God listens to our prayers and he has our well-being always at heart.

Thanksgiving is the beginning of all prayer. Our lives, each day we have been given, our family, our friends, and all of the talents we have are pure gifts from God. His generosity is overflowing to us in many ways. But how often do we begin with this attitude of gratitude? How ready are we to give thanks, as opposed to how readily we storm the heavens for favors to our many petitions?

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Truth be told, gratitude is a product of the wisdom of humility. We often get caught up in the big things that are going on in our lives or in the world and we lose sight of the small things. The simple irony is that once we develop the habit of thanksgiving, of counting the blessings in our daily lives, we often find that we have a great deal to be thankful for daily, even in those days that have their share of problems.

The scriptures are full of passages about gratitude. Just making time to read and meditate on these passages can turn our temporary negative attitudes around, and can give us some small beam of light in the darkness of a particular situation. Just knowing that God listens to our prayers and that he has our well-being always at heart, ought to give rise to gratitude in us. If you want to find a great resource for prayers of praise and gratitude, go to the Book of Psalms. It is full of them.

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The New Testament is full of examples as well. Colossians 4:2 addresses the attitude that we can and ought to bring to our daily prayer lives. “Devote yourselves to prayer, being watchful and thankful”. The habit of prayer itself can be a reason for thanksgiving. 2 Cor. 9:11, “You are being enriched in every way so that you can be generous on every occasion, and through us your generosity will result in thanksgiving to God”. This also points to that form of prayer that we do on our feet, rather than on our knees, that takes the form of service to others. In other words, we give thanks to God by serving others out of a grateful recognition of the many gifts and talents He has given to us and our recognition of their need. The psalmist tells us in Ps. 106:1, “Praise the Lord. Give thanks to the Lord, for he is good; his love endures forever. Yes. It is so. God’s love for us is infinite, eternal and he shows us his love in small things as well as the great, in good times and in bad.

What greater thing do we have to give thanks for than the incarnation, death and resurrection of Jesus Christ. In him we have every reason to live lives of humble and joyful gratitude daily. Yes, even in times of suffering we can give thanks to God for the graces of strength, endurance and faith that he gives us whether that is our own suffering, or in our compassionate responses to suffering of others. The Apostle Paul tells points to this attitude of gratitude when he writes, “Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly, teaching and admonishing one another in all wisdom, singing psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, with thankfulness in your hearts to God” (Col. 3: 16).

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Let me end with just three more passages on the concept of thanksgiving. 1 Thess. 5:18, “Give thanks in all circumstances; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you”. In all circumstances! To develop this level of gratitude would be a great grace, indeed. Phil. 4:6, “Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God. And finally, let Paul’s words to the Colossians, chapter 3, verse 17 speak to your heart: “And whatever you do, in word or deed, do everything in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through him”. If we make this attitude of thanksgiving our habit, we will begin to know the peace and the happiness the Lord made us for, now, and forever in his kingdom.

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