This year I’ve learned how to be thankful on a larger scale. It started one night more than halfway through the year. I couldn’t sleep and my mind was doing what minds do at that hour: focusing on everything that wasn’t right in my life.

So I did what I have learned to do over the years. I prayed that God would make things better, intervene, soften hearts, and do other things for me.

To be honest I can’t remember how I went from begging to saying thank you. But as I lay there in bed, the night’s sounds floating around me, I thanked God for provision, for the bed I was in, the house I lived in, for the oatmeal I get to eat everyday with my particular mixture of seeds and nuts. I thanked Him for the vehicle we drive, and for how He made sure we were never without a vehicle in this very trying year. I thanked Him for health, and for the ability to exercise.

Every time I said thank You for something, my mind latched onto another thing I should be thankful for. It was as if thankfulness bred more thankfulness. I was on a roll. Next thing I knew, I was even thanking Him for the complications in my life and the areas in which I didn’t ‘have’. Instead of lamenting over what I was missing, I thanked Him for the lessons I was learning by ‘not having’. Yes, I could count it all joy. (James 1:2).

A strange thing happened. I felt lighter. For a moment I let go of wanting to have everything my way and in my timing. I realized how good God has been to us, and how we’ve been in the palm of His hands this entire time. How safe we are! How loved we are!

I went back to sleep with a huge smile on my face. I was bathed in peace and my heart was lighter as I had gained the understanding that our Father is always looking out for us. We often take for granted that because He’s made the promises He has, that we don’t have to return to say thank You for the areas that He is constant in; but if He were to stop doing those things, they would appear to be huge matters to us.

The following day, a bunch of things fell into place for us. Things we had long waited to see, happened. Things smoothed out where before there had only been obstacles. I was blown away. It was as if my Heavenly Father had just been waiting for me to learn this lesson so that He could move me to another level in my relationship with Him.

I realized that just as an earthly parent wants to hear ‘thank you’ for the things done for a child, so does our Father, in whose image we were created. Parents are obligated to do certain things for their children, but when those are received with thankfulness, it makes a world of difference in how giving a parent will be as the child grows.

Since that night I have practiced this kind of prayer on a regular basis. Whenever I can’t sleep, or sometimes just in my devotions time, I will start by saying, ‘Thank You’. It can be a very moving experience because every time it brings me to a place of humility, of understanding how dependent we are on His goodness, His knowledge of what is best for us, and His plans for us. Every time it causes me to let go and to go back to a place of rest. (Is 30:15).

Sometimes when I pray like this nothing changes in situations where I’d like to see mountains move; but, I’m okay with that. This past Sunday was one of those mornings where all I could do was offer my prayers of thanksgiving as I considered the many ways He has taken care of us. I finally told my husband about this new way of praying that I’ve picked up.

As we worshipped it was brought to my remembrance how I used to be dry bones and how I’ve been brought to life. I wept. I couldn’t stop the tears from flowing; I didn’t even want to. We ate the Bread and drank of the Cup, and I knelt using the chair in front of me as my altar. Of all the things I have been thankful for this year as I’ve learned this new way of praying, the most important one hit me: my heavenly Father loved me enough to not let me stay where I was in my comfort zone of dry bones. He took my hand and led me through, continues to lead me through to a different life; and the process isn’t over.

So after giving this some thought I’ve decided to share it with you. It’s too good to keep to myself. Every once in awhile, make your prayer time just about saying, ‘Thank You’. During that time, ask Him for nothing. I’m sure that like me, you will be amazed at how much there is to be thankful for. You’ll be reminded of how faithful He is to you in particular. It will reinforce your understanding of Whose you are: a child of the King; and it will bless your Father’s heart.

And one of them, when he saw that he was healed, returned, and with a loud voice glorified God, and fell down on his face at His feet, giving Him thanks. And he was a Samaritan. So Jesus answered and said, “Were there not ten cleansed? But where are the nine? Were there not any found who returned to give glory to God except this foreigner?” And He said to him, “Arise, go your way. Your faith has made you well.” (Luke 17: 15-19 NKJV)

©Debbie Mendoza, November 2017.

Debbie Mendoza is the author of Exodus: A Journey Through Divorce and JoyHope.


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