32 Reasons to Give Thanks
The English pastor and commentator Matthew Henry (1662-1714) wrote a book on prayer just two years before his death. Henry's A Method for Prayer is the result of a life of meditating upon and praying through the Scriptures. This book is essentially an outline that walks the Christian through prayers of Adoration, Confession, Petition, Thanksgiving, Intercession, and a Conclusion. With each heading, he provides the content of the prayers from the Scriptures itself, because he hoped to give “an instance of the sufficiency of the Scripture to furnish for us for every good work.”1 Henry encourages the Christian to use God’s own words as the primary vocabulary for the words that we speak back to Him.
Under the heading for the Thanksgiving, Henry explained that we are to give special thanks to God for all his goodness to us. He then set out numerous reasons for which all men ought to give thanks to God. He has sustains our lives. He provides all the things required for our existence. The sun shines. The rain falls. The seasons turn from one to the next. The generations continue. But there are some things for which Christians are to give special thanks. Henry list 32 things different reasons for thanksgiving. This list gives us ample reason to offer up prayers of thanksgiving to our generous God:
- When man was lost and undone, God redeemed and saved him. “For we ourselves were once foolish, disobedient, led astray, slaves to various passions and pleasures, passing our days in malice and envy, hated by others and hating one another. But when the goodness and lovingkindness of God our Savior appeared, he saved us, not because of works done by us in righteousness, but according to his own mercy, by the washing of regeneration and renewal of the Holy Spirit, whom he poured out on us richly though Jesus Christ our Savior” (Titus 3:3-6).
- For the eternal purposes and counsel of God concerning man’s redemption. “Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us in Christ with every spiritual blessing in the heavenly places, even as he chose us in him before the foundation of the world, that we should be holy and blameless in before him” (Eph 1:3, 4).
- For the Redeemer. “For God so loved the world that he gave his only Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life” (Jn 3:16).
- For the promises from the beginning that God would redeem man. “I will put enmity between you and the woman, and between your offspring and her offspring; he shall bruise your head, and you shall bruise his heel” (Gen 3:15).
- For God’s favor to the Old Testament church. “Not one word has failed of all his good promise, which he spoke by Moses his servant” (1 Kings 8:56).
- For the incarnation of the son of God and his coming into the world. “The eternal Word was made flesh, and dwelt among us” (Jn 1:14).
- For God enabling His Son to do the work of redemption. God gave Christ “authority over all flesh, to give eternal life to all whom” God gave to Christ (Jn 17:2).
- For the perfection of Christ. “Truly this was the Son of God!” (Mt 27:54).
- For the encouragement of Christ to all sinners. “For I came not to call the righteous, but sinners” (Mt 9:13).
- For the full satisfaction of Christ’s redemption. “Christ redeemed us from the curse of the law by becoming a curse for us” (Gal 3:13).
- For the resurrection on the third day. “For to this end Christ died and lived again, that he might be Lord both of the dead and of the living” (Rom 14:9).
- For the ascension into heaven and his sitting at God’s right hand. “We have such a high priest, one who is seated at the right hand of the throne of the Majesty in heaven” (Heb 8:1).
- For Christ’s intercession on our behalf. “We have an advocate with the Father, Jesus Christ the righteous” (1 Jn 2:1).
- For Christ’s dominion and sovereignty. He is “King of kings and Lord of lords” (Rev 19:16).
- For Christ’s Second Coming. “’Surely I am coming soon.’ Amen. Come, Lord Jesus!” (Rev 22:20).
- For the Holy Spirit. You “were sealed with the promised Holy Spirit, who is the guarantee of our inheritance until we acquire possession of it” (Eph 1:13, 14).
- For the Covenant of Grace. In Christ God has made “with you and everlasting covenant” (Is 55:3).
- For the Scriptures. “The Scriptures bear witness about” Christ (Jn 5:39).
- For the Sabbath and the ministry of the church. “He gave the apostles, the prophets, the evangelists, the shepherds and teachers, to equip the work of ministry, for building up the body of Christ” (Eph 4:11, 12).
- For the global growth of the church. “So the word of the Lord continued to increase and prevail mightily” (Acts 19:20).
- For the preserving of the church. “The gates of hell shall not prevail against” the church (Mt 16:18).
- For the martyrs and confessors. “We are surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses, let us also lay aside every weight, and sin which clings so closely, and let us run with endurance the race set before us” (Heb 12:1).
- For the communion of the saints and the fellowship of believers. “Because there is one bread, we who are many are one body, for we all partake of one bread” (1 Cor 10:17).
- For the hope of eternal life. We have a “hope of eternal life, which God, who never lies, promises before the ages began” (Titus 1:2).
- For the work of the Holy Spirit in purifying your conscience. “They show that the work of the law is written on their hearts, while their conscience also bears witness” (Rom 2:15).
- For salvation wrought in us by the work of God. “He has delivered us from the domain of darkness and transferred us to the kingdom of his beloved Son, in whom we have redemption, the forgiveness of sins” (Col 1:13, 14).
- For the remission of sin and peace of conscience. “Bless the Lord, O my soul, and forget not all his benefits, who forgives all your iniquity, who heals all your diseases, who redeems your life from the pit, who crowns you with steadfast love and mercy, who satisfies you with good so that your youth is renewed like the eagle’s” (Ps 103:2-5).
- For divine grace to sanctify and preserve us. “On the day I called, you answered me; my strength of soul you increased” (Ps 138:3).
- For sweet communion with God through the church. “They feast on the abundance of your house, and you give them drink from the river of your delights. For with you is the fountain of life; in your light do we see light” (Ps 38:8, 9)
- For answer to prayer. “Blessed be God, because he has not rejected my prayer or removed his steadfast love from me!” (Ps 66:20).
- For support in adversity. “Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of mercies and God of all comfort, who comforts us in all our affliction, so that we may be able to comfort those who are in any affliction, with the comfort with which we ourselves are comforted by God. For as we share abundantly in Christ’s sufferings, so through Christ we share abundantly in comfort too” (2 Cor 1:3-5).
- For the faithfulness of God’s promises. “Not one word of all the good promises that the Lord had made to the house of Israel had failed; all came to pass” (Josh 21:45).
1. Matthew Henry and J. Ligon Duncan, A Method for Prayer. (Christian Focus, 1994), 14.