The Spiritual Rhythms “Five A Day”
Sometimes our hearts overflow with thankfulness. At other times it can be a discipline to look beyond our situation and offer thanks to God. This is highlighted for us in the following Bible verses:
“Give thanks to the Lord, for he is good; his love endures forever.” (1 Chronicles 16:34)
“Be joyful always; pray continually; give thanks in all circumstances, for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus.” ( 1 Thessalonians 5:18)
There are many Bible verses relating to thankfulness e.g. 2 Corinthians 9: 6-15, Philippians 4:4-7, Psalm 100, Psalm 118:1-18
Some Possible Approaches
Giving thanks to God encourages us to consider the good things in our lives, and then direct our attention to God from whom all good things come. You might like to have a time towards the beginning of the service to invite members of the congregation to name things for which they would like to give thanks today, and perhaps give an opportunity to say why they are thankful. The things for which people give thanks could be written on a large piece of paper, or projected on screen, as a reminder throughout the service.
A simple prayer activity is to provide pieces of thread for everyone and a plentiful supply of beads and/or buttons. Invite everyone to add a bead or button to their thread for each thing for which they want to say thank you – allow plenty of time for this to enable everyone to create their own string of blessings. Invite everyone to gather together in a circle or semi-circle and share a simple prayer of thanks. Each person can then take their string of blessings as a prompt to give thanks in the future.1
1 - C Benton-Evans, All-Sorts Prayer, Buxhall: Kevin Mayhew, 2010, p.80
Divide people into groups of four or five and give each group a different Bible passage(s) to look at; ask them to think about how it might be helpful to them and how it might encourage them to give thanks. You might like to include a time for each group to briefly share what they’ve discussed.
561-574 in Hymns and Psalms
70-98 in Singing the Faith (praise and thanksgiving), also 5, 36, 51, 102, 121, and 520