Cultivating a heart that is thankful to God is an important part of our spiritual growth. It’s easy to find reasons to be thankful when we set our heart on it.
When life gets tough and situations go sour it’s hard to feel like you want to be thankful about anything. Sometimes winter seasons can bring on that kind of discouragement.
It’s like a black cloud hovers over every part of your life and all you can see is gloom and rain. You even start thinking of changing your name to Eeyore, but “why bother?”.
I have personally walked through hard seasons where it’s tough to see the sun when a cloud of woe is over me. But it’s in those dark times that it’s pivotal that we get our eyes off of our ugly circumstances and look to God.
One of those ways we can help our eyes focus on the greater truth is by cultivating thankfulness in our hearts.
Psalm 100:4 says, “Enter his gates with thanksgiving, and his courts with praise! Give thanks to him; bless his name!”
Thanksgiving has the ability to take you where you are right now and move you spiritually foreword by opening the gates of heaven. It transitions your heart and mind into a place of worship and praise.
The reason it does this is that you get your eyes off of the thing that is dragging you down and onto Him.
But how do we get to that place when we are in an Eeyore mindset? There is a lot of tools to help you grow in this area, but here are three things that help me when I’m having a hard time cultivating a heart of thankfulness.
Cultivating Thankfulness to God
Pray for a Thankful Heart
One of the things I love about God is that He doesn’t get offended by the things we ask for. His feelings are not hurt when you ask Him, “Hey Lord I need help loving you more…”
Now, imagine saying that to your significant other. Yeah, that’s not going to be a fun conversation.
God isn’t like that. We can go before Him and ask Him straight out, “Lord help me cultivate a heart that is full of thankfulness.”
Or sometimes we need to pray, “Lord forgive me and I repent for having an ungrateful heart, help me to see things through your eyes.”
Whatever you feel like you need to say to Him, say it! Talk to Him. Humbling yourself and asking for His help is the first step in getting a breakthrough in all areas of our life.
Be real and raw that’s how God likes it. Don’t believe me? Read the Psalms!
Stones of Remembrance
In the Old Testament, there were times when God would do incredible acts before the Israelites and God would request them to create a monument of stones. These stones were to be a visual testimony that God moved on their behalf. That way future generations would see and ask to hear the testimony of God. (Joshua 4)
It’s powerful to reflect on your personal testimonies of things God has done in our history. We all have personal stones of remembrance in our lives that build a monument to God’s love, power, and faithfulness. It’s hard not to be thankful when you see how much He has done in your life.
I encourage you to take some time and write out your testimonies. Reflect back on them and start thanking Him for all He has done.
Psalm 51:12 – Restore to me the joy of your salvation and grant me a willing spirit, to sustain me.
Read Bible Stories and Biographies of Believers Who Have Overcome.
I know this may sound weird to do, but it does help to get your eyes onto the life of other people. I cannot tell you the countless times I have read people’s stories of hardship and think, “Why am I having a pity party?! My life is easy compared to what that person went through!”
For example, think of the life of Joseph. He was sold into slavery from his family, falsely accused, and treated like a criminal! Compared to THAT my life is awesome!
And then you keep reading and see how God’s faithfulness manifested in their lives. It’s a boost of encouragement, and realization of the greater truth. God is able to work incredible ways in people’s lives. It reminds me of T.D Jakes quote… A setback is a setup for a comeback!
These testimonies can really help you cultivate a heart of thankfulness to God. If you haven’t tried I encourage you to pick up the Bible or a book. Here are some biographies I have enjoyed…
Reasons to be Thankful to God
Give thanks to him who alone does mighty miracles. His faithful love endures forever. Give thanks to him who made the heavens so skillfully. His faithful love endures forever. Give thanks to him who placed the earth on the water. His faithful love endures forever. Give thanks to him who made the heavenly lights — His faithful love endures forever. The sun to rule the day, His faithful love endures forever and the moon and stars to rule the night. His faithful love endures forever. – Psalm 136:4-9
If you wanting to dig a little deeper into finding reasons for being thankful then these 3 key areas should help you get started!
We have sooooo much to be thankful when it comes to our spiritual life. God has given us the BEST gift ever…His precious son Jesus! We are saved, sanctified, and going to spend eternity with God, because of Him. Somebody get HAPPY!
“Thanks be to God for his indescribable gift!” 2 Corinthians 9:15
Not to mention we get to enjoy His wonderful presence while still here on earth. We have the joy of experience fellowship with Holy Spirit and witnessing God work in us and in others.
Don’t look at what you don’t have, but look at what you DO have. God has provided you with so much. Even the little things like the ability buy your favorite coffee drink or book.
Then look at the BIG stuff. Do you have roof over your head? Do you have food for you and your family? Sometimes we overlook this stuff, but we should be thankful for these things.
Looking at family and friends can be a good way see how richly blessed you are. This is not a time to focus on people who have hurt you, but to look at people who have been there for you.
Make a Thankful List or Gratitude List
If you are wanting to find more reasons to be thankful to God. Then it’s a good time to start a Thankful List. I have made one for you to download for free! You can print it out and start working on it.
It’s a great way to stop and really think about all the blessings you have around you. There are 50 things you can list which really gets you thinking. Like I don’t know about you but I am sure thankful for indoor plumbing!
Click Here to Download! >> Thank You, Jesus Thankful List
How to Give Thanks to God
Give thanks to the God of gods. His faithful love endures forever. Give thanks to the Lord of lords. His faithful love endures forever. Psalm 136:2-3
Giving thanks to God doesn’t have to be complicated or some kind of lofty spiritual act. You know something a Pharisee or pompous religious leader would do.
It is a POWERFUL spiritual act when one key thing is involved. And that’s your heart. When your heart is 100% on giving thanks.
Now you can express thanks to God in numerous ways and all give worship and praise to God.
- With your Words: Prayer, Singing, Declaring, Speaking it Out –
- With your Body: Praise (learn more about praise) – Psalm 138:2
- With your Giving: Offering yourself, your time, your finances ..etc
Like I mentioned above the key element is your heart being 100% in. You can say, “thank you, Jesus.” and not really mean it and then you can say that exact phrase and it can come out a deep place of appreciation in your heart.
But the Lord said to Samuel, “Do not look on his appearance or on the height of his stature, because I have rejected him. For the Lord sees not as man sees: man looks on the outward appearance, but the Lord looks on the heart.” – 1 Samuel 16:7
These are some ways that help me cultivate a heart of thankfulness. And I hope they help you in your journey with God. If you are looking for more ways to give you faith boost. Check out my post on 7 Hope Boosting Tools to Strengthen your Faith.
What are some of your favorite ways to be thankful to God? Leave a comment below and share how you strengthen yourself in the Lord!
And whatever you do, in word or deed, do everything in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through him.”—Colossians 3:17
Melissa is a passionate minister, speaker and an ongoing learner of the Bible. She has been involved in church and vocational ministry for over 18 years. And is the founder of Think About Such Things. She has the heart to equip the saints by helping them get into the Word of God and fall more in love with Jesus. She also enjoys family, cooking, and reading.
She has spoken in churches in California, Oregon, Texas, and Mexico and has been featured in Guidepost Magazine and All Recipes Magazine. Read More…