Imagine you’re a parent who works hard every day to support their kids. When work is over, you
come home and see the house is a mess, so, despite your exhaustion, you have to clean the house and make dinner. You do this every day, yet your children rarely ever talk to you unless they want to ask you for something. Your work is grueling and you get nothing in return, but you do it for your children because you love them.
The parent in this situation is similar to God. He always provides for us, keeps us safe, and protects us, but we, as humans, often neglect Him. Our prayers are reduced to a quick “Thank you for the food. Let it do our bodies only good. Amen.” or a robotic recitation of the Lord’s Prayer unless we need something from Him. Truthfully, it can be hard to find time to talk to God, especially with our hectic schedules as students.
Nevertheless, we can find time to focus on God through simple acts of thanksgiving, which we
often approach through prayer. When I was learning how to pray, I was taught using the ACTS method: adoration, confession, thanksgiving, and supplication. Adoration, confession, and supplication were quite straightforward to me, but when it came to thanksgiving, there were so many things I was thankful for that I would always end up saying the same things every prayer because I couldn’t sort through the rest of my thoughts: “Thank you for my house. Thank you for a roof over my head, clothes on my back, and food for me to eat. Thank you for my family,” and so on and so forth. While there is nothing wrong with this kind of thanks from a child, we must realize that as we grow in our relationship with God, the way in which we approach Him will also change. Considering how much God does for us, the least we can do is to thank Him. Of course, our words of thanks are insignificant if there is no emotion behind them, so it’s also important to remember why we’re giving thanks. In Psalm 100, the psalmist provides five different ways in which we can give thanks to God and four reasons why we should give thanks, and reflecting on these points can really help to shift our focus back to God.
Verses 1-3 provide us with the first three actions that we should take in giving thanks to God and the first reason why we should do so: “ Shout with joy to the Lord, all the earth!  Worship the Lord with gladness. Come before him, singing with joy.  Acknowledge that the Lord is God!He made us, and we are his. We are his people, the sheep of his pasture.” Here we can see that actions as simple as shouting with joy (or singing), worshiping the Lord, and acknowledging Him as God can count as thanksgiving. This means that even singing a worship song while doing homework can be a way to thank God. And when we sing that song, we can remember that we have a reason to praise God because He made us and cares for us like a shepherd for his sheep. The last two verses give us the last two ways we can give thanks to God and the last three reasons for giving thanks. They read, “ Enter his gates with thanksgiving; go into his courts with praise. Give thanks to him and praise his name.  For the Lord is good. His unfailing love continues forever, and his faithfulness continues to each generation.” Now, the psalmist adds that entering God’s gates (or His presence) with an attitude of thankfulness and praising Him are two more ways of giving thanks. The other reasons why we give thinks are because the Lord is good, His love is constant and endless, and He is always faithful to us.
Always remember the reasons why God is deserving of thanks. Thoughts of His goodness, love,
and faithfulness can comfort you when you need it the most, creating a genuine attitude of thanksgiving regardless of your situation.
Ana Delaney (15) is on staff with CLM/TPS Chapel and a student at The Potter's School.