“Through Him then, let us continually offer up a sacrifice of praise to God, that is, the fruit of lips that give thanks to His name.” Hebrews 13:15; NASB
I have a challenge for you. Write down a list of things you are thankful for in your life. Not just a quick mental list, but a written list of all that you can think of. Take some time and make sure you get a complete list. You can even include things that happen in the lives of your loved ones that bless you when you think about them. As you make this list, include all the hardships that you have endured. This might seem like an odd request, but it’s actually quite important.
When we go through hardships, the last thing we usually think of is how blessed we are to have to go through those hardships. As odd as it sounds, the most trying times in our lives will bring us the closest to God. Most often our prayer lives are much better during the hard times than they are when things are going our way. When things are rolling along without incident, we tend to slack off on our deep, soul searching prayer. When a loved one is sick, or we’ve lost our job and money is tight, or worse, we will usually pray long and hard. Isn’t it funny how when things are going well our quiet time takes a back seat to the busyness of life?
As we mature in our relationship with Jesus, we should move from wanting blessings to wanting Him. The blessing becomes His presence regardless of what’s going on around us. Both the Father and the Son love us so much they make their home in each one of us through the Holy Spirit when we love and obey Jesus (see John 14:23). This fact alone is reason to give Him praise continually, regardless of our personal circumstances.
Hardships are sometimes a result of living in this fallen world. Sometimes they are God’s discipline in our lives to correct us and draw us closer to Him. Our prayers and praise should be frequent and intense whether we are in a good season or a challenging one. There is always a reason to praise Him continually.
When you finish your list, put it some place where you will see it every day. Get in the habit of rejoicing and praising His name daily. We are blessed to be loved by Him, even when we think we’re unlovable. Speaking out our praises to Him will not only bless the Lord but will keep us grateful for all that He has done for you, for me, and for all who choose to receive His love.
Praying that you have a blessed Thanksgiving!