The African Forum on Religion and Government (AFReG) calls on all Christians to increase our prayers as a faith community dialoguing on “African Identity, Dignity and Justice in the 21st Century.” This Tuesday, December 29th 2020, our theme is “Thanksgiving.”
The will of God regarding “Thanksgiving” is very clear in Scripture. He desires it and for that matter commands His people to give thanks in all situations (Ephesians 5: 20; Colossians 3: 17; 1 Thessalonians 5: 18).
“Sacrifice thank offerings to God, fulfill your vows to the Most High, and call on me in the day of trouble; I will deliver you, and you will honor me.” (Psalm 50: 14)
“Enter his gates with thanksgiving and his courts with praise; give thanks to him and praise his name.” (Psalm 100: 4)
Why is thanksgiving so important to God? We know whatever God commands us to do is ultimately good for us. What are the benefits of thanksgiving?
- It is worship
Those who offer thanksgiving as spiritual offering honor and worship to God. (Psalm 50: 23)
- It expresses our gratitude to God
When we thank God, it shows our gratitude to Him for His blessings on our lives. Thanksgiving is meaningful when it is done with a spirit of gratitude rather than out of a sense of duty. It should not be a dreaded religious activity, for God loves cheerful givers.
- It expresses our trust in God
To give thanks to God in our experiences is an expression of our trust in Him. We essentially entrust our fate to Him because we know that He is the sovereign and righteous God who loves us deeply.
- It gives us a positive orientation to the challenges of life
Choosing to thank God in situations encourages us to maintain a positive orientation and outlook. This in turn results in a positive emotional state. When we are positive in our outlook, we also experience positive energy to do the things that God requires of us.
- We bless others when we express thanks to them
Being grateful and thankful to God involves expressing the same to others. How can we claim to be grateful to God who we have not seen when we do not thank our neighbors that we see? We are not simply called to the activities of thanksgiving. We are called to be a grateful and thankful people both to God and our fellow humans.
We should therefore join the Psalmist in declaring:
“I will sacrifice a thank offering to you and call on the name of Yahweh.” (Psalm 116 17)
- Pray for African leaders to be thankful to God for sustaining the continent through this difficult era of COVID-19.
- Thank God that the casualties from COVID-19 have not been as devastating as has been feared.
- Pray for peace, comfort and blessings for families that have lost loved ones to COVID-19.
- Thank God for the successful development of COVID-19 vaccines.
- Pray for the rapid distribution of COVID-19 vaccines in all nations; especially among poorer populations.
- Thank God for all His blessings in the year 2020.
- Thank God for His readiness to usher us into new adventures in 2021.