SOMETHING WAS MISSING in our family worships. I wasn’t sure what. We would read a Bible story and pray our requests again and again: “Dear God, please help Tyson to make an A in math. He really wants to have all As.”
“Please help that older boy at school to quit picking on Zac.”
“Please, Lord, we need a house.”
“Please, God, something is wrong with our car.”
“Please heal our friend.”
“Please, God, do this and do that.
In Jesus’ name, Amen.”
When I later read some verses from Psalms, I realized what was missing!
“We will not hide them from their children, telling to the generation to come the praises of the Lord, and His strength and His wonderful
works that He has done” (Psalm 78:4, NKJV).
The problem was that we were forgetting to praise God for who He is and thank Him for what He has done and is doing.
Family worship began to change! We started leading our sons to give God thanks for everything—especially the stuff we usually take for granted—such as waking up in the morning, seeing, hearing, walking, a warm house, food, and arriving safely home each evening. We had so many gifts to praise Him for! We also began writing down our prayer requests and offering thanks when those requests were answered. Often, God surprised us by giving more than we asked for.
“It is for our own benefit to keep every gift of God fresh in our memory. Thus faith is strengthened to claim and to receive more and more. There is greater encouragement for us in the least blessing we ourselves receive from God than in all the accounts we can read of the faith and experience of others.” —Ellen G. White, The Desire of Ages, p. 348
This was a life-changing experience for our sons. Focusing on praise and remembering God’s answers and blessings through the years helped
them know that He was real. They never doubted His existence! It also helped our sons to be grateful for what they had rather than wishing for more.
I learned another great idea from a family: to write answers to prayer or blessings received on index cards with the date. They kept the cards on the kitchen table in a bowl or basket. At meals, each family member would take a card, read it aloud, and thank God for the blessing.
I am convinced that the more our children see us praising God in all things, the bigger an impact it will have on them. Lecturing your children about being thankful or telling them that they should be grateful doesn’t work. I’ve found it actually has a negative impact on them. But when they see and feel your grateful spirit and the joy you have through your relationship with God, the Holy Spirit will work in their lives too. You may also find that the more you praise God, the more blessings He will pour out!
In Psalm 145 we are encouraged to proclaim, meditate, celebrate, and sing of His goodness. I started praying for God to show me how to do this. He did! And what a difference it made in our family! He will show you, too, when you ask Him.
“Great is the Lord and most worthy of praise; his greatness no one can fathom. One generation commends your works to another; they tell of
your mighty acts. They speak of the glorious splendor of your majesty—and I will meditate on your wonderful works. They tell of the power of your awesome works—and I will proclaim your great deeds. They celebrate your abundant goodness and joyfully sing of your righteousness” (Psalm 145:3-7, NIV).
As God leads you—together with your spouse and children—in developing ways to praise and thank Him, please share those with me. I would love to include more ideas in The Journal for Ministry Spouses.