I don’t know about you, but when I’m asking God for things, I get really specific. I get into the details and tell God what is happening in my life. I articulate how I need His help and sometimes overstep and offer Him options for what that help could look like.
And yet when I’m thanking God, I often speak in generalities. God, thank you for health, for protection. It’s an imbalance that I’m working on correcting.
There’s a line in one of my favorite Martyn Joseph songs that says, “There are days when I don’t see you, I miss every little sign.” There are times when that is true of my relationship with God. I know that He’s there. I’m glad that He’s there but I don’t note my blessings with the same fervor with which I list out my concerns. I don’t dwell on them the same way.
I’m thankful; I am. But it’s important to spend some time in that gratitude. Being thankful is a lot more for my benefit than for God’s. When I list out the ways God has loved me – saved me, redeemed me, made a way for me and forgiven me – it’s a reminder of the magnitude of His love. I need to hear that.
Hebrews 13:15 says, “[L]et us continually offer up a sacrifice of praise to God, that is, the fruit of lips that acknowledge his name.”
That word “acknowledge” is important when we’re thinking about gratitude. It means recognizing God’s hand at work, which in turn requires looking for the places where God’s hand is at work. It’s easy to go through the day focused on myself — what I am trying to accomplish, overcome or fix. A posture of gratitude turns my thoughts toward God and what He is doing. It reminds me that I am not alone.
Gratitude is all about paying attention. It’s a habit of noticing and responding to what God is doing. Incorporating gratitude into your prayer life takes practice. Get started today with one of these action steps.