Psalm 100:4-5 “Enter his gates with thanksgiving and his courts with praise; give thanks to him and praise his name. For the Lord is good and his love endures forever; his faithfulness continues through all generations”
These are iconic verses. Yet, we often don’t practice them! It’s so easy to enter God’s presence with praise and miss a key step: thanksgiving. We don’t enter God’s presence with praise; we enter His presence with thanksgiving!
But why? Well, when we start our prayers and worship with thanksgiving, it changes our perspective; it takes us into a new realm of the spirit that ushers in genuine praise. This concept applies to worship, but also to our prayer life! Anytime we approach God, it’s important to come before Him with gratitude.
Story of the Ten Lepers
Another powerful gratitude lesson is found in Luke 17:12-17. This is the story about the ten lepers. Here, Jesus runs into ten men with leprosy begging Jesus to have pity on them and heal them. Jesus sees them and commands them to appear before the Jewish priests. As they go, they become cleansed of their leprosy.
However, after being healed, only one of them comes back to thank Jesus! This leper was so thankful, the story says he threw himself at Jesus’ feet thanking Him.
Jesus responds in confusion, “Were not all ten cleansed? Where are the other nine?” Only one out of ten of the lepers came back to thank Jesus for healing them.
As we interact with the miracle working power of God, it’s easy to become overly familiar and take God’s power for granted. That’s where his parable is a helpful reminder. We need to remember to thank God for His work in our life.
I also believe this parable unveils another important spiritual principle: when we thank God for the partial, He makes a pathway for the full. Sometimes, like the leper, we’re healed as we go. We have to partner with the little God is doing first before we get to see the full. I find thanking God for the partial is one of the best ways to honor and partner with God as He’s moving in my life.
My Discipline of Gratitude
I try to make a discipline of gratitude. It’s easy for me to focus on the negative events in my life at times and get caught in the gutter. But, when I focus on the negative, it only empowers those things in my heart.
Instead, I try to make a discipline of staying grateful throughout my day. I have so much to be grateful for – even when circumstances don’t go the way I hoped they would. For instance, I’m alive, I have incredible children and grandchildren, I have a great house, and a fruitful ministry.
These are real blessings in my life. But, more than these, I find it powerful to thank God for the little things in my life, like my ability to walk and the fact that I have two eyes, ears, arms, and legs that work.
It may seem silly to thank God for these, but I don’t want to take these blessings for granted. I’m very aware that there are many people in the world who don’t have the basic graces I easily take for granted.
I find when I reflect on the blessings in my life with gratitude, something shifts inside of me. I end up embracing a new perspective that changes my day. I even have mats placed around my house that say, “gratitude” to help me remember to stay grateful as I’m doing the everyday tasks of life!
I want you to remember to stay grateful this season too! You may not need gratitude mats around your house, but most of us need some type of reminder to stay grateful. Hopefully, this article is that reminder to you.
God Bless You,
– James W. Goll