“This, then, is how you should pray:
“‘Our Father in heaven,
hallowed be your name,
your kingdom come,
your will be done,
on earth as it is in heaven.
Give us today our daily bread.
And forgive us our debts,
as we also have forgiven our debtors.
And lead us not into temptation,
but deliver us from the evil one.
Shout for joy to the LORD, all the earth.
Worship the LORD with gladness;
come before him with joyful songs.
Know that the LORD is God.
It is he who made us, and we are his;
we are his people, the sheep of his pasture.
Enter his gates with thanksgiving
and his courts with praise;
give thanks to him and praise his name.
For the LORD is good and his love endures forever; his faithfulness continues through all generations.
So far, we have looked at the first two parts of prayer: adoration and confession. Today we will focus on the third part of prayer: thanksgiving. In adoration, we are appreciating who God is Himself. In thanksgiving, we are appreciating God for what He has done. The focus on this part of prayer is God’s provision.
“When we truly understand the rescue that God has performed in snatching us from the guilt and condemnation of our sin, then we will realize that the fundamental motive of Christian living is THANKSGIVING” (G. Ogden). One of the signs of surrendering to the Spirit, says Paul, is “always giving thanks to God the Father for everything, in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ” (Ephesians 5:20).
In this age of lust and greed, we so easily lose our sense of gratitude and forget the good things the Lord has done for us. Thanksgiving is the cultivation of a memory. It is prayerfully listing the good that is in our lives. If you are a child of God, the world can fall apart around you, but you can always be thankful for your salvation and your permanent standing in the kingdom of God. Thanksgiving is the position of your heart as you approach God.
One of my favorite worship songs from a few years ago is Give Thanks by Don Moen. The chorus of this song goes like this: “Give thanks with a grateful heart. Give thanks to the Holy One. Give thanks because He’s given Jesus Christ, His Son.” Even when life is tough, I can sing this chorus with joy in my heart because of what God has done for me through His Son, Jesus Christ!
Questions to Ponder:
What is keeping you from approaching God with a thankful heart? Are you able to focus on God’s provisions (spiritual, physical and emotional)? Make a list of all the things you are thankful for today! Which one of these things will you thank God for today? What is the condition of your heart as you approach God in prayer?
- Thank the Lord for His redeeming love. Worship Him as Your Merciful Maker. Ponder the reality that He who knows the stars by name knows You intimately and is madly in love with you just as you are.
- Thank Him for giving you a new birth. Thank Him for the Indwelling Spirit that grants you power and enables You.
- Thank Him for giving you the ability to read this prayer right now, and that we can go directly to Him, the Author and Finisher of our faith. Thank Him that you are hidden in Christ in heavenly places. Thank Him for our beloved church family and our leaders and friends in our midst.
I enter Your courts with thanksgiving and praise, oh God Almighty. Thank You for loving and leading me so perfectly. Thank You for being my Constant Companion. Oh Lord, I confess I often don’t have a heart of gratitude but often have a heart of grumbling. Abba, forgive me and infill me with Your Holy Spirit. Touch my heart and mind and flood me with thanksgiving. I need Your help to meditate on things that are good and praiseworthy. Even now, Papa, set my gaze on You, for when my eyes, heart and ears are on You it changes everything. Captivate my heart and mind. Come and minister Your love in and over me to be overflowing onto others, LORD. Cause me to burn for You and overflow with gratitude to You and those around me. Give me a song to sing back to You throughout the day. I ask in the name of Your Son Jesus Christ. Amen.