Whatever you do in word or deed, do all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks through Him to God the Father. Colossians 3:17
Have you ever said “TGIF” at the end of the week–thank God it’s Friday? I have. But TGIF is hardly a prayer of thanksgiving; neither is the arrival of the weekend the only reason we have to be thankful.
I’ve often sat in a group of people who were asked to give a short prayer thanking God for something. The silence that followed was embarrassing. Prayers requesting God’s help pour our profusely, but why are our prayers of thanks usually so meager?
Maybe the Israelites had the same problem remembering to be thankful. In biblical times, certain people were called to be musicians or worship leaders. Their full-time job at the temple was leading the people in praise and thanksgiving. David’s trained choir numbered several hundred. He told the leaders of the Levites to appoint their brothers as singers to sing joyful songs, accompanied by musical instruments: trumpets, lyres, harps, and cymbals (1 Chronicles 15:16).
Many of the psalms include this superscription–“To the chief musician.” Many also indicate that Asaph or Korah wrote the psalm. They were both chief musicians. They headed up schools of musicians comprised of their sons and other Levites, the tribe God set aside to serve in the tabernacle in the wilderness and later in the temple.
The psalms express many reasons for gratitude. Psalm 100 tells us to “enter into his gates with thanksgiving and come into his courts with praise: be thankful unto him, and bless his name.” Why?
“For the LORD is good; his mercy is everlasting; and his truth endures to all generations (Psalm 100:4-5). What would our lives be like without God’s goodness, his mercy, and his truth?
Why not use this time set aside for thanksgiving–not as Turkey Day, or a day off from work, or a time to gorge yourself with yummy food–but as a time to reflect on all the reasons you have to give God thanks?
Read one or more of the psalms of Asaph (Psalm 50, 73-83) and note his reasons for thanking God.
Are you surprised at the way Asaph sometimes addresses God—complaining, reminding God of his promises as if He had forgotten? See especially Psalm77. Many of David’s psalms are like this too. But how does the tone change toward the end of the psalm?
Read 1 Thessalonians 5:16-18. What is God’s will for us in relation to rejoicing, praying, and giving thanks? When should we do these things? Make a list of all the things for which you are thankful this Thanksgiving.
Nancy J. Baker