I have heard people say, “Why should I thank God or Praise Him for anything?” Well, today, I will share some of what I have learned about the reasons for thanksgiving and praise. At the bottom of the blog, I will also add links to a few of the hundreds of scientific studies that have been done on gratitude, praise and thanksgiving in relationship to the effects it has on our brains, health and perspectives leading toward success. Please research this for yourself. It will make a difference in your life if you understand this and apply it to your daily routine. Both the Bible and scientific research agree that gratitude has a profound effect in our lives.
What does the Bible say about gratitude, thanksgiving and praise? Throughout scripture, we are instructed to have a heart attitude of gratitude.
Psalm 100:4 says, “Enter his gates with thanksgiving and his courts with praise; give thanks to him and praise his name.” This verse implies that we can enter through God’s gates and into His courts, but we need to do so with thanksgiving and praise.
Philippians 4:6 “Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication, with thanksgiving, let your requests be made known to God.” (NKJV) When we enter God’s gates with thanksgiving and His courts with praise, we can ask anything of Him. The right attitude in our hearts will produce a crop of blessing in our lives.
Let me ask a question. Have you ever experienced, from either a parent’s or child’s perspective, what happens when a child makes demands and acts like you owe them whatever they damand? As parents, you are more receptive to their requests if they ask with the right attitude. With God, it goes further than that. He loves His children so much that He sometimes refuses to give what is asked for so that we can learn the lessons we need to learn through it. That is not cruel. It is grace extended to us by God so that we can build character.
We do not have the right to make demands of God. He is our maker. He is awsome in power. He extends grace so that we can be lifted up. He is not our servant. We are His servants. We are bought with a price; the price was the sacrificial shedding of Jesus Christ’s blood on our behalf. We owe Him everything. God loves us. He knows we sometimes have a struggle with having the wrong attitude, so in His mercy and grace, He gives and takes away. He knows what is best for us and what will make us grow and mature. That is why scripture is so full of verses about praise and thanksgiving.
But, God never takes away our right to choose between right and wrong. So make the right choice and opt for an attitude of gratitude. It will bring many blessings to your life.
What are those blessings? Well, this is where the scientific studies come in. They show numerous benefits for gratitude, praise, worship and thanksgiving. Here is an excerpt from Psychology Today:
“One study by a couple of American researchers assigned young adults to keep a daily journal of things they were grateful for (Emmons and McCullough, 2003). They assigned other groups to journal about things that annoyed them, or reasons why they were better off than others. The young adults assigned to keep gratitude journals showed greater increases in determination, attention, enthusiasm and energy compared to the other groups. While that shows a clear benefit of gratitude, it also makes a clear distinction. Realizing that other people are worse off than you is not gratitude. Gratitude requires an appreciation of the positive aspects of your situation. It is not a comparison. Sometimes noticing what other people don’t have may help you see what you can be grateful for, but you have to take that next step. You actually have to show appreciation for what you have, for it to have an effect.”
Psalm 22:3 says that God inhabits the praise of His people. If you want to draw close to God, praise will do it. Andrew Womack’s teaching on praise and worship is a good resource for those who want to be obedient to God in this. This is a paragraph from Andrew’s teaching:
“Living a life of praise is not only the most enjoyable way to live, but it’s also one of the most powerful ways to change your life. Praise isn’t like the caboose that just follows what happens, but it’s more like the engine of a train that makes things happen. Your faith isn’t complete without praise. Colossians 2:7 says that you abound in faith with thanksgiving. No thanksgiving equals not abounding in faith.”
Psalm 150:1-6 “Praise ye the LORD. Praise God in his sanctuary: praise him in the firmament of his power. Praise him for his mighty acts: praise him according to his excellent greatness. Praise him with the sound of the trumpet: praise him with the psaltery and harp. Praise him with the timbrel and dance: praise him with stringed instruments and organs. Praise him upon the loud cymbals: praise him upon the high sounding cymbals. Let every thing that hath breath praise the LORD. Praise ye the LORD.” (KJV)
Psalm 77:11 “I will remember the deeds of the Lord; yes, I will remember your wonders of old.” (ESV)
A Harvard University article cites research that shows positive results when participants engage in gratitude.
“Two psychologists, Dr. Robert A. Emmons of the University of California, Davis, and Dr. Michael E. McCullough of the University of Miami, have done much of the research on gratitude. In one study, they asked all participants to write a few sentences each week, focusing on particular topics.
One group wrote about things they were grateful for that had occurred during the week. A second group wrote about daily irritations or things that had displeased them, and the third wrote about events that had affected them (with no emphasis on them being positive or negative). After 10 weeks, those who wrote about gratitude were more optimistic and felt better about their lives. Surprisingly, they also exercised more and had fewer visits to physicians than those who focused on sources of aggravation.
Another leading researcher in this field, Dr. Martin E. P. Seligman, a psychologist at the University of Pennsylvania, tested the impact of various positive psychology interventions on 411 people, each compared with a control assignment of writing about early memories. When their week’s assignment was to write and personally deliver a letter of gratitude to someone who had never been properly thanked for his or her kindness, participants immediately exhibited a huge increase in happiness scores. This impact was greater than that from any other intervention, with benefits lasting for a month.
Of course, studies such as this one cannot prove cause and effect. But most of the studies published on this topic support an association between gratitude and an individual’s well-being.”
Even if cause and effect cannot be absolutely proven through their research, the results are really amazing. Use the link at the bottom to read about other research on this topic.
1 Thessalonians 5:18 “In every thing give thanks: for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus concerning you.” (KJV)
If, for no other reason, we must give thanks, because God’s will requires it. In order to benefit from God’s blessings in our lives, we need to do what God wants us to do. Those of who are christians know that God is real and active in our lives because of the miraculous transformations that are not explainable without God’s intervention being taken into account. God is for us. If we follow His prescriptions for health and wellbeing in the scriptures, we will have obvious results.
Psalm 34:8 says, “Taste and see that the LORD is good; blessed is the one who takes refuge in him.”
Let’s taste of the goodness of the Lord by being obedient to Him. He wants the best for us. But, He will never force us or make us do what we do not want to do. He is a gentleman. If we do not want His blessings, we are allowed to forfeit them.
Psalm 136:1 “Give thanks to the Lord, for he is good! His faithful love endures forever.” (NLT)
Psalm 9:1 “I will praise You, O LORD, with my whole heart; I will tell of all Your marvelous works.” (NKJV)
Psalm 69:30 “I will praise the name of God with a song; I will magnify him with thanksgiving.” (ESV)
Psalm 103:2-5 “Bless the LORD, O my soul, and forget none of His benefits; Who pardons all your iniquities, Who heals all your diseases, Who redeems your life from the pit,Who crowns you with loving kindness and compassion; Who satisfies your years with good things, So that your youth is renewed like the eagle.” (NASB)
In this Psalm we are told what some of the benefits of praise are. Let me list them…
Our sins are forgiven. Our diseases healed. Our life is redeemed from the pit. He crowns us with loving kindness and compassion. He satisfies us with good things. He makes us physically younger.
That last sentence is powerful to me. Have you noticed that some people age better than others? They look younger and healthier than others of their age? Some of that aging process is what we subject our bodies to over time. But, some of that has to do with heart attitude. When someone smiles, they look younger. Praise and thanksgiving, an attitude of gratitude toward God and others will make you look and feel younger.
There are so many other verses that show that we need to worship God with thanksgiving, praise and gratitude. You can find more at: Inspirational Verses
If you do not know how to pray or praise, start by praying these verses.
May God grant you all the blessings that He has in store for you!