Do not be anxious about anything but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and minds in Christ JesusPhilippians 4:6-7 , NIV
“One, two, three, four count my blessings! One, two, three, four count my blessings!” I love this song by Hawk Nelson called “Thank God for Something.” Whenever my family is struggling, I like to put this song on and play it loud. It’s a great reminder of how important it is to count our blessings.
You’ll find the same ideas in many Bible passages. Philippians 4:6-7 tells us above. Thanksgiving helps us to remember who is in charge. It helps take our focus off ourselves and instead focus on the One who is really in control.
Thanksgiving also serves as a reminder of God’s faithfulness in the past, which gives us hope for the future. The Psalms are full of this use of thanksgiving. In Psalms 34 David is praising and thanking God. As he does so, he reminds himself and his readers that God will be faithful again. He writes in Psalms 34:1-4, NLT:
I will praise the Lord at all times.
I will constantly speak his praises.
I will boast only in the Lord;
let all who are helpless take heart.
Come, let us tell of the Lord’s greatness;
let us exalt his name together.
I prayed to the Lord, and he answered me.
He freed me from all my fears.
When we take time to thank God, even during the hard times, it does the same for us that it did for David. It helps us to find his peace not through our own strength but by remembering his.
One habit that has helped me is to write down three things that I’m thankful for each morning. I begin with “Thank you, God, for…” to remind myself of where these blessings actually come from.
I also have a God Story journal for our family. Whenever God “shows up” in a very real way, I write down the story. That way when we look back, we can see that God was with us in the past, and trust he’ll be with us in the future.
Abiding with Kids
My kids love games! In her book, Prayer, In Practice, J.L. Gerhardt talks about the “Blessing Game” where you act like you’re in a video game and look back over yesterday to try and find as many blessings (aka points) as possible. Since my sons love Mario, we adapted it and call it the “Blessing Coin” game. We list all the blessings we can find to be thankful for in our day. Each blessing is a coin, and we see who “wins” by finding the most blessings.
It’s been fun to keep our lists and see how many blessings we have found to be thankful for. Try this idea with your own kids. See how many “coins” you find laying around that you didn’t know were there.
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