Some of us were taught as children to pray—
“God is great. God is good. Let us thank Him for our food.”
There is much wisdom in that simple prayer.
Praying thanksgiving is a key means of knowing God and communicating with God. But thanksgiving is more than superficially saying, “Thank you”.
Most of us were also taught as children the obligation of giving thanks. Aunt Susie gives you a birthday present and even if it was officially weird, your mother would ask you, “What do you say?” with an expectation of hearing you utter the magic words.
If we do an obligatory statement of appreciation to God we risk missing the experience of knowing Him. Go back to the “child’s” prayer above. Is God really great? Is God really good? How do you know?
When our thanksgiving is birthed out of awe we have a keen sense of His presence, the fullness of His Person, and in contrast the unworthiness of our receiving benefits or favor from God.
But we live in an “awe-killing” world. The recent movie on Moses went to great lengths to give naturalistic explanations for awesome works of God. We take for granted the awesome splendor of snow-capped mountains, powerful rushing rivers and the stunning beauty of sunsets.
If God is Creator then we learn something of Him when we examine and reflect on creation. God is an artist who loves beauty and shares the joy of His artistry with His friends. And if we notice God’s handiwork we’ve just been nudged by His Spirit to take it in.
When I drive across the floating bridge and squint because the sun is glimmering over Lake Washington with a majestic Mt. Rainier in the backdrop I have to whisper, “Thank you God for letting me live in the Northwest and having eyes to behold this sight and a heart that is alive to Your activity around me.”
In that prayer/conversation I’m not just communicating with God; I’m communing with God; I’m enjoying God; I’m celebrating God. And the marvelous outcome of praying thanksgiving is that the more I do, the more I know and experience God.
In this day, let us practice noticing God, acknowledging God and responding to God with praise and thanksgiving.