A Pattern of Thankfulness
Have you ever felt gratitude was just out of reach? Maybe you can give thanks, but that’s not quite the same as feeling thankful. There are a number of reasons we can find ourselves in this space. We overbook our schedule and become too busy to create pauses in our day to express gratitude. We let outside stresses from work or school creep in to overtake our thoughts. Maybe there is an unexpected diagnosis or death that has consumed our thoughts. Whatever it may be, we can turn to the holy scriptures and ask the Holy Spirit to reshape and reorient our hearts and minds to a state of thankfulness.
The Psalms shaped saints into thankful people by guiding them through a pattern of:
- Remembering reasons to thank God
- Expressing thanks to God
- Feeling thankful to the Lord
A holy calendar, including weekly worship and annual commemorative feasts, walked the Israelites through this pattern on a schedule. Notice the wisdom of Israel’s calendar. Over time, gratitude should flourish where reasons for being grateful have been planted– as we give the appropriate thanks.
If you don’t feel grateful, it’s ok. God’s mighty deeds come first. The Lord saves his people and then we tell him thanks.
WEEKLY PRAYER PROMPTS
Choose a time and day of the week for the next four weeks to focus and pray.
God is faithful to keep his promises
Read Psalm 105:1-3
This month, recount the stories from Scripture to remember the Lord’s reputation for faithfulness and loyal love and give thanks.
- The whole psalm tells the story from Joseph through the Exodus from slavery. Thank the Lord for keeping his promises and rescuing his people.
- Think of a song that tells a part of the story of God’s people. Sing it in God’s presence.
- Rejoice in God, who is near to you now.
The Lord has rescued you
Read Psalm 107:1-9
This psalm tells how the Lord has rescued people from different kinds of problems. Your personal story is a reason to thank the LORD for his loyal love and wondrous works in your life.
- Remember your story. Thank the Lord for how he has and is saving you.
- Your story brings honor to Jesus when you share it. Ask the Lord to give you that opportunity this week.
God is making his way known to all nations
Read all of Psalm 67
This psalm prays that all nations would “praise” or “give thanks to” the Lord. It starts with people experiencing the Lord’s rescue.
- Pray the Lord would bring people from all nations into his family.
- Ask the Holy Spirit to do mighty things within our congregation that would lead more and more people to give thanks to the Lord.
- Thank the Lord for how he provides for us through creation.
Let thankfulness become the overflow of our faith
Read Colossians 2:6-7
Thanksgiving isn’t optional for Christians. We are like plants, rooted in and drawing life from Jesus. As we receive from Jesus, we have a gift to share with others. We return thanks to the Lord, as do people who receive the gift from us. The wide-ranging effects of people following Jesus should be thanksgiving from all directions.
- Spend some time reflecting on the story of Jesus: the Father sent his Son in love to fulfill so many promises; Jesus became one of us, taught and modeled how to live, and died for our sins as our substitute; Jesus rose from the dead and took his seat as Lord and Christ, poured out the Holy Spirit on all his disciples, and will return as Judge.
- Remember how you heard and responded to the story of Jesus. Express your thanks to the Lord as feelings and thoughts well up within you.