“Rejoice always, pray without ceasing, give thanks in all circumstances; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you.”1 Thessalonians 5:16-18
“[D]o not be anxious about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God.”Philippians 4:6
“Oh give thanks to the LORD, for he is good, for his steadfast love endures forever! Let the redeemed of the LORD say so,”Psalm 107:1-2a
These three collections of verses give us a very small sampling of all the Bible says about prayer and thanksgiving.
Prayer is a vital part of the life of the believer. We were made to have a relationship with the God who created us and talking with Him is an ever-important aspect of that relationship. In doing so we are showing our dependence on God for all that we pray about. As we pray, we also listen to what the Spirit relays to us in our mind and spirit. We are built up in prayer. We are comforted in prayer. We are showing love for God in prayer. As we grow in our love for God prayer becomes more natural, deeper, and yet, easier.
Thanksgiving is a prominent theme throughout God’s Word as it is the appropriate response to the love and grace that God provides His people. It would be an act of spiritual hypocrisy to claim the name of Jesus only to live a life that lacks gratitude for and to him. Scripture displays the believer as one who exults (takes joy in) in Jesus. This exultation is the result of an attitude of thanksgiving and gratitude for who God is and what He has done. As we grow in our joy in God our response of thanksgiving becomes reflexive and second nature. Thanksgiving will naturally become part of our prayer life, as it should.
As we pray, we need to consider why we are praying? Do we see God as our magic genie who will fulfill all our wildest dreams? Do we pray because we see God as a ruthless taskmaster and we believe we need to check it off our list of good deeds? Or do we pray out of a sense of gratitude and thanksgiving for the God we are bringing our petitions to? The prayer of thanksgiving is not a specific prayer to remember and regurgitate. The prayer of thanksgiving is all about the attitude of the heart from which the prayer proceeds. It is prayer that is bathed in the love of and exultation in Jesus Christ. It is prayer that relays in word, thought, and spirit a desire to thank God, to love God, and to rely on God.
God is good. He created us and saved us in Christ. He provides for us and comforts us temporally and has prepared for us an eternity. O come let us adore Him, seeking Him in prayer soaked in thanksgiving!