Count the small things when showing gratitude
The Rev. James Taylor, pastor, Lawrence Heights Christian Church, 2321 Peterson Road:
"In everything give thanks; for this is God's will for you in Christ Jesus." (1 Thessalonians 5:18) In this passage, Paul lets us know that if we want to be in the will of God then we must give thanks to God.
So how can we give thanks to God through prayer? He woke you up this morning - give thanks. You have food to eat - give thanks. You have transportation - give thanks. You have a job - give thanks. You can walk - give thanks. He provides you air to breath - give thanks. You have clothes on your back - give thanks. You have a roof over your head - give thanks. Your parents raised you to know right from wrong - give thanks. You live in the greatest country in the world - give thanks. You live in a country that provides you freedom to worship God - give thanks. You have a family that loves you - give thanks. God provides for all your needs (and even some of your wants) - give thanks.
I could go on, but this will get you started on how to give thanks to God.
Philippians 4:6-7 reads: "Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God. And the peace of God, which surpasses all comprehension, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus."
Paul goes on to say that when we are in the will of God we will give thanks for every request we make. But he also says something will happen as a result of giving thanks. He says the supernatural peace of God, which is beyond our wildest comprehension, will stand guard over our hearts and our minds.
If we have the supernatural peace of God flowing through our hearts and minds, it becomes easier to give thanks because it is a natural outflow of being in the will of God.
- Send e-mail to James Taylor at email@example.com
Form not as important as true thankfulness
The Rev. Josh Longbottom, associate pastor, Plymouth Congregational Church, 925 Vt.:
You can pray thanks to God by folding your hands, or not, you can pray by standing, or not, and you can pray by using words, or not. As long as your heart is thankful to God, you are praying.
If you want to thank God, you have to truly be thankful. That's the rule that counts.
Personally, I call on God all the time to get me through one situation or another I am anxious about. When I am through the situation, I thank God by saying something like, "Gracious God, thank you." Then I smile at the sun or the moon or whatever I am looking at.
The form of the prayer doesn't seem particularly significant to me. What seems significant to me it taking the time to give thanks and making it memorable.
In a way, saying thanks in prayer is how I remind myself that I live in a state of grace. I think the real thanks comes, though, when I begin to consider the way I live my life in relation to the way that God would want me to live it.
The Scripture passage Micah 6:8 rings in my head, "What does the Lord require of you but to do justice, and to love kindness, and to walk humbly with your God?"
Living a life of justice, kindness and humility is what Abraham Heschel called praying with your feet. To truly thank God, we should take care of God's creation. Walk the walk, that's a prayer of thanks that God will really like.
- Send e-mail to Josh Longbottom at firstname.lastname@example.org