All praise to God, the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us with every spiritual blessing in the heavenly realms because we are united with Christ. Even before he made the world, God loved us and chose us in Christ to be holy and without fault in his eyes. God decided in advance to adopt us into his own family by bringing us to himself through Jesus Christ. This is what he wanted to do, and it gave him great pleasure. So we praise God for the glorious grace he has poured out on us who belong to his dear Son. He is so rich in kindness and grace that he purchased our freedom with the blood of his Son and forgave our sins. He has showered his kindness on us, along with all wisdom and understanding. Ephesians 1:3-8
For all who are led by the Spirit of God are children of God. So you have not received a spirit that makes you fearful slaves. Instead, you received God’s Spirit when he adopted you as his own children. Now we call him, “Abba, Father.” Romans 8:14-15
God is our Father! We come to him in prayer as His children. Our communication with Him is relational.
When you’re a parent, you know that most of the time your children come to you when they need something or have a problem.
- They want something to eat when they are hungry.
- They want empathy and a listening ear when they are troubled or struggling.
- They ask for a certain pair of shoes, or toys, or tech they want.
- They want to use the bicycle or motorbike when they get older.
- They ask for help with a school project.
While asking for things comes easy, it seems rarer for most children and even many adults to offer thanks on their own initiative. Many cultures seldom express thanks. It takes discipline to learn to be thankful. Luke shares an interesting story from Jesus’ life in Luke 17:11-19 about ten lepers who were cleansed.
While Jesus was on the way to Jerusalem, He was passing [along the border] between Samaria and Galilee. As He entered a village, He was met by ten lepers who stood at a distance; and they raised their voices and called out, “Jesus, Master, have mercy on us!” When He saw them, He said to them, “Go and show yourselves to the priests.” And as they went, they were [miraculously] healed and made clean. One of them, when he saw that he was healed, turned back, glorifying and praising and honoring God with a loud voice; and he lay face downward at Jesus’ feet, thanking Him [over and over]. He was a Samaritan. Then Jesus asked, “Were not ten [of you] cleansed? Where are the [other] nine? Was there no one found to return and to give thanks and praise to God, except this foreigner?” Jesus said to him, “Get up and go [on your way]. Your faith [your personal trust in Me and your confidence in God’s power] has restored you to health.”
Jesus heals ten people of their disease and yet nine out of ten didn’t bother to come back and thank Him. Only one man returns and thanks Jesus over and over again. This man receives more than just healing–Jesus actually makes him well and restores him to full health.
The word in the original language that is translated “well” actually means “whole.” Nine were healed but only one was made whole.
Something happens in us when we are thankful. It also impacts the relationship with the one to whom we offer thanks. The writer of Psalm 50:23 heard God speak about this: “He who sacrifices thank offerings honors me, and he prepares the way so that I may show him the salvation of God.”
In Psalm 100:4 we are reminded to “enter His gates with thanksgiving.”
Enter His gates with a song of thanksgiving
And His courts with praise.
Be thankful to Him, bless and praise His name.
This is how the psalmist pictures worship at the temple. Pilgrims first passed through the gates to enter the courtyard which held the water for cleansing and the alter for sacrifice. The psalmist pictured this as a first step of moving into prayer and worship.
Our thanksgiving to God is powerful.
“Father, thank you….”
“Heavenly Father, I so appreciate you because….”
“Our Father, we are so blessed….”
“Abba, I love it when you….”
God loves to hear from you. He loves to hear the gratefulness of our hearts.
What the Bible Says about Being Thankful
Devote yourselves to prayer, being watchful and thankful.” – Colossians 4:2
You will be enriched in every way so that you can be generous on every occasion, and through us your generosity will result in thanksgiving to God. – 2 Corinthians 9:11
I give thanks to you, O Lord my God, with my whole heart, and I will glorify your name forever. – Psalm 86:12
Praise the Lord. Give thanks to the Lord, for he is good; his love endures forever. – Psalm 106:1
Oh give thanks to the LORD; call upon his name; make known his deeds among the peoples – 1 Chronicles 16:8
Give thanks in all circumstances; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you. – 1 Thessalonians 5:18
Examples of Thanksgiving prayer
“Our Father, we bring _______ before you today. Thank you for your tender mercies towards _______. Thank you for your promise to be close to the brokenhearted. Thank you for your power to heal and the many times we have seen you heal. We remember the blind man. We were so blessed when you healed _______. Our Father, we need you to do it again in ___________ life.”
“Our Father, thank you for your love towards the _______ people group. Thank you for revealing your heart towards the lost. Father, we so appreciate that all people are precious to you and that you are willing to leave 99 to search for one that is lost. Oh Father, we want to be like you with the same love for them. Please increase our love.“
“Heavenly Father, thank you for your love towards me. Thank you that your mercies are new every morning. Thank you that you have forgiven my sins. Thank you for your patience and kindness that you have shown me. I humbly ask you to teach me your ways. Teach me to love like you love, to speak as you speak, and to embrace others like you would have me do. I am thankful that your love is living and active in me.”
Thankfulness is not an attempt to flatter God so that He does something for us. Our thanksgiving prayers flow from a heart that recognizes His goodness in our lives and His amazing character. It takes discipline, and helps us to remain in a posture of humility, adoration and thankfulness for all that God has done.
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