People from every walk of life and in every culture surely go through times of stress and despair. As problems increase, people may be filled with anger and the inability to find hope. But no matter how challenging and worrisome those issues are, people should turn to God and to the Bible for prayers of thanksgiving. God offers hope to all, and the Bible contains many verses that offer thanksgiving to help all those in stress.
“Thankfulness is a complicated state of being,” wrote Bethany Verrett. “When life is good, and someone is getting what they want, it is easy to achieve. When life is hard and nothing goes right, it is hard to have a spirit of gratitude. In fact, for many people, difficult times or circumstances are the easiest excuse to justify ingratitude…. The Bible has much to say about being thankful, and its message runs counter to the instincts of man.” As she quoted, “Rejoice always, pray without ceasing, give thanks in all circumstances; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you” (1 Thessalonians 5:16-18).
She has also listed several ways to give thanks, even when life is hard:
- Count your blessings
- Reflect on how God has redeemed your troubles in the past
- Give back to others in a meaningful way
- Spend some time reading about heaven
- Start small and make gratitude a habit
- Focus on the blessed assurance of the future
Author Lynette Kittle spells out clearly why giving thanks is a blessing and so good for the soul. As she quoted, “Whatever you do, whether in word or deed, do it all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through Him.” (Colossians 3:17). She then lists 10 meaningful steps for people to find peace and hope in giving thanksgiving. Of those steps, these really stand out:
- Giving thanks is good for us: Give thanks to the Lord, for He is good; His love endures forever. (Psalm 107:1)
- Giving thanks honors God: Psalm 50:23 explains how giving God a thank offering brings honor and glory to His name.
- Giving thanks keeps our heart in check: Israel’s King David knew how to give thanks in the midst of trouble, writing, “I will thanks to you, Lord, with all my heart; I will tell of all your wonderful deeds.” (Psalm 9:1)
- Giving thanks strengthens our trust in God: …giving thanks to God frees us from fear and strengthens our trust in Him.
- Giving thanks cultivates perseverance: As James 1:2-3 wrote, ‘Consider it pure joy, my brothers and sisters, whenever you face trials of many kinds because you know that the testing of your faith produce perseverance.’
- Giving thanks chases away anxiety: Focus on thankfulness and not on worries.”
And in all difficult times, always pray these inspiring words by St. Teresa of Avila:
“Let nothing disturb you, let nothing frighten you, all things will pass away. God never changes; patience obtains all things, whoever has God lacks nothing. God alone suffices. Amen.”
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