The holiday season is well under way and we often "give thanks" during the Thanksgiving Day meal. For most folks, thankfulness focuses on circumstantial conditions: family, jobs, income, the food, health, etc. All are very good things to appreciate. But for the Christian, being truly thankful must take on a deeper meaning. The very core of 'thanksgiving' demands that we appreciate the Giver, not just the gifts.
Psalms 100:4 says "Enter His gates with thanksgiving And His courts with praise. Give thanks to Him, bless His name." We often miss the last part, bless His name. In the Lord's prayer, Jesus tells His disciples to pray like this: "...hallowed be Thy Name..." To truly be thankful, we must know God, and His names reveal much about Him. Take an overview of some of God's Names from scripture:
Jehovah Jireh - the Lord who will see to it and provide; Genesis 22:14
Jehovah Nissi - the Lord is my Banner,; Exodus 17:15
Jehovah Shalom - the Lord is peace; Judges 6:24
Jehovah Tsidkenu - the Lord our Righteousness; Jeremiah 23:5-6, Jeremiah 33:16
Jehovah Rophe - the Lord thoroughly makes whole, heals; Exodus 15:25-26
Jehovah M'Kaddesh - the Lord who makes you holy or righteous or sanctifies you; Leviticus 20:7-8, Exodus 31:13
Jehovah Rohi - the Lord is my Shepherd; Psalm 23:1
Jehovah Sabaoth - the Lord of hosts or (victorious) armies (of angels); 1 Samuel 17:45, Isaiah 1:24, 1 Chronicles 11:9, Psalms 48:8
Elohim - Supreme God; Genesis 1:1, used over 2000 times in the Old Testament.
El Shaddai - Almighty God; Genesis 17:1
Emmanuel/Immanuel - God with us; Isaiah 7:14
It becomes easy to give thanks to a God who has limitless power and provides, heals, commands armies, makes us righteous, gives us peace, wants to be known by us, cares for us as a shepherd cares for his sheep and gives us His Name.
Your name was engraved on the palms of His hands from before creation. He knew you before you were born. And still He chose to come, to reveal His character, His will and His nature. He sent a Helper (John 14:26) to aid us, His Holy Spirit as a down payment (Ephesians 1:14, 2 Corinthians 1:22) of our future with Him and gives us many tools and gifts to live victoriously here on earth.
How can we not be thankful? Through a relationship with this loving, giving God, we can be thankful in any circumstance. And prayer is the key. It's available to anyone, any time, any place. A relationship with God begins with us taking the time to pray thankfully, honoring His nature to us revealed in His Names, worshiping Him with our core being (John 4:23-24), praising Him for who He is.
This month, try something different in your prayers. Don't settle for just going through a checklist of needs, wants or circumstances next time you pray. Take a little bit of time to consider God's names and honor Him, period. You may find a whole new level of privilege and wonder in your relationship with God that you want to continue long past Thanksgiving Day.