When I think of having a thankful heart I tend to veer toward thanking God for stuff. "Thank You Lord for my family, my home, our income, my health, the car, etc."
Sometimes I pause long enough to express gratitude for the small details that enrich life, like how the full moon lights up our field, the way iridescent soap bubbles look, or the sound of laughter from my kids’ room down the hall. Though not tangible, these realities create joy.
I want to start 2018 with praise and thanksgiving, and with a thankful heart. But as I have contemplated thanksgiving, I realized I falter if I concentrate on the things the Lord gives me, rather than focusing on WHO HE IS. What would happen if I thanked God for Himself?
Let's find out! Let's spend the first month of year learning WHO the Lord is and WHAT He does ... and then let's THANK Him for that.
WHO the Creator God of the universe IS deserves much more than 31 days of praise. But concentrating on Him for even that short amount of time radically alters my heart. As I realize all the ways He works, I pray more. I trust more as I rest in His capability. I worry less as I experience His sufficiency.
WHO He Is and WHAT He Does
Doesn’t that sound amazing? That is because it is! Join me and for the next 31 days as we discover and thank God for some of His different attributes, concentrating on:
- who He is and
- what He does.
We will pray about characteristics derived directly from Scripture. And you know what? There is SO MUCH specific Scripture that we can’t possibly cover it all. In fact, we will barely scratch the surface of the uncontainable and eternal Father. But it will be rich and oh so very good.
To join in you can sign up with the form at the end of this post and receive the prayers directly in your email for the month of January. Or just come back to the blog each day.
I have to tell you, the more I study the Word and discover all that God revealed about Himself there, I find myself astounded. Over and over again, I stand in awe of the magnitude of the greatness and surpassing value of my Lord.
He is simply EVERYTHING.
- "I am the Alpha and the Omega," says the Lord God, "who is and who was and who is to come, the Almighty." (Revelation 1:8 ESV)
This verse reveals that our Lord covers the past, present, and future.
- “I am the Alpha and the Omega, the first and the last, the beginning and the end." (Revelation 22:13 ESV)
Our Heavenly Father is the beginning of all and He ends it all. Nothing is out of His hands.
His worth requires me to praise. How could I do any less?
But am I the only one that forgets to do that? Is it only me that becomes distracted with current needs to the point that my eyes forget to look up to the glory that He is?
Scripture repeatedly exhorts us to give thanks, so we will focus on praise for this month. When I get my eyes off myself, it isn't difficult, because honestly, once I focus on Him the praise is a natural response.
Let’s examine a few more verses and then get into prayer.
- Oh give thanks to the LORD; call upon his name; make known his deeds among the peoples! Sing to him, sing praises to him; tell of all his wondrous works! Glory in his holy name; let the hearts of those who seek the LORD rejoice! Seek the LORD and his strength; seek his presence continually! Remember the wondrous works that he has done, his miracles, and the judgments he uttered. (Psalm 105:1-5 ESV)
Look at all those commands. We are told here to give thanks, call upon, make known, sing, tell, glory, seek, and remember the Lord and His work. To accomplish all that we must KNOW the Lord and all His complexities. Like a multi-faceted diamond, He requires continual inspection and study.
Let’s look at a little of what He does for us:
- Bless the LORD, O my soul, and forget not all his benefits, who forgives all your iniquity, who heals all your diseases, who redeems your life from the pit, who crowns you with steadfast love and mercy (Psalm 103:2-4 ESV)
I wish I did not so easily forget His benefits. I look forward to someday, when there will be no lack of knowledge of the completeness of Yahweh. Habakkuk says:
- For the earth will be filled with the knowledge of the glory of the LORD as the waters cover the sea. (Habakkuk 2:14 ESV)
Someday I will always see. So will you.
But until that day we must fill our own mind and hearts with the knowledge of all that God is. It matters because that understanding changes everything. If we don’t truly know the Lord and all He does we will be people who shrink back. We will feel lonely, afraid, and too weak to do anything.
We are insufficient for the needs of the day, but our Lord is not! And He wants to work through, in, and for us. Once we grasp this, not only can we live victoriously, but we can also “make known His deeds among the peoples!”
- Oh, taste and see that the LORD is good! Blessed is the man who takes refuge in him! Oh, fear the LORD, you his saints, for those who fear him have no lack! (Psalm 34:8-9 ESV)
Dear Lord- I want to know You more. I want to begin to see the depths of Your unfathomable love for me.
Thank You that You are not only the beginning of everything, but also the end. Help me to rest in Your completeness.
I confess Lord, that I am forgetful. I often do not remember all Your wondrous works. Maybe that is why I become fearful or greedy or self-centered. Please help me remember all You accomplished in the past so I will walk confidently through this year and whatever it holds.
Thank You Lord that my future is not unknown to You. Thank You that You are already there with the strength I will need for whatever lies ahead.
Thank You also Lord, that You hold last year, in Your care. Some of my past is loss, failure, betrayal, or pain. I leave it all with You and thank You that because of WHO You are WHAT You can do with it, it is not just loss, but material for You to use.
Please grant me the wisdom to see what You are up to in my life and the strength to walk confidently in Your will. I want to stand more in awe of You and less afraid of others.
May this be a year where I abandon the safe shore and instead dive into the deep, clear, eternal, life-giving waters of YOU. I ask You to show me Yourself more clearly than I have ever seen You before.
As I pray through Your attributes our the next 31 days, I ask You to reveal Yourself to me. I want to know You better, see You clearer, and love You deeper.
Thank You for WHO You are.
Thank You for WHAT You do.
- Let everything that has breath praise the LORD! Praise the LORD! (Psalm 150:6 ESV)
Great job! Thanks for praying with me and come back tomorrow for the next prayer when we thank the Lord that He is our Father. What an intimate and rich relationship He allows us to have with Himself.
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