Prayer, Praise and Thanksgiving
“I love the Lord, because He has heard my voice and my supplications.” (Psalm 116:1 NKJV)
Prayer, praise and thanksgiving all go in company. A close relationship exists between them. Praise and thanksgiving are so near alike that it is not easy to distinguish between them or define them separately. The Scriptures join these three things together. Many are the causes for thanksgiving and praise. The Psalms are filled with many songs of praise and hymns of thanksgiving, all pointing back to the results of prayer. Thanksgiving includes gratitude. In fact thanksgiving is but the expression of an inward conscious gratitude to God for mercies received. Gratitude is an inward emotion of the soul, involuntarily arising therein, while thanksgiving is the voluntary expression of gratitude.
Thanksgiving is oral, positive, active. It is the giving out of something to God. Thanksgiving comes out into the open. Gratitude is secret, silent, negative, passive, not showing its being till expressed in praise and thanksgiving. Gratitude is felt in the heart. Thanksgiving is the expression of that inward feeling.
Thanksgiving is just what the word itself signifies—the giving of thanks to God. It is giving something to God in words which we feel at heart for blessings received. Gratitude arises from a contemplation of the goodness of God. It is bred by serious meditation on what God has done for us. Both gratitude and thanksgiving point to, and have to do with, God and his mercies. The heart is consciously grateful to God. The soul gives expression to that heartfelt gratitude to God in words or acts.
Gratitude is born of meditation on God's grace and mercy: "The Lord hath done great things for us, whereof we are glad." Herein we see the value of serious meditation. "My meditation of him shall be sweet." Praise is begotten by gratitude and a conscious obligation to God for mercies given. As we think of mercies past, the heart is inwardly moved to gratitude…
Love is the child of gratitude. Love grows as gratitude is felt, and then breaks out into praise and thanksgiving to God: "I love the Lord because he hath heard my voice and my supplication." Answered prayers cause gratitude, and gratitude brings forth a love that declares it will not cease praying: "Because he hath inclined his ear unto me, therefore will I call upon him as long as I live." Gratitude and love move to larger and increased praying.
-E.M. Bounds (excerpted from the sermon, “Prayer, Praise and Thanksgiving”)
When we start to think of how great God is and how much he loves us, it’s nearly impossible to stay in his presence without exalting his name, even if we have petitions on our hearts and tears in our eyes. As a new year fast approaches, be encouraged to mingle your petitions with thanksgiving and praise. Then stop worrying and struggling… Just take a deep breath and rest in the arms of God. While you are praising him, he will work mightily on your behalf!
Read Psalm 116.