Step Three: "Give Thanks To The Lord"
"Enter his gates with thanksgiving."
Thanksgiving naturally follows confession and forgiveness! We did not put it in
third place right next to worship lest we be tempted to think that worship and
thanksgiving are the same thing. They are not. Thanksgiving is a distinct act of
the will. It recognizes the hand of God and is thankful. It chooses to give God
credit for what he has done, and what he has promised, while worship praises God
for who He is.
In Everything Give Thanks
Thanks giving is to be as much a part of the believers life as breathing. We
are exhorted to live in thankfulness to God, and to exalt him with continual
expressions of thanks regardless of our present circumstances.
"In everything give thanks for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus concerning you."
(2 Thessalonians 5:18)
In prayer we are exhorted to give thanks profusely for the goodness of the Lord,
for all his benefits, for his mercies, for his faithfulness, for his steadfast
love, for loads of blessings. Psalm 100 is an excellent guide for entering the
presence of God. "Enter his gates with thanksgiving and into his courts with
praise: Be thankful unto him, and bless His name." Unthankfulness, and silence
curses God’s name. It brings shame.
It was Israel's ingratitude of heart, the murmuring, the complaining, the
grumbling, that brought on the wrath of God. It was not that God had not
blessed. He had over and over again! It is that men soon forget the goodness
of the Lord. We are quick to forget his answers to our prayers, His mercies in
our troubles, His healings when we are sick, His forgiveness when we fail, His
provisions in our need. Well did the psalmist groan in Psalm 107 "O Give thanks
unto the Lord, for He is good...Oh, that men would praise the Lord for his
goodness, and for his wonderful works to the children of men!"
The Psalms are filled with expressions of thanks to God on every side. Oh, may
our lives, our lips, be continual psalms of thanksgiving! The apostle Paul
commands the same principle in the New Testament, regardless of the
circumstances we are to be thankful and think on the good things the Lord has
done. "Be anxious for nothing but in everything by prayer and supplication, with
thanksgiving, let your requests be made known unto God. And the peace of God
which passes all understanding shall keep you hearts and minds through Christ
Jesus." (Philippians 4:6-7)
Good Mental Health
Good mental health begins with a thankful attitude of heart. "A merry heart
does good like medicine...He that has a merry heart has a continual feast."
(Proverbs 15:13 / 17:22) Depression and discouragement is the inability to see
the goodness of God around you. David frequently expressed his depression, "I
had fainted unless I had believed to see the goodness of God in the land of the
living." (Psalm 27:13) The eyes of faith see the goodness of God even in the
midst of adversity. God’s purposes, plans, and provisions are always good!
Remember, He is working it out. Be thankful while He works it out. (Romans 8:28
and Jeremiah 29:11)
Forget Not All His Benefits
Forgetfulness of God's multiplied blessings is sin. Forgetting or neglecting to
give Him thanks is the sin of ingratitude - at least it is taking God for
granted. D.L. Moody in commenting on Psalm 103 said, "I can't remember all his
benefits and blessings, but I dare not forget all of them either." Thanksgiving
is remembering God's good gifts and giving Him the credit due his name.
Thanksgiving Is a Sacrifice to God
- Psalm 103:2-5 "Bless the Lord, O my soul, and forget not all his benefits: Who forgives all your iniquities; who heals all your diseases; who redeems your life from destruction; who crowns you with lovingkindness and tender mercies; who satisfies your mouth with good things; so that your youth is renewed like the eagle's."
- Psalm 68:19 "Blessed be the Lord, who daily loads us with benefits..."
- James 1:17 "Every good gift and every perfect gift comes down from the Father of lights, with whom is no variableness, neither shadow of turning."
Hebrews 13:15 points out that thanksgiving is a sacrifice to God. "A sacrifice of
our lips", that is to be offered up to God continually. Thanksgiving is not
easy. It is tough to be thankful and express thanks from the heart for
everything. Wouldn't prayer be wonderfully transformed if we would offer 10
sacrifices of thanksgiving for every request we make of God.
- Thank God for His Creation, your own body (Psalm 139:14)
- Thank God for His provisions. For everything you have. List each thing for which you are thankful.
- Thank God for people He has put into your life. Name them by name and what you are thankful for.
- Thank God for little things. Start with the smallest things you can think of for which you are thankful. From there work toward the bigger things he has done. Never start with the big lest you despise the small. Do not despise the day of small things.
- Thank God for hard things. "In everything give thanks...for this is the will of God..." Thank God for the trials and adversities that come to make us strong. They are what make us lean on Him. So thank Him!
- Thank God for everything. Keep a notebook handy in which you write down your thanksgiving list. It helps!
Use these Psalms to guide your thanksgiving. Pray the Psalms. Mark them as "Thanksgiving" in your Bible:
Psalm 103; 104; 105; 107; 111; 118; 124; 126; 136; 139
"Enter his gates with thanksgiving and into his courts with praise. Be
thankful unto him and bless his holy name." Psalm 100.
Now it is time to celebrate His specific acts, mercies, faithfulness, kindness, benefits, blessings, answers to prayer, and goodness of God.
- General Thanks for all His creation and blessings.
- Specific Thanks for blessings and benefits to you.
- Tearful Thanks for all things - the good, the bad, and the ugly.
Practical Disciplines Workbook
Thank God for Past, Present, Future
- Thank God for 5 – Past Answered Prayers and Blessings
- Thank God for 5 – Pleasant Circumstances & Blessings
- Thank God for 5 – Bad Things That Have Happened
- Thank God for 5 – Promises of What Will Happen
"Faith is seeing what is not yet visible to the rest,
but what God has already promised."
Copyright 1992. All rights reserved. No portion of this
may be copied, filed, or republished in any form without the express written consent of the author
Richard W. LaFountain. It may be used in the church context for prayer training as long as
the copyright and web address remains printed thereon.