I don’t know about you, but when I’m asking God for things, I get really specific. I get into the details when I tell God what is happening in my life. I articulate how I need his help and sometimes, I overstep the bounds and even suggest what that help could look like.
And yet when I’m thanking God, I often limit myself to generalities. “God, thank you for health, for protection.” I’m seeking to change that imbalance.
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 I want to become so much so. God commands me to be thankful for my benefit, not his. When I list out the ways God has loved me — he saved me, redeemed me, made a way for me, has forgiven me, lives in me, is transforming me — I am reminded of the magnitude of his love.
Hebrews 13:15 says, Let us continually offer up a sacrifice of praise to God, that is, the fruit of lips that acknowledge his name.
The word “acknowledge” is important. It means recognizing God’s hand at work, which in turn requires looking for the places where God 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 keeps my thoughts focused on God and what he is doing in me and around me. 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. Becoming continually God-focused and grateful takes practice. Get started today with one of these action steps.