PRAYER IS THANKSGIVING

Because prayer is an expression of our utter dependence on God for both our physical and spiritual lives, prayer is also of necessity an expression of thankfulness. In this aspect of prayer we acknowledge God's mercy and goodness to us and to others, we express our realization that all that we are, and all that we have, including our salvation in Christ, is sheer gift, totally undeserved and unmerited, and in no way our right, in no way something that God owes us.

As well as numerous references in the Psalms note the following statements from the apostle Paul. Note particularly the continuity of thankfulness; this continuity includes not only verbal expressions of thankfulness, but indicates a constant state of mind. Only those who know their utter dependence on the power and the mercy of God can live in this attitude of thankfulness.

Romans 1:8ff: I thank my God through Jesus Christ for all of you … constantly I remember you in my prayers at all times …

Romans 7:24-25: Who will rescue me from this body of death? Thanks be to God – through Jesus Christ our Lord.

Romans 14:6: He who eats meat, eats to the Lord, for he gives thanks to God; and he who abstains, does so to the Lord and gives thanks to God.

1Corinthians 1:4: I always thank God for you because of the grace given you in Christ Jesus

1Corinthians 15:57: … thanks be to God! He gives us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ.

2Corinthians 9:12: … overflowing with many expressions of thanks to God. …

2Corinthians 4:15: … so that the grace that is reaching more and more people may cause thanksgiving to overflow to the glory of God.

2Corinthians 9:14f: … in their prayers for you their hearts will go out to you, because of the surpassing grace God has given you. Thanks be to God for his indescribable gift.

Ephesians 1:16: I have not stopped giving thanks for you, remembering you in my prayers.

Ephesians 5:4: Nor should there be obscenity, foolish talk or coarse joking … but rather thanksgiving.

Ephesians 5:20: … always giving thanks to God the Father for everything …

Philippians 1:3: I thank my God every time I remember you.

Colossians 1:3: We always thank God, the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, when we pray for you…

Colossians 1:9-12: We have not stopped praying for you … giving thanks to the Father, who has qualified you …

Colossians 2:7: … overflowing with thanksgiving.

Colossians 3:15-17: Let the peace of God rule in your hearts … and be thankful. … with gratitude in your hearts to God … whatever you do … do it all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through him.

Colossians 4:2: Devote yourselves to prayer, being watchful and thankful.

1Thessalonians 1:2: We always thank God for all of you, mentioning you in our prayers…

1Thessalonians 2:13: We also thank God continually … that you accepted (the word) …

1Thessalonians 3:9: How can we thank God enough for you in return for all the joy we have in the presence of our God because of you …

1Thessalonians 5:18: … pray continually; give thanks in all circumstances, for this is God’s will …

2Thessalonians 1:3: We ought always to thank God for you … because your faith is growing …

1Timothy 2:1: I urge … requests, prayers, intercession and thanksgiving be made for everyone

1Timothy 4:3-5: … which God created to be received with thanksgiving, For everything God created s good, and nothing is to be rejected if it is received with thanksgiving, because it is consecrated by the word of God and prayer.

2Timothy 1:3: I thank God … as night and day I constantly remember you in my prayers.

Philemon 4: I always thank my God as I remember you in my prayers …

Paul's words express an over-arching and undergirding attitude of thankful awareness of God, of God's sovereign power and will, and of God's presence with him. This thankfulness exists despite the unpleasantness and the threats of his circumstances. This thankfulness persists, regardless of the difficulties created by his own present sinfulness and the present sinfulness of his fellow believers.

May such a thankfulness, grounded on the being and nature of God, live and grow in our hearts and minds!

© Rosemary Bardsley 2017