Always rejoice. Unceasingly pray. In everything give thanks, for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you.1 Thessalonians 5:16-18
The seasons of Thanksgiving and Christmas are upon us. We complete the year with a focus on all the ways God blesses and takes care of us. All the ways He shows His love and mercy.
Have you ever considered the differences between giving thanks and offering praise?
To be thankful is to recognize all God does for us. Biblical thankfulness can take place quietly in the heart or spoken out loud. A thankful heart is a heart that doesn’t take God’s tangible care for granted. A thankful heart is not a heart that grows cold, self-centered, or entitled.
Children can develop a thankful attitude towards the people in their lives:
“Thank you, Dad, for helping me with my shoes.”
“Thank you, Mom, for making sure I have food.”
“Thank you, Teacher, for preparing lessons so I can learn.”
More importantly, children can be aware every good and perfect gift comes from God (James 1:17) and we are called to thank Him:
“Thank you, God, for my family and friends. Thank you for the Bible and my church.”
To thank the Lord is to recognize what He has done for us. We acknowledge all the ways He provides for us.
When we praise God, we call out to Him and speak of who He is. We confess His attributes we see and those we have yet to discover. A heart that praises God is humble and keeps perspective in the storms of life. Praising God for who He is keeps us anchored when everything around us is chaotic and makes no sense.
Children can learn to praise the people they love:
“My dad is the strongest man in the world.”
“My Mom is the most selfless person I know.”
“My teacher is kind and patient.”
More importantly, children can learn how to praise the God of all creation who knows and loves them:
“My God is more powerful than all of the Avengers and He is always with me.”
Biblical praise is out loud, in celebration of the fact there is no other like Him. He alone answers our prayers, keeps every promise, and causes the sun to rise each day and the moon and stars to watch over us each night. We bring praise to God because of who He is.
Yes, we all carry the pressures of the day. We experience concerns on a level our children do not understand. May I challenge you to maintain a thankful heart and attitude of praise even in the midst of the most difficult circumstances?
Kids say, “Show me.” Your child knows everyone is running late this morning. She sees you are frustrated.
Stop. Announce, “Thank you, God, for our busy morning. We are blessed with lost shoes, half-eaten bowls of cereal, school and work waiting for us. You alone are able to give us what we need. You are faithful, even when we are frustrated.”
Kids say, “Teach me.” The busy day is almost over, and you actually have a quiet moment of bedtime tuck-in and prayers.
Stop. Ask your child to pray two prayers tonight. One of thanksgiving, listing many of the ways God provided today. The second, acknowledging who God is that makes it possible for Him to provide like no other (He is all-seeing and all-knowing. God is faithful. God is loving. God is patient. God is just.)
Kids say, “Help me.” Winter has arrived. The day is cold, gloomy, and gray.
Stop. Gather your children around you and pray together. Each person thanking God for blessings large and small—socks, books, air, snow, a toothbrush! Each person praising God for who He is—God You alone are good, You are forgiving, You are creative, You are gentle.
We have the great responsibility of teaching our children the differences between thanksgiving and praise. The duty is ours to model the practice of both. When we are obedient to the call, we will plant two acts of worship deep in their hearts that will produce fruit for their lifetime and into eternity.
Family Psalm challenge: Read Psalm 103 together. Notice the thankful verses as well as the verses of praise. Create a Psalm by asking each family member to contribute. Enjoy a time of worship as you show, teach, and help your children offer thanks and praise to the only One who is worthy.
Thanksgiving and praise are not meant for the months of November and December alone!
Giving Thanks and Offering Praise: Worship from the Heart #Thanksgiving2021 #Family #WorshipTweet
(Cover photo courtesy of Johannes Plenio on Unplash)