The Holy Spirit has been impressing upon me the privilege of praising the Lord and giving thanks to the Father, not just when something good (in our way of thinking) happens, but regularly, multiple times per day. It has been said that gratitude should be our modus operandi.
When we went to the western United States, we found ourselves praising God multiple times per day as we saw His beautiful creation spread out before us.
The natural beauty of Yosemite National Park prompted us to praise Him and give thanks to Him for the glory of His creation. Half-Dome standing like a sentry over the mountains and valleys reminded us of the Lord’s watchfulness over His people, and of His omnipotence. The sure and certain knowledge that He is in control and His purposes will not be thwarted by anything that man can conjure up!
The Landscape Rainbow that became visible as we were driving to Seward, Alaska reminded us of God’s unfailing promises. We saw this rainbow the day after I had surgery to repair my broken ankle, a sure-fire way to cut vacation travel short! But the Lord was with us even in those difficult days thousands of miles from home, when He sent numerous people to minister to us, helping us get through the trial of no place to stay, of surgery, etc. His people surrounded us, even in the hospital corridor. The rainbow was a visual reminder that He had not lost track of us, and He would not do so, ever! And, in response, we uttered a prayer of praise and thanksgiving to Him for sending this beautiful reminder of His presence.
Praise and thanksgiving should be ever present in the life of a Christian, even when things are not what we expected, when they are difficult and painful, when they are overwhelming and frustrating. Praise and thanksgiving are appropriate at all these times because God is teaching us to be more like His Son, our Lord and Savior.
Let there be no filthiness nor foolish talk nor crude joking, which are out of place, but instead let there be thanksgiving.
The writer of Hebrews said this about praise to God:
Through him then let us continually offer up a sacrifice of praise to God, that is, the fruit of lips that acknowledge his name.
This is not just a New Testament command – it is referenced multiple times in the Old Testament as well.
David referenced praise and thanksgiving numerous times in his writings, and here is one of them:
Enter his gates with thanksgiving, and his courts with praise! Give thanks to him; bless his name!
In fact, the Israelites were told to practice daily praise and thanksgiving. With regard to the obligations of the priests, we read in 1 Chronicles 23:30:
“And they were to stand every morning, thanking and praising the LORD, and likewise at evening,”
The command is to begin and end the day with praise and thanks to the Lord God. Notice, God didn’t say that this was required on those days that were easy, or when they were encamped and not fighting anyone, or that they were exempted from this requirement when it was too hot! Every morning and every evening — come rain or shine, home hard times or easy ones, come plague or famine, come ease or comfort. Praise and thanksgiving were to be their standard daily.
Do we do this?
Every day or ever?
Even on those days that are so frustrating and maddening that we want to scream?
Even when the children are fighting and we can’t hear ourselves think?
Even when our spouse has done something that infuriates us?
Praise and thanksgiving when illness hits or an unexpected death occurs?
Yes, we should! Daily praise and thanksgiving. At times it is difficult but calling on the Name of the Lord and giving Him praise and thanksgiving for His presence and comfort, for His guidance and leading, always is music to our Lord’s ears. It is glorifying to God the Father and it is evidence that the Holy Spirit is at work in our lives. I’m not saying that we will understand the reason behind what happens to us, that is God’s area of expertise! I am saying that the Christian’s response to these things should be humble acknowledgement that we are hurt and that we don’t understand why this bad thing occurred; but, we have confidence in God and His wisdom and we praise His name and give thanksgiving to Him for his faithfulness and His abiding presence with us that gives comfort and peace even in difficult circumstances.
What a difference daily, moment by moment, praise and thanksgiving would make in our lives! Glorifying God, giving Him praise and thanksgiving, even at your deepest hour will bring peace and comfort, even when nothing is going right and everything is going wrong.
Father, forgive us for failing to give You praise and thanksgiving on a daily, moment-by-moment basis. Enable us to see even difficult days of suffering and loss as times to give You praise as You execute Your purposes for us and for the world. Give us strength and wisdom as we live our lives and lead us to give You the praise and thanksgiving that You rightfully deserve, every moment of every day.