Sometimes when we go to God in prayer, we do it with a big laundry list of what we want God to do for us! (Not me, of course. Other people.) And thankfully, God is gracious to hear and receive our prayers for what we need and want.
But the first day of our prayer journey is dedicated to praising and thanking God. When we praise God, we adore God is for who God is. When we thank God, we express our gratitude for what God has done. Rather than beginning with ourselves, our prayers of praise begin with God. If God never did another thing for us, these are the reasons we would still love, admire, and honor God.
Here's the real deal: when you praise God, you don't need a bunch of religious fanfare. Just tell God what you think about God that's good. Compliment God like you would compliment a friend. Seriously, it's as simple as taking a moment–any moment during your day-and telling God what you know to be true about God.
And thanking God is pretty simple too.
Do you remember a few years back when it became "the thing" to keep a gratitude journal? Perhaps you've already discovered for yourself how powerful it can be to choose gratitude every day. Research has demonstrated that we can transform our attitudes-toward God, toward others, and even toward ourselves-when we practice gratitude. When we slow down to pay attention to our lives -spiritually, physically, relationally-we notice all that God has provided for us. And we have the opportunity to give God thanks.
Today, we're going to thank God for what God has done for us spiritually. And over the next several weeks, we'll thank God for what we've been given physically and socially. We'll even thank God for the challenges we face.
This morning, thank God for all that God has done, spiritually, in you.
Dear God, thank You for my salvation and my life with You.
- If you can recall the particular moment of your salvation, give God thanks for all that led you to that moment.
- If God gave you a family-parents, siblings, grandparents, aunts and uncles-who nourished your faith as a child, thank God for each of them.
- If your spirit was nurtured in a community of faith, give God thanks for all those in Christ's body who cared for you and loved you to faith in Jesus.
- This morning, give God thanks for your relationship with Him through Jesus.