We are currently working through R.A. Torrey’s book “How to Pray,” published by Whitaker House Publishing.
When we are talking about prayer, praying with thanksgiving must come up at some point, but just how important is thanksgiving to your prayer life? This week Pastor Brad, Pastor Gavin and myself look into God’s Word to see what He says about praying with thanksgiving.
Philippians 4:6-7 — Be careful for nothing; but in every thing by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known unto God. And the peace of God, which passeth all understanding, shall keep your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus.
It is extremely apparent, that there is a definite need for Christians to be thankful. Just running a few word searches through the King James Bible and you will see that the words thanksgiving, thankful, and thanks are mentioned in 105 verses. Some of my personal favorites are: 1 Chronicles 16:34 — O give thanks unto the LORD; for He is good; for His mercy endureth for ever. Ezra 3:11 — And they sang together by course in praising and giving thanks unto the LORD; because He is good, for His mercy endureth for ever toward Israel. And all the people shouted with a great shout, when they praised the LORD, because the foundation of the house of the LORD was laid. (I am looking forward to being in the number that is shouting when we see the foundation laid in our new facility!) Psalms 35:18 — I will give thee thanks in the great congregation: I will praise thee among much people. Psalms 100:4 — Enter into His gates with thanksgiving, and into His courts with praise: be thankful unto Him, and bless His name. Ephesians 5:20 — Giving thanks always for all things unto God and the Father in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ; Colossians 3:17 — And whatsoever ye do in word or deed, do all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God and the Father by Him.
So why is it that we need to give thanks unto God when we are praying? There are a couple of different viewpoints that we discussed this morning, here are a couple of them:
Tradition has taught us that if we are not thankful enough, then God doesn’t move on our behalf. Is that true? Luke 17:12-19 — And as He entered into a certain village, there met Him ten men that were lepers, which stood afar off. 13) And they lifted up their voices, and said, Jesus, Master, have mercy on us. 14) And when He saw them, He said unto them, Go shew yourselves unto the priests. And it came to pass, that, as they went, they were cleansed. 15) And one of them, when he saw that he was healed, turned back, and with a loud voice glorified God. 16) And fell down on his face at His feet, giving Him thanks: and he was a Samaritan. 17) And Jesus answering said, Were there not ten cleansed? but where are the nine? 18) There are not found that returned to give glory to God, save this stranger. 19) And He said unto him, Arise, go thy way: thy faith hath made thee whole. The scriptures don’t tell us anything about the nine that didn’t stop and give thanks to God for their healing, but on the flip side, the scriptures don’t say anything about them not getting their healing. In fact, in verse 14 it specifically said that as they went, they were cleansed. Now, the point can be debated as to the difference between being cleansed of leprosy and being made whole, but the fact here is that while there was only one of the ten that stopped and gave thanks, all ten were cleansed from their leprosy.
It is not about us! It has to be all about Him! Should we be thankful or grateful? –YES!– but not just because He answers us when we reach a certain level of thanksgiving. A mindset such as that puts the source of our needs being met “in” our thanksgiving and not “in” God, it actually replaces God with our own thanksgiving. When we are giving thanks to God for what He has done, we are rehearsing to ourselves the Workings of God that we have been witness too. Sound familiar? Romans 10:17 — So then faith cometh by hearing, and hearing by the Word of God. What are you doing when you are giving thanks to God? Building your faith!
For me, 2 Corinthians 9:7 — Every man according as he purposeth in his heart, so let him give, not grudgingly, or of necessity: for God loveth a cheerful giver. Giving thanks shouldn’t be something that we do grudgingly, nor should it be done because of necessity. That reminds me of when a small child is reprimanded by their parents and made to say thank you to someone. Our thanksgiving shouldn’t come from our heads but from our hearts. We give thanks because of the opportunity we have to show the world the goodness of God!
So, yes, we need to pray with thanksgiving, but we need to make sure that our focus is on God and not on ourselves. Would you invest some time right now and do nothing but give God thanks for all that He has done in your life, rehearse them out loud so that your faith is being built and so that your life might bring Glory to God!
If you have any favorite verses that deal with thanksgiving, I would really enjoy it if you would let me know in the comment box below what they were. We love you, and pray (with thanksgiving) that God continues to bless you and your families!
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