Thanksgiving: Just the word evokes an idealized family gathering where everyone is holding hands and in perfect health, with fully-funded bank accounts, blissful marriages, and children who are always cheerful and obedient. Now that's a far cry from reality isn't it?
No one's real Thanksgiving gathering looks like this. Yet we've somehow convinced ourselves that in order for unreserved thanksgiving to occur (no matter the time of year), this idealized picture must be present. We've bought into the lie that our ability to give thanks should be based on how close our life matches this perfect image. In Christian circles, 1 Thessalonians 5:18 is an often quoted Scripture, especially when we're giving thanks at Thanksgiving, or anytime we're trusting God through trials.
In everything give thanks; for this is God's will for you in Christ Jesus
1 Thessalonians 5:118
Prayer Tip #45 - Give Thanks In Everything
God commands us to give thanks in everything, but what if my circumstances are not ones to be thankful for?
Giving thanks with a grateful heart doesn't necessarily mean that that we're saying we believe the situation is perfect and that's why we're thankful. In fact, giving thanks doesn't even have to mean that we're happy about the situation or that we like it at all.
Thankfulness can simply be an offering of: hope and faith put into a promise yet to be fulfilled. It's a faith in believing God's truth that “all situations work together for those who love God and are called according to His purpose” (Romans 8:28). Thankfulness means that we can proclaim, it is well, and God is good, even when our circumstances are not.
Why can we give thanks in all circumstances?
Because of who God is - He is worthy of all of our praise and honor.
Because of what God has done - Every good and perfect gift is from Him. We can always thank Him for the blessings He has given to us.
Because in God we have hope and a future - God allows us to walk through some really hard things. But this life is not all that there is. In fact, we are to live for the life that is to come, not this one. As believers, He will wipe away every tear, and right every wrong!
Because God takes what the enemy means for evil, and uses it for good - God is able to bring good out of pain, suffering, and tears. God is able to work through everything that happens to us, to bring some good to us, even if that good is greater faith in Him.
Because God gives us the strength to do so - The Spirit can strengthen us to give thanks during hard times. It is the Lord who enables us to rejoice in difficult circumstances.
For all of these reasons, no matter what this past year has looked like for you, no matter what you are walking through right now, you CAN give thanks in everything!
Thank Him for the mountains … and thank Him for the valleys. He is worthy of all your thanks and praise!
Prayer Points - (Pray over these requests)
Thank God for the material blessings He gives you.
Thank God for the people He has placed in your life.
Thank God in the midst of your trial.
Thank God especially for your salvation through His Son.
Thank God for His presence in your life.
Suggested Prayer - (Pray these words in your heart or out loud):
You are worthy of all of the honor and praise! You have given us the gift of salvation, and You sustain us each and every day, providing us with the air in our lungs. Thank You for all of the blessings You have given us. Thank You for the roof over my head, a job to work at, and food on the table to eat. Thank You for the blessing of the people you have placed in my life. Thank You for my family and friends who I am able to do life with every day! Help me to praise You even during the difficult times! Thank You for taking evil and turning it into good. Most of all, I thank You for my salvation. I am so undeserving, yet You have given so freely. Thank You for loving me despite my sin and failures, and for adopting me into Your family. I could not make it through this life without Your presence and power. Lord, if I began to write a list of every blessing You have given me, I wouldn't be able to stop. Every good and perfect gift is from You! Help me to live in gratitude everyday for who You are, and what You have done!
In Jesus' Name, Amen