It was the Psalmist who declared, "What shall I render unto Jehovah for all his benefits toward me? I will take the cup of salvation, and call upon the name of Jehovah...I will offer to thee the sacrifice of thanksgiving and call upon the name of Jehovah" ~ (Psalm 116:12, 13, 17).
It was said that the Lord sent two angels to earth to gather the petitions and thanksgivings made by his followers. Both angels returned to heaven in distress. The angel bearing the petitions was truly weighted down with his burden. The other angel bringing the prayers of thanksgivings was nearly empty handed. The lesson is obvious and clear. Most of God's children are more apt to make requests, petitions and supplications rather than the giving of thanks. This is often the case in private and public prayers.
We need to listen to our prayers and note that this is true. Our brothers who lead the public prayers during our assemblies should express gratitude to God for all the blessings we have in Jesus (Ephesians 1:3) on behalf of the congregation. It is sad to observe that this is not done very much. I remember hearing a fellow preacher lead prayers in two different assemblies during gospel meetings wherein he never gave thanks for the grace and love of God. It is so needful that we all express our gratitude to our gracious heavenly Father for all of life's blessings that flow so freely from His bountiful hand of grace (James 1:17).
Here are some ways by which we all can be more positive in rendering thanksgiving unto God. We need to enumerate daily our blessings of life rather than dwell on the injuries, disappointments, trials and sorrows that we have experienced. When we think in this manner we chase away the negative thoughts from our minds. Express in your private prayers the gratitude in your heart for your family, friends, food, shelter, raiment, opportunities, freedom and a thousand other things that God has given you. Your daily life should be in the likeness of Jesus Christ. Such will indicate your thankfulness for His death for you. Your countenance of happiness and your trusting manner of life will show others that you are thankful to God for His unmerited favor.
Our songs in worship should be filled with praise and adoration to God and the Lamb. Sadly to say, most of our songs are focused on heaven and of exhorting one another. This is not to say that such should not be sung but to leave songs of praise to God out of our singing is not right. It would be good if our song leaders began our worship assemblies with songs of praise to God.
Our public prayers should burst forth with such expressions as we assemble to render our homage and devotion to God with awe and godly fear. We should carefully read the book of Psalm and notice how much space is devoted to the praise of the Lord God even when the writer was experiencing trials and tribulations in his life. His life was filled with thanksgiving and so should ours. David wrote in Psalm 95:2, "Let us come before his presence with thanksgiving..." Again he stated in Psalm 100:4, "Enter into his gates with thanksgiving..." and in Psalm 69:30, "I will praise the name of God with a song, and will magnify him with thanksgiving."