Praise and Thanksgiving
It’s November, the month we celebrate Thanksgiving, and that always brings to mind themes of thankful hearts and all that God has done. We know we should be sincerely grateful to God for our many blessings, and we are! But sometimes we miss another life changing aspect, and that is the element of praise.
Praise and thanksgiving are closely related and can significantly empower our lives. At the same time, there is a difference between the two, and this important fact was something I missed for a long time. I had always thought that giving thanks was what it meant to praise God. It was not until I realized the difference between thanksgiving and praise that I come to a new place in finding peace in difficult situations and began to experience powerful changes within all areas of my life.
So what’s the difference anyway?
Giving thanks is expressing gratitude to God for all He has done and all He has given us. Praise, on the other hand, is worshiping God for who He is. When we praise God, we focus on His nature and character. When we thank God, we focus on what He has done for us.
What Thanksgiving Does
There is a myriad of things for which we can be thankful. We can thank God for answered prayers, for providing for our physical needs, for friends and family, for His presence and His truths. Our lists could go on and on!
Thanksgiving is essential and beautiful and pleasing to God and it does many things in our lives.
• It keeps us grateful.
• It keeps us focused on our blessings and the good things we have.
• It helps keeps our mind away from our disappointments or losses.
• It brings joy. It keeps us from complaining and having a negative focus.
• It generates joy.
• It pleases God.
• It reminds us that we were not meant to be self-sufficient. God is the giver of all things.
And all these things defeat the enemy! He cannot stand to be around hearts that are thankful to God. That’s one good reason for giving thanks, isn’t it!
What Praise Does
When we praise God, we focus on who God is apart from what He’s done for us. We are looking at His nature and characteristics, the footers of the firm foundation we have holding us up through all of life’s circumstances. Praise serves some vital purposes.
• It fills our minds with truth about the character of God.
• It gives us strength.
• It takes our focus off ourselves.
• It refreshes and renews our spirit.
• It keeps us humble. We’re lifting Him up rather than focusing on ourselves.
• It invites His presence.
• It helps keep us away from negative thinking.
• It pleases God.
And all this makes the enemy flee! He cannot stand up against the power of Almighty God! What a great reason to be praising God!
Praise and thanksgiving are separate, but yet so connected! You can see evidence of this in the two lists above. If you look back, you’ll see that the effects of thanksgiving and the effects of praise overlap. The person who praises God thanks Him, too!The person who praises God thanks Him, too!Click To Tweet
How Praise Strengthens Your Prayer Life
For years, I missed the power of praise inside of prayer. This kept me from many truths that would have helped me through life’s difficulties. If I had understood the character of God at a deeper level, I would have had something to hold on to. I had a wealth of strength and power waiting behind the door to my prayer closet, but I didn’t know how to open the door.
Once I began learning to praise God for who He is in addition to my thankfulness for what He was doing, my whole life was enriched in a way that is difficult to explain in words. But here are some of the things I began to notice:
• I began to quit looking so intently at my problems.
• I started to depend more on God and less on myself.
• I found my identity and learned the truth about who I am.
• I started feeling more confident, relying on the truth of Who He is and what He can do.
• I began to have a stronger faith because my focus was on His power and strength.
• My mind was filled over and over again with truths about God.
• I felt more peace in my life, even in spite of things that were difficult for me.
When we praise God, we tap into something we can truly rely on – His character. He is who He says He is. His attributes and nature never change, and this is truly something to be thankful for!
When we praise God, we tap into something we can truly rely on - His character. He is who He says He is. Click To Tweet Jesus Christ is the same yesterday, today, and forever. (Hebrews 13:8, NKJV)Click To Tweet
Every good gift and every perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of lights, with whom there is no variation or shadow due to change. (James 1:17, ESV)
Jesus Christ is the same yesterday, today, and forever. (Hebrews 13:8, NKJV)
As a matter of fact, praise is so powerful, it can change our understanding of who we are! When we understand who God is, we can also begin to understand ourselves more fully because we are created in His image. We are far from perfect and yet He created for His glory and our praises are pleasing to Him. That’s beyond what we can imagine when you think of it!
Bring My sons from far away, and My daughters from the ends of the earth – everyone called by My name and created for My glory. I have formed him; indeed, I have made him. (Isaiah 43:6b-7, HCSB)
*Find Part 2 of this series right HERE!
Each verse or passage in the post above is linked to its appropriate page at Bible Hub or and Bible Gateway where you will find free resources for further study. Just click on the verse reference to get there!
Do you have some helpful ways you have added praise or thanksgiving to your life? If so, please share in the comments section below. Your answer may encourage another person!
Dear Heavenly Father, We praise You for being eternal and never changing, for being the solid rock we can stand on. You are the Mighty One, and we praise you! Thank you for all you have given us and for leading and guiding us throughout our days. In Jesus name, Amen!
Next week we’ll take a look at some helpful hands-on resources for adding praise and thanksgiving to your prayer life. You’ll be directed to scripture plans and useful items from this blog and from other encouraging places! Come back and join me again next week!
*This post may be linked in the following places! Click through any of these links for more encouraging words!
Moments of Hope / Tuesday Talk / Tell His Story / Cheerleaders of Faith / Coffee for Your Heart / Sitting Among Friends / Live Free Thursday / Chasing Community / Salt and Light / Heart Encouragement Thursday / Counting My Blessings / Grace and Truth
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