If we find ourselves at a loss for words unable to think of things for which to be thankful, we should turn to the Psalms. The psalmist knew how to thank the Lord for many different things, whether in times of joy or sorrow.
One of the common characteristics we find in the apostle Paul’s letters is the number of times he gives thanks to God in prayer. The opening of Paul’s letter to the Ephesians is an example of this:
I do not cease to give thanks for you, remembering you in my prayers. (Eph. 1:16)
Paul was a man forgiven of much and so his prayers were punctuated with thanksgiving for all of the blessings he received from God. Paul’s thankfulness finds precedent especially in the Psalms, what Dietrich Bonhoeffer called the prayer book of the Bible. In this regard, Psalm 136 stands out as it repeats a continual refrain, “Give thanks to the Lord,” and then lists many different things for which the psalmist was thankful. Can we say the same about our own prayers?
It’s easy to forget to thank God for his blessings in our lives.
To be honest, this is sometimes a shortcoming in my own prayers. I’m quick to take my needs to Christ in prayer but almost as equally quick to forget to thank him for the blessings in my life. Perhaps part of my own forgetfulness on this account is due to the fact that I don’t regularly take brief inventory of God’s blessings in my life.