Thankfulness as a Sacrifice

by Elaine Helms

“Through Him then, let us continually offer up a sacrifice of praise to God, that is, the fruit of lips that give thanks to His name.” Hebrews 13:15 NASB

I was having one of those mornings when I just didn’t feel like saying thank you for anything. It wasn’t just a bad hair day; I was running late for work. When I turned onto a two lane road by the river, a car darted around me in a no passing zone, and then slowed down.

My attention was immediately drawn out my window to the daffodils beginning to bloom next to the road. I suddenly said out loud, “Lord, thank you for the beautiful flowers!”  I started to laugh and prayed, eyes open, “God that was You! You are working in my heart.” It wasn’t that long ago that in a similar situation, I would have started fuming that someone was in my way and slowing me down.

My whole mood changed as other things to be thankful for entered my mind. I began to praise God for my health, a comfortable car with heat, paved roads, and traffic lights so I could get across a busy intersection. The slow car in front of me actually turned right at that intersection, so I thanked God for that, too. I even thanked God for the job that I was rushing to get to.

My spirits began to rise, and I began to pray for the day ahead, the people I worked with who might also be having my kind of Monday morning. The projects we were working on that week were my next topic of prayer. I arrived at my destination before I could even finish praying for all my co-workers! Spring wasn’t completely here, but I noticed a spring in my step as I walked to the building.

With just a little gratitude, my attitude had completely changed. God knows us so well, He created us after all. When He gives a command like “continually offer up a sacrifice of praise to God,” it’s for our good. Gratitude equals joy – that inner joy that is not based on our circumstances. I am a child of God and I have much for which to be thankful.

The verses in 1 Thessalonians 5:17-18, NASB came to mind, “Pray without ceasing; in everything give thanks; for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus.” It does make sense that in my walk with Jesus, there is opposition – my flesh wants control. It is a challenge to make my flesh submit to the Holy Spirit within me, but that is the goal.

Once inside the building, I was shocked to see in passing a mirror that my hair didn’t seem that bad. I had a smile for those I encountered on my way in, and I invited my secretary to join me in my office to pray about our busy week ahead. What a difference a little thankfulness had made in my day.

Maybe that’s why Jesus told the disciples and us in Mark 14:38 (NASB), “Keep watching and praying that you may not come into temptation; the spirit is willing, but the flesh is weak.”

This article is brought to you by the Advanced Writers and Speakers Association (AWSA).

About the author: With her passion for God, humor, vulnerability and spiritual strength, Elaine Helms encourages audiences and readers to draw closer to God and live the abundant life Jesus came to give His followers. Prayer Coordinator for the Southern Baptist Convention for 10 years and for My Hope America with Billy Graham for two years, Elaine has 30 years of experience in church, national, and interdenominational prayer leadership. www.ChurchPrayerMinistries.org or erhelms@bellsouth.net

Prayer 101: What Every Intercessor Needs to Know

Prayer 101, What Every Intercessor Needs to Know, is a comprehensive guidebook for discovering how to pray as God intends. You’ll journey through Scripture, find inspiration in the stories of others, and learn simple and effective principles for prayer. An ideal resource for groups, Prayer 101 includes review questions for each chapter and a prayer ministry guide for churches eager to put prayer into action.

Join the conversation: For what are you thankful today?

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