Every Day is a Thanksgiving Day
Pastor Thian Chye encourages us to take time to give thanks for what we have and even for what we do not have.
A week ago on 25th November, Americans celebrated their annual Thanksgiving Day. Regardless of their religion, many gathered with family around the table to enjoy a well-spread feast. Thanksgiving is also a time where people also take the opportunity to spend quality time with family and express their gratitude to one another.
What about us as Christians? Do we give thanks to our God? If yes, how often? What compels you to give thanks to God or what are the things you give thanks for?
Why is giving thanks important?
Simply put, thanksgiving is an expression of our response to God's goodness and grace with a heartfelt gratitude. We are saved by God’s grace and called from darkness into His marvellous light and are given mercy to live each day. Though many of us may not celebrate Thanksgiving, it is good to reflect and ponder on how thankful we are as God’s children. At times, I’m guilty that my prayers consist mainly of needs, and desires, and confessions, but little of thanksgiving. We can learn as a church on how to live a life of thankfulness to God, one that overflows from our heart of gratefulness.
Paul wrote in 1 Thess 5:18: “give thanks in all circumstances; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you.” He also encourages us: “Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God.” (Phil 4:6)
Just from these two verses, thanksgiving is an important part of our prayer life. It says: give thanks in all circumstances—not some circumstances, but in all circumstances. There are two things we can give thanks to God for: (1) what we already have and (2) what we do not have.
When we give thanks for what we do not have or for those unanswered prayers, we are acknowledging God’s sovereignty in our life without question or doubt. It is how we express our continual trust in Him and it is good for us to come to Him in this way. When we give thanks for what we do have or for God’s answered prayers, we are acknowledging God’s provision and grace upon our life. Nothing that we have are the results of our works, but only by the grace of God. This spiritual discipline of constantly giving thanks to God in our prayer will remind us of God’s presence in our life, lest we forget the Lord. As Paul mentioned in the latter part of 1 Thess 5:18, thanksgiving enables us to live in obedience and in accordance with God's command.
How do we give thanks in prayer?
We come before God in prayer, with a heart of humility, expressing our gratitude and dependence on Him. Through thanksgiving in our prayers, we ought not to look at ourselves nor at our circumstances. At times, when we cannot bring ourselves to utter a word of thanks, we need to look towards God even in such difficult situations as Paul says “in all circumstances”.
What are some things we can give thanks for intentionally?
There are many things we can give thanks to God each day for providing us with all that we are, have and will be. Here are some things we can give thanks to God for:
- Who God is and His attributes
- The breath of life
- Salvation in Christ Jesus
- The indwelling Holy Spirit who is our Helper
- The forgiveness of sins
- The trials of life
- All the things that we have been richly blessed with and not forgetting to give thanks to God for the wonderful family here in Grace Baptist Church.
As you read this article, I would like to encourage you to pause now and spend some quiet moments with the Lord. Come before God and offer our thanksgivings unto Him. It is my prayer that as individuals and as a church we may live out a life of thankfulness and in every humble prayer unto Him!