Thanksgiving is a word packed with emotion, memories, and anticipation. Giving thanks involves both thankfulness and blessing, but what do they mean? Find out how you can focus on things to be grateful for and how you can bless the Lord today!
Let’s begin with what the Bible has to say on this topic, here are two examples:
The meaning of the word thankful gives us a clue! One word often translated for thankful or to give thanks is the word yadah.
The definition of this word in Hebrew is to throw or cast. This word is most commonly translated as confess, give thanks, and praise. By combining the definition and translation together we come up with the word picture of one who is thankful.
These are prayers we can do throughout the day; we can cast up a prayer when we wake up, take care of children, do our job, drive to our appointment, or even while cooking dinner. There are so many things to be grateful for every day if we take the time to look for them.
When we look at Psalm 100:4, the words thanksgiving, praise, and thankful have been covered in the word yadah. But what about the word bless?
Like thankful, the definition gives us a clue. One word often translated bless is the word barak.
The definition of this word is to bless or kneel. This word is most commonly translated as to bless. By combining the definition and translation together we come up with the word picture of one who is blessing the Lord.
One who is kneeling and offering a blessing to the Lord.
For me, it is easier to give thanks than it is to bless the Lord. Giving thanks is something I can throw up to the Lord as I go through my day.
However, offering a blessing to the Lord is much harder for me. Kneeling makes me stop what I am doing, change positions, and think through what I am saying to the Lord.
Blessings the Lord has been used by believers over the centuries, and some ancient blessings follow a unique pattern: taking note of something, remembering God’s character, and blessing Him for that thing in connection to His character.
For example, here are three sample blessings that use this pattern.
Notice the pattern of blessing the name of God and specifically blessing aspects of His character. The following passage provides examples of how to bless God.
Blessed are you Lord our God, King of the Universe.
As you pray be sure to study and use different names of God as you learn His names and their meaning.
Rainbow: He remembers, He is faithful, He keeps His Word
Blooming tree: He created, He sustains
Bread: He created, He provides for daily food
What about God’s character are you learning and giving thanks for this week?
Rainbow: God will keep His covenants
Blooming tree: God is Creator, What He created is good and to be enjoyed
Bread: God will give me my daily bread
Blessing God in this way, is one way we can focus only on Him and not ourselves or others. Prayers and petitions are needed but when we add blessing God to our prayer life, it will take on a new and deeper diminsion.
These blessings give us ideas on how we can expand this aspect of our prayer life. As the psalms remind us, it is good to be thankful and bless the Lord. Psalm 92:1.
As we enter into this time of Thanksgiving, may we use this season to consistently find things throughout our day to be grateful for, and may we think about practicing thankfulness in two ways: throughout our day casting up prayers of thanksgiving, and taking the time to kneel and bless the Lord.
From all of us at Grapevine we would like hope you have a very Happy Thanksgiving!