by Jay Dennis
The “Thank You Prescription” is a transformational challenge to every Christian man that involves specifically focusing on gratitude to God and others who have impacted your life . A prescription is written by a doctor which identifies the type of medication needed in order to bring wellness and health. Paul in I Thessalonians 5:18 gives men a prescription to bring an end to ingratitude and complaining, an end to worry and fear. He said: “In everything give thanks for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus.” Notice Paul doesn’t tell us to give thanks “For” everything but to give thanks “In” everything. “For” would indicate also feeling grateful. Now, you don’t feel grateful for bad news, adverse circumstances, or difficult days, so this is not about a feeling and that is not what Paul is saying. However, when you thank God “in” your circumstances you are choosing to believe that someway, somehow, God is going to work in and through your tests and trials for His glory, for your growth and good and to impact others for God.
The word “give” indicates you are presenting an offering to God, something that costs you something. The cost may be choosing to praise and thank God even when you don’t feel like it or when you can’t see obvious answers. The word “thanks” means gratitude and is a command that is continually to be obeyed as a way of life. Your thankfulness announces your faith that the issue you are facing may be bigger than you, but it is not bigger than the God you are thanking. You place on the altar complaining, a critical spirit, griping, un-forgiveness, bitterness, worry and fear as you, by an act of your will, thank God. You are choosing to thank Him not because of how you feel, but because of Who He is and what He can do. “In everything” means there are no exceptions. We thank Him in every circumstance, every trial, and every bit of bad news that comes our way. Scottish minister Alexander Whyte was known for his uplifting prayers in the pulpit. He always found something for which to be grateful. One Sunday morning the weather was so gloomy that one church member thought to himself, “Certainly the preacher won’t. Think of anything for which to thank the Lord on wretched day like this.” Much to his surprise, however, Whyte began by praying, “We thank Thee, O God, that is it not always like this” (Our. Daily Bread, August 26, 1989).
Paul tells us that when we thank God we are stepping in the center of God’s will. Your choosing to thank God allows you to look above and beyond your present circumstances; it announces God’s presence and your choice to turn everything over to Him; it puts Satan on the run since he is allergic to thanksgiving and praise to God; it causes your faith to be contagious to others as they observe your supernatural, not natural responses; it brings you into the realm of victory and overcoming; and points others toward Jesus Christ. When you thank God in your present circumstances, it is an act of faith, believing that God is at work even when it appears to you He is not.
So I challenge you to fill this prescription by choosing to thank God in everything and applying these 8 specific action steps:
1. Review five Scriptures on thankfulness and meditate on them.
Give thanks to the Lord, for he is good; his love endures forever. I Chronicles 16:34
And whatever you do, whether in word or deed, do it all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through him. Colossians 3:17
Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. Philippians 4:6
Thanks be to God for his indescribable gift! II Corinthians 9:15
I will give thanks to you, Lord, with all my heart; I will tell of all your wonderful deeds.
I will be glad and rejoice in you; I will sing the praises of your name, O Most High. Psalm 9:1-2
2. Ask God to forgive you when you have taken HIs blessings for granted, even those things that could have happened, but didn’t.
3. List five people who have most influenced you and encouraged you. Thank God for them.
Contact them or their family members if they have already passed and express your thankfulness. I think about my 6th grade teacher at Greenwood, Arkansas Elementary School. She was a small Pentecostal lady with a giant heart and boldness for God. Not having grown up in the church, you can imagine how I responded when one day she told the class, “If you don’t receive Jesus Christ into your life as your Savior and Lord, you are going to hell when you die.” Wow, I had never heard that. The seed she planted came to fruition when I was 16 and gave my heart to Jesus Christ.
4. Write down the most difficult issue you are facing right now and begin thanking God for how He is going to work in and through it. Be looking for His answer.
5. Think about those people in your life who are causing you turmoil and thank God for how He is going to work in their lives and yours. If you have been at fault, seek their forgiveness.
6. Bring to God a financial need you may have and begin to thank Him for how He is going to meet that need. Thank Him for how He will use the 90% you have left after tithing and how God will miraculously meet all your needs as you obey Him.
7. Consider the number one thing you are complaining about. Turn it over to God and thank Him for how He is going to work through that.
8. Choose to forgive those who have offended, wounded, betrayed, or hurt you in some way. Then thank God for giving you the power to continue to forgive and even bless those people. My seminary professor, at Fuller Dr. Arch Hart, told us, “Forgiveness is surrendering your right to hurt back those who have hurt you.”
I challenge you around this Thanksgiving time to take the “Thank You Prescription” and fill it by applying these 8 action steps. These will help you to become a better husband, better dad and a more godly man.