Day 4 – Thanksgiving
Written by: Kathy Nolen
Philippians 4:6 – Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God.
As we begin this new Sunday School year we want to start well – to do it “right”. We want to be the best, “always pointing to Jesus” teachers we can be, but we quickly realize on our own we will probably not do it well or right, not without God’s help and enabling. That is why our prayers are so very important.
The verse above from Philippians gives us an important element of prayer we often forget. As we ask God for his blessings on this new Sunday School year and new group of children we must not forget to thank Him for blessings already received. With thanksgiving, we are to make our requests to God. Thankfulness should be our default prayer posture.
Thankfulness is a key that unlocks our spirits as we acknowledge God’s goodness and provision in our lives. It tunes our hearts to sing His praise. It changes our prayers from reciting a wish list to a loving, collaborative exchange with our gracious, giving Father. Our trust grows as we remember and recount His faithfulness and deeds of grace and mercy in our lives. It opens our eyes to His bounty.
Ann Voskamp’s book, One Thousand Gifts, challenges us to dare to live fully right where we are by acknowledging the power of thankfulness in our lives, counting the ways God loves and blesses us through the small and ordinary things of life. Every breath is a battle between grudgery and gratitude, according to Ann, and thankfulness is the way we welcome the Kingdom of God in our lives.
What if we applied some of those lessons to our Sunday School planning and class time? What if we remember to thank God for shy, sweet smiles, for cute freckled noses, for children’s’ laughter and loudness? Would becoming more aware and thankful for each small and ordinary gift give more power to our prayers? Would it help “Thy Kingdom Come” in our Sunday School rooms and in the lives of the students we pray for? Would it bring us more contagious, holy joy to share with the children? As we pray for the big things – the Sunday School year, the Children’s Ministry – let’s also train our hearts to notice and be thankful for the small things, to make sure gratitude precedes our petitions and thankfulness turns our eyes from self to our good God.
1 Chronicles 16:34 O give thanks to the Lord, for He is good; For His lovingkindness is everlasting.
Psalm 105:1 Oh give thanks to the Lord, call upon His name; Make known His deeds among the peoples.
Colossians 3:17 Whatever you do in word or deed, do all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks through Him to God the Father.
Colossians 4:2 Devote yourselves to prayer, keeping alert in it with an attitude of thanksgiving.
Kathy Nolen serves faithfully as a Dawson Preschool Ministry Sunday morning teacher, but her sphere of spiritual influence reaches many more ages. She has taught women’s Bible studies, been a conference speaker, is active in the dance community and also wrote daily devotionals for all of Dawson’s KidLife (VBS) leaders this summer. Her heart and passion for Jesus are evident and her words lead you right to the throne of grace.