Rejoice always, pray without ceasing in everything give thanks. (I Thessalonians 5:16-18)

“Enter into His gates with Thanksgiving and into His courts with praise.  Be thankful to Him and bless His Name.” (Psalm 100:4)

“Oh give thanks to the Lord, for He is good!  For His mercy endures forever.” (Psalm 136:1)

Father, you are the Lord of Life,

You are the God who gives me life, from my first breath to my last.  You surround me with many blessings.  You have given me all I need and much more than I ever deserve.  You not only meet my needs but you also expand my health that I can receive even more from you – more love, more peace,  and a whole bunch of joy!  Amen

A THANKFUL ATTITUDE opens windows of heaven.  Spiritual blessings fall freely onto you through those openings into eternity.  Moreover, as you look up with a grateful heart, you get glimpses of Glory through those windows.

You cannot yet live in heaven, but you can experience foretastes of your ultimate home.  Such samples of heavenly fare revive your hope.  Thankfulness opens you up to these experiences, which then provide further reasons to be grateful.  Thus, your path becomes an upward spiral:  ever increasing in gladness.

Thankfulness is not some sort of magic formula; it is the language of Love, which enables you to communicate intimately with HIM.  A thankful mind-set does not entail a denial of reality with  its plethora of problems.  Instead, it rejoices in Me, your Savior, in the midst of trials and tribulations.  I am your refuge and strength, an ever-present and well-proved help in trouble.

  • Though the fig tree does not bud and there are no grapes on the vines, though the olive crop fails and the fields produce no food, though there are no sheep in the pen and no cattle in the stalls, yet I will rejoice in the Lord, I will be joyful in God my Savior.  (Habakkuk 3:17)
  • God is our Refuge and Strength {mighty and impenetrable to temptation}, a very present and well-proved help in trouble.  (Psalm 46:1)

THANKFULNESS takes the sting out of adversity.  That is why He has instructed you to give thanks for everything. There is an element of mystery in this transaction:  You give Me thanks (regardless of your feelings), and I give you Joy (regardless of your circumstances).  This is a spiritual act of obedience—at times, blind obedience.  To people who don’t know Him intimately, it can seem irrational and even impossible to thank Him for heartrending hardships.  Nonetheless, those who obey Him in this way are invariably blessed, even though difficulties may remain.

Thankfulness opens your heart to His Presence and your mind to His thoughts.  You may still be in the same place, with the same set of circumstances, but it is as if a light has been switched on, enabling you to see from His perspective.  It is this LIGHT OF MY PRESENCE that removes the sting from adversity.

  • Always giving thanks to God the Father for everything, in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ.  (Ephesians 5:20)
  • Give thanks to the LORD, for He is good;  His love endures forever.  (Psalm 118:1)
  • Blessed are those who have learned to acclaim you, who walk in the light of your presence, O LORD.  (Psalm 89:15)

Personal Reflection

Prayer, especially honest prayer, brings us and God together; it allows our true selves to be loved by God.  But many do not view prayer as the “safe place” where we open up, let down our masks, and expose our real selves to God.  The challenge is to bring together who God really is and who we really are.  Because of our flawed images of God and our tendency to avoid vulnerability with God, most of us will need to work on both of these areas.

Take a couple of minutes to reflect on the following passages.  Consider what they mean in light of your unique circumstances and your personal prayer journey with God.

  • Pray continually, give thanks in all circumstances; for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus.  (I Thessalonians 5:17-18)
  • The LORD is a refuge for the oppressed, a stronghold in times of trouble.  Those who know your name trust in you, for you, LORD, have never forsaken those who seek you.  (Psalm 9:9-10)
  • To keep me from becoming conceited, I was given a thorn in my flesh, a messenger of Satan, to torment me.  Three times I pleaded with the Lord to take it away from me.  But he said to me “my grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.”  (II Corinthians 12:7-9)
  • If we confess our sins, {God} is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness.  (I John 1:9)
  • Let us then approach God’s throne of grace with confidence, so that we may receive mercy and find grace to help us in our time of need.  (Hebrews 4:16)
  • “Call to me and I will answer you and tell you great and unsearchable things you do not know.”  (Jeremiah 33:3)