Displace your doubt: The power of prayerful thanksgiving

Dr. Randy Carlson

When you’re thankful for what you have — your health, your family, your resources and so on — it changes how you think and act.

But this kind of thanksgiving is not merely an emotional response to something good that’s happened. It’s intentional, something you offer to God even for the bad things that occur in your life:

“Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God” (Philippians 4:6 NIV, emphasis mine).

That sounds difficult, I know — but it’s incredibly powerful, because when you express thanksgiving in your words and prayers, it will displace your doubt and increase your sense of emotional well-being. You simply cannot have thanksgiving and doubt in the same space.

And the great thing is, you can declare thanksgiving anytime throughout the day — and especially in the night, when those feelings of doubt seem most prevalent. Remember what happened to Paul and Silas in prison when they prayerfully sang praises to God at midnight? Acts 16:26 tells us “the prison doors flew open, and everyone’s chains came loose.”

Here’s one thing you can do to shake off the chains of doubt and grow in prayerful thanksgiving each day: Keep a gratitude journal. List at least one blessing each day — then pray about it and reflect on how God made Himself real to you through it.

And what better time to start your journal than right now in the run-up to the holiday season? It could be your most meaningful Thanksgiving ever!

God desires for you to be a “glass half full” kind of person, one who faces each day mentally and emotionally knowing that “this is the day that the Lord has made; let [me] rejoice and be glad in it” (Psalm 118:24 ESV).

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