“Rejoice always, pray without ceasing, in everything give thanks; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you." (1 Thess. 5:16-18)
In the above passage the Apostle Paul challenges Christians in three ways:
1. Rejoice always! While this is easy to do when things are going well, how about when we are struggling with one or more issues? However, if we remember that God has promised to work everything out for our good (Rom. 8:28), it becomes easier.
2. Pray without ceasing! Paul does not mean that we should spend every waking hour in fervent prayer, but to pray consistently and persistently. No day should pass without prayer!
3. In everything give thanks! Again, it’s easy to be thankful for the good things in our lives, but “everything" includes the "not so good" things, as well. Don’t misunderstand - I doubt that Paul meant that we should be thrilled about everything that happens in our lives. However, we can LEARN to thank God for virtually anything.
Doing so requires PRACTICE. It’s like exercising your body. Paul practiced thanking God so often that he did so even while chained to the wall of a prison. No matter how bad the situation, Paul always found something for which to thank God.
So where do we start? A great exercise is to “Count Your Blessings” when you begin your day. Don’t get out of bed until you have thanked God for five or more specific things. If married, have your spouse do the same. (Don’t forget to include the kids!) And if you repeat this exercise before retiring at night, you will soon find that you are thanking God for virtually everything!
“Therefore by Him let us continually offer the sacrifice of praise to God, that is, the fruit of our lips, giving thanks to His name" (Heb. 13:15).