Rejoice always, pray without ceasing, give thanks in all circumstances; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you. (1 Thessalonians 5:16-18 ESV)
Much like the little girl in the above video, as a child, I learned to pray through giving thanks. I thanked God for everything from friends to grapefruit. Most children pray in this way. Giving thanks seems to come naturally. We learn early on that when you want to pray to God, you give thanks. Children are quick to pick up on the idea that every blessing is from God and therefore you should thank Him for each and every one.
Unfortunately, something happens to our prayers as we mature and learn to express different forms of prayers. Thanksgiving fades to the back and requests and supplication take front and center of our prayers. Now it is good and right to bring our requests to God, in fact, it’s commanded, but there is something about coming to the Lord first in a spirit of thanksgiving. Doing so positions your mind and heart into the right posture. It helps to put our requests into a proper perspective. On one hand, thanksgiving tempers the selfishness of ungrateful prayers, and on the other hand, it bolsters and brings confidence to timid and hesitant prayers.
That is why Paul says to the Philippians “do not be anxious about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God.” (Philippians 4:6 ESV)
This Thanksgiving season, spend some time thinking about your own prayer life. Have you allowed thanksgiving prayers to fall by the way side? Where do you tend to spend the most time? Is it in thanking God for his many blessings or do you jump right into what you need for Him to do.
When we stop to assess all that God has done, we should have no problem finding reasons to be thankful. Let’s regain some of that childlike faith and understanding of just how good our God is to his people.
Author: Rev. Wes Andrews