Thankfulness is a feeling of appreciation for favors or blessings, especially from God. About gratitude, God inspired these instructions: “Don’t worry about anything but pray about everything. With thankful hearts, offer up your prayers and requests to God. Then, because you belong to Christ Jesus, God will bless you with peace that no one can completely understand. And this peace will control the way you think and feel,” Philippians 4:6-7, CEV.
In the world around us, people always seem to want more. But a spirit of gratitude while praying produces peacefulness and contentment. Thankfulness orients our minds to what we do have and promotes satisfaction.
At one point, Herbert Armstrong, who led a powerful work of the Church of God in the twentieth century, said that the majority of his prayers were of thanksgiving to God. He felt it was vitally important to give thanks to God on a daily basis.
But what is it important to be thankful for?
First of all, be grateful for weekly Sabbath services and the annual Holy Days, in person or live-streamed. Being able to see our teachers keeps us connected as one body.
Be thankful for access to God the Father through Christ’s sacrifice. Being in God’s Church is a privilege, one that few people have been given in this age. Likewise, never fail to be thankful and pray for the hardworking ministry.
Give thanks for those who pray for you. Asking for prayers is like asking someone to help you with a major project. The more hands that are involved, the better it goes. It’s very humbling to know God hears and answers.
What about basic necessities? A bed to sleep in, a roof over our heads, food, clothing, etc. Anything over and above that is gravy. To that end, be thankful for a simple way of life. Years ago, a theme of the church was to “simplify your life.” Being 100% busy all the time displaces time for prayer, study, meditation, and showing gratitude to God. So work to simplify, be less hectic, and prioritize developing a right relationship with God.
How do we make godly gratitude a daily habit?
As soon as you become aware that you’ve received a blessing from God, no matter how big or small, say a quick mental “Thank you, Father!” Always thank others for what they do for you. Repetition builds the thankful habit.
Also, keep a “Thanks List.” Write down God’s blessings in order to remember what He has done for you, for your family, and for the church. This is a great source of encouragement and food for meditation.
Most importantly, ask God in prayer for a thankful heart and a spirit of gratitude. Physical life is temporary. Don’t neglect to develop the trait of thankfulness. Be less absorbed by daily life and remember to be show thanks to God and others. Above all, we owe God our Father an enormous debt of gratitude for this calling and the gift of eternal life!
By Ray Perez