It’s easy to forget to be thankful. It’s easy to pause to see reasons to be thankful but not actually say thank you to God and others. It’s easy to say thank you to God and others and then almost immediately go back to not being thankful. Here are some ideas that can help us develop thankful habits:
Be intentionally thankful. “…let the peace of God rule in your hearts, to which you were called in one body; and be thankful” (Co 3:15). Thankfulness doesn’t just automatically happen. We must open our eyes to our blessings and our mouths to express it.
Say it a lot. Paul worked thankful words into conversations: “First, I thank God through Jesus Christ for you all…” (Ro 1:8) and, “…thanks be to God who gives us the victory…” (1 Co 15:57). If we think it, say it. If we don’t think it, give ourselves reminders (post it notes, scriptures, etc).
Pray about it. “Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication, with thanksgiving, let your requests be made known to God” (Ph 4:6). Determine to thank God along with our requests. And ask God to show us how to be more thankful and express it.
Count our blessings. “in everything give thanks; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you” (1 Th 5:18). We can be blinded to our blessings by suffering, loss, or even just by taking them for granted. Let’s look around and see how blessed we are!
See reasons for thanksgiving where others don’t. A brother told me he is thankful he has MS that paralyzed him and landed him in a nursing home because he would have never turned to God in his former lifestyle without it. That’s the concept of James 1, where we “count it all joy” when we face trials and suffering because the testing of our faith produces patience which leads to perfection and completeness in Christ (Ja 1:2-4).
Remember spiritual blessings. It’s good to be thankful for physical blessings, but not only are they fickle and fleeting, but they aren’t the greatest blessings from God. Remember Christ’s sacrifice, forgiveness, overcoming death at the resurrection, and eternal life in the presence of God! “Thanks be to God for His indescribable gift!” (2 Co 9:15). Make a list and say thanks to God for each of them!
“Continue earnestly in prayer, being vigilant in it with thanksgiving”