet come to think we deserve His benevolence without any acknowledgement from us.  The old gospel song that calls for us to count our blessings is still good advice today.

Count your blessings, name them one by one,
Count your blessings, see what God has done!
Count your blessings, name them one by one,
And it will surprise you what God has done.
John Oatman Jr.

It is surprising to see everything that God is doing for us every day.  We could never exhaust the list of deeds that God is doing for us or on our behalf.  Perhaps that is why it is so easy to overlook thanking Him.  Paul reminded us that it is in God that “we live, move and have our being” (Acts 17:28).  The Psalms remind us to “Bless our God, O peoples; let the sound of his praise be heard, who has kept our soul among the living and has not let our feet slip” (Psalm 66:8-9).  God’s abundant providence is certainly something easily seen and worthy of our thanksgiving.  The songs on our lips should be filled with gratitude and hymns of thankfulness.

“And let them offer sacrifices of thanksgiving, and tell of his deeds in songs of joy!” (Psalm 107:22)

The enemy of thankfulness is selfishness.  People who focus too much upon themselves are seldom thankful.  You will not often hear them thanking others let alone the Father in heaven.  Selfishness is a twin brother to pride.  Pride will cause us to take credit for those things God has done for us.  God’s view of the haughty and prideful is wrathful (Proverbs 16:18; Isaiah 16:6).  Those who build themselves up in their own mind will be brought low by God’s own judgment (Jeremiah 49:16).  Ingratitude leads us down a dangerous road of self-destruction and wrath-filled judgment (Obadiah 1:3).
Cultivating the attitude of gratitude will enrich your world.  It opens your heart to more blessings and grace.  It is only natural that we enjoy doing good deeds for those who appreciate them.  God wants to bless us if we will be thankful.  (Malachi 3:10).
Try making a list of the good things God has done for you today, list the people who God has put in your life, list the blessings of nature you enjoy.  It won’t take long to have a list longer than you can write.  Now look at the spiritual blessings God has granted to those who live according to His precepts. Paul teaches us that we have all spiritual blessings when we are in Christ (Ephesians 1:3). Paul lists a few in Ephesians: Chosen in Him, Predestined for adoption as sons, Blessed us, Redemption, Forgiveness of our trespasses, Uniting us with Him, Obtained an Inheritance, have hope, heard the good news, sealed with the Holy Spirit of promise. This is an abbreviated list just from the first chapter of Ephesians.
Just as we saw that speaking the attributes of God so we hear them and come to appreciate Him more, this is true of thankfulness.  Your heart will swell as you see the graciousness and steadfast love of God.
Here is a simple devotional list for you to ponder as you develop your thanksgiving nature in prayer.  Let me encourage you to make your own and meditate upon it.

  • “How precious is your steadfast love, O God! The children of mankind take refuge in the shadow of your wings” (Psa 36:7)
  • “See what kind of love the Father has given to us, that we should be called children of God; and so we are. The reason why the world does not know us is that it did not know him” (1Jn 3:1)
  • “In this the love of God was made manifest among us, that God sent his only Son into the world, so that we might live through him. In this is love, not that we have loved God but that he loved us and sent his Son to be the propitiation for our sins” (1Jn 4:9-10)
  • “They shall pour forth the fame of your abundant goodness and shall sing aloud of your righteousness. The LORD is gracious and merciful, slow to anger and abounding in steadfast love. The LORD is good to all, and his mercy is over all that he has made. All your works shall give thanks to you, O LORD, and all your saints shall bless you!” (Psa 145:7-10)
  • “For God so loved the world, that he gave his only Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life” (Joh 3:16)
  • “by which he has granted to us his precious and very great promises, so that through them you may become partakers of the divine nature, having escaped from the corruption that is in the world because of sinful desire” (2Pe 1:4)
Joseph D. Chase
Missionary to Jamaica
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