Read: I Thessalonians 5:16-18
Rejoice always; pray without ceasing; in everything give thanks; for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus.
Reflect: Praise, prayer and thanksgiving go together. They are often found in close company. Praise and thanksgiving are often outward and verbal while prayer is quiet and inward, but they are found together over and over in the Bible. Thanksgiving and praise are the results of prayer. Gratitude arises when we pray, and our eyes move off of our small world of trials and troubles into His world of eternal perspective. When this happens, gratitude grows deep inside and thanksgiving is the outward expression of it. We give thanks to God for moving in us and around us. This gives rise to praise, an outward declaration of His greatness and His mercy.
Psalm 116:1-2, 17-19 puts it this way;
I love the LORD, because He hears My voice and my supplications. Because He has inclined His ear to me, Therefore I shall call upon Him as long as I live. To You I shall offer a sacrifice of thanksgiving, And call upon the name of the LORD. I shall pay my vows to the Lord, Oh may it be in the presence of all His people, In the courts of the Lord’s house, In the midst of you, O Jerusalem. Praise the LORD!
This psalm is clearly about prayer and gratitude, covered in thanksgiving, bursting forth with praise that changes our perspective. When we give ourselves to prayer there are many benefits but one of the greatest is perspective. Prayer gives us a new perspective on our old problems. When I bring my struggles to Him and lay them out before Him, the Holy Spirit does something amazing, without minimizing my plight, He alters my perspective by reminding me, as bad as I might feel or think things are, they are still small in light of eternity. He reminds me that He has saved me, and healed me, and He will save me again from whatever it is that is afflicting me now. His peace begins to flow in my direction and my heart begins to rise up with thanksgiving. It doesn’t take long for that to turn into praise and adoration for the great and amazing power God releases towards me and my issues.
Paul taught the same thing in Colossians 4 where he wrote, “Devote yourselves to prayer, keeping alert in it with an attitude of thanksgiving…” So when you are down and things just feel impossible don’t quit. Run to Jesus, lay it out before Him and then as He enters into your situation begin to praise Him and thank Him again for His wonderful and powerful ability to set things straight.
Prayer: Father, prayer, praise and thanksgiving are so much better than my grumbling spirit. Please, Holy Spirit, teach me to come to you every day for your eternal perspective on my journey.