Continuing on the journey of studying prayer, the Bible states repeatedly to pray with thanksgiving…always…in everything.
“Rejoice always, pray without ceasing, in everything give thanks; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you.” - 1 Th. 5:16-18
“giving thanks always for all things to God the Father in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ,” - Eph. 5:20
Kids are great at giving thanks in prayer. While praying, they think of every person they know and look around at everything they can physically see and thank God. It’s a simple truth that we so easily overlook – every good gift and perfect gift is from above (Jas. 1:17). The breath in our lungs, the warmth of the sun, our relationships, our heartbeat, the food in front of us, the shelter over our heads, our warm blankets, our salvation, the love of our heavenly Father, His Word, the Holy Spirit…the list goes on and on.
While being more purposeful about thanking God this past month, I had an awesome realization. When I stop to thank God, I am giving Him the glory. It’s so easy to take an answered prayer and, without even thinking, turn it into glory for ourselves vs. glorifying and giving credit to God who made it happen in the first place.
The story of the ten lepers in Luke 17:11-19 always reminds me of the importance of saying thank you. Ten lepers came to Jesus and asked for healing. Jesus healed all of them from an incurable, terminal illness! One of the ten lepers realized that he did not say thank you, so he ran back to Jesus and “with a loud voice glorified God, and fell down on his face at His feet, giving Him thanks”. Jesus healed him spiritually, in addition to the physical healing, because he remembered to say thank you. You see, God wants to bless us, and He wants to heal us spiritually. To be healed, we need to realize (and constantly remind ourselves) that it’s God who’s all-powerful, almighty, and all-knowing. He is the one capable of the incapable. He is God, and we are sinners. He formed us, He gives us our breath, our hearts beat because of Him, and any gift or abilities we have are because He prepared us with them to do His will. Thanksgiving puts us in that position of trust and humility that just doesn’t come naturally to us in our flesh and allows us to be healed spiritually. Regardless of the circumstances surrounding us at any given time, there are always many reasons to offer thanksgiving to our Lord!
There is another key we all need to grasp about offering thanksgiving in everything, at all times, and that’s during times of suffering, tests, and trials. Take the time to read Lezli’s blog: “A Year of Suffering” to immerse yourself there. It will bless you!