September 10, 2018

Thanksgiving, Gratitude

Psalm 66

Come and hear, all you who fear God; let me tell you what he has done for me.

—  Psalm 66:16

Quite often, we are led to give thanks after giving honor and adoration to God in our prayers. We give thanks for the amazing things God has done—for this world, for his people, and for us in our personal lives.

Notice how Psalm 66 moves from adoration to thanksgiving. In the first four verses the psalmist declares how awesome and glorious God is. Then in verse 5 we see a transition to “come and see what God has done.” From this point on, the psalm reads like an inventory of God’s gifts and amazing help. The psalmist describes how God saves and watches over his people, even in the context of trouble and disappointment, and the psalmist shares what God has done for him personally as well.

Psalm 66 teaches us the value of being specific when we give thanks to God. Many people like to keep a prayer journal that helps them pay attention to what God is doing in their lives. They keep a running list of God’s blessings and work for them, and they review their list in thanksgiving to God.

In our prayer life, gratitude can grow in many ways. God is incredibly gracious and generous. As we read in James 1:17, “Every good and perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father. . . .” The one who gives so abundantly is most worthy to receive our abundant thanks.

Lord, how I can ever thank you enough for all the blessings I receive from you? Help me to be thankful and to use your gifts to enrich the lives of others. In Jesus’ name, Amen.

About the author — Peter Hoytema

Peter Hoytema has been a pastor for nearly 30 years and has served congregations in Ontario and New Jersey. He is currently the pastor of a congregation in Strathroy, Ontario. He is a graduate of Calvin Theological Seminary and San Francisco Theological Seminary. He and his wife, Grace, are the parents of four adult children.

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