First, spend a few minutes coming before God in prayer using the first two elements of the ACTS pattern of prayer: Adoration and Confession.
Today we move on to the third ingredient: Thanksgiving. As we saw, adoration focuses on who God is, whereas thanksgiving focuses on what God has done for us.
The most basic and universal sin of human beings, according to Romans 1:21, is not glorifying God and not giving him thanks. Being thankless is sinful; but through faith in Jesus, God enables us to begin to learn how to live with thankful hearts. Once again, 1 Thessalonians 5:16-18 (can you remember it?) tells us to “give thanks in all circumstances.”
But as with any area of godliness, we must make a determined decision to develop thankfulness to God. Your daily prayer time is a good way to start to learn. As you become better at finding ways in which God has been good to you, you will more easily recognise his loving hand in daily life.
Spend time thinking and identifying ways in which God has been kind to you in the following areas. Don’t worry if you can’t think of something for each point, but for each blessing you identify, thank your loving Father.
- Spiritual blessings in Jesus: forgiveness, adoption, etc. (Eph. 1:3-7)
- God’s help in specific moments during the past day or week
- An answer to prayer that you have received, or that one of your brothers or sisters in Christ has received recently
- People in your life
- Any tiny “gifts of love” you received over the past day: daily bread, the beauty of a sunset, a kind word from a stranger
Now memorise the following verse from the Psalms. Say it to yourself over and over during the day, and be on the lookout for those countless small “gifts of love” so that you can thank God for them.
Give thanks to the LORD, for he is good;
his love endures forever. (Ps. 136:1)