Prayer and Reflections

Keeping Thanksgiving

Rejoice always, pray without ceasing, in everything give thanks.
-1 Thessalonians 5:16

This verse doesn’t mean we have to be thankful for everything, but it is an expression of faith and trust in God, regardless of our circumstances.

Sandwiched between Halloween and Christmas, Thanksgiving has become an often-neglected holiday. We gather to eat and have fellowship with family and friends, but often neglect to make this a time of expressing genuine gratitude to God for His bountiful blessings. While giving thanks should be a daily occurrence, this time of the year is an opportune time to lay aside other holiday distractions and make being thankful a priority. 

Being thankful is a more difficult challenge for some than others. When all appears well, we may feel more thankful, but even then, we tend to take our blessings for granted. When facing adversity, we are tempted to allow envy, self-pity, or anxiety to rob us of the contentment that God desires for us. Praise and worship music provide a suitable alternative when negative emotions threaten my peace. I am learning that contentment is a choice and comes as I choose to be thankful for what I have rather than allow what I don’t have to rob me of the joy and peace God has promised as I trust in Him.

The Bible reminds us of God’s provision when we choose to be thankful even in painful or costly circumstances: “Though the fig tree may not blossom, nor fruit be on the vine; though the labor of the oil may fail, and the fields yield no food; thought the flock be cut off from the fold and there be no herd in the stalls—Yet, I will rejoice in the Lord of my salvation.” (Habakkuk 3:17-18) 

In times of significant loss, being thankful is a challenging endeavor that requires faith and discipline to genuinely pray, “Thank You, Lord, for my salvation and for Your presence, power and provision in this situation.“ As we offer praise and gratitude in faith, the Holy Spirit gives witness to His peace within us.

Try it... And have a Happy Thanksgiving!

"O God, my heart is steadfast; I will sing and give praise, even with my glory." Psalm 108:1

Thank You, Lord, for encouragement,
When I am tempted by fear to give in—
To inadequacy, discouragement, and disbelief,
In need of confidence and assurance from within.

Thank You for evidence of Your Spirit at work
In response to my petitions and prayer,
For those seemingly coincidental events
That give witness to Your faithful care.

Thank You for those moments, Lord,
When I’ve let go and trusted in You,
Seeking to be led by Your wise, loving hand,
Finding new strength in what I’ve sought to do.

May worship and praise be my ready response
In times of good or when in sorrow or pain,
And being in obedience to Your Spirit’s lead
Know greater joy and inner peace I will gain. 

From Reflections of Gratitude and Praise: Giving Thanks!  © 2017, Doris Haver Rouse. 

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