5 Ways to Praise God When You Don’t Feel Thankful

Is it just me, or does Thanksgiving feel harder this year?

It’s not just that many of us can’t be together with the people we love. The act of authentically giving thanks to God feels more difficult with everything going on in the world.

But let’s stop and look at the word “thanksgiving” for a moment.

First, we see that “thanks” is something that’s given. It’s willful. It’s a choice.

It’s also a sacrifice. Giving requires giving up something.

So, if that’s the nature of giving, why do we think that giving thanks to God should always be easy? In fact, perhaps thanksgiving is most meaningful when it’s the hardest to give.

  • “Through him then let us continually offer up a sacrifice of praise to God, that is, the fruit of lips that acknowledge his name.” (Hebrews 13:15)
  • “Offer to God a sacrifice of thanksgiving,” (Psalm 50:14)
  • “The one who offers thanksgiving as his sacrifice glorifies me” (Psalm 50:23).

If you’re struggling to feel thankful this year, remember that true thanksgiving is an active act of sacrifice. We don’t overcome sinful or negative feelings simply by trying to feel differently, but by doing differently.

Here are some practical ideas to help you praise God this week:

  1. With your boyfriend, recount all the ways God has been good to you this year. Then, pray a short prayer of praise together.
  2. Read any portion of the Bible and think about what the passage tells you about who God is. Make a list of God’s attributes and thank God for each of them.
  3. Based on that list, write out specific examples from your life where you have seen and experienced the goodness and beauty of God’s attributes.
  4. Think about what you are least thankful for right now (such as not being able to see your boyfriend). Write out a prayer of thanks for it.
  5. Tell yourself the good news of Christ as if you’re hearing it for the first time. Thank God for sending Jesus to die and rise again to give you the gift of life.

Thanking God for both the good and bad things in life isn’t always easy, but it’s in these challenging situations that God refines us and we grow. No matter what is happening, God is good and worthy of our praise.

“The LORD gave, and the LORD has taken away; blessed be the name of the LORD.” (Job 1:21)

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