Rejoice always, pray continually, give thanks in all circumstances; for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus (1 Thess. 5:16-18 NIV).
I don’t know about you but I am beginning to notice some changes during our 30 Days of Thankful. The changes aren’t huge ones—more like a shift in the atmosphere. But they’re real nonetheless.
For example, yesterday I noticed a softening in a very difficult extended family member’s attitude. And a friend who I’ve been reaching out to for years is becoming more tender to the gospel. Just the other day, I experienced an unexplainable feeling of hope in a long-standing problem that had begun to feel hopeless. I wonder if you’ve noticed some changes, too?
As I become more thankful, I’m more aware of God’s blessings all around me. And no wonder, since the words in the New Testament for thank and bless are practically the same. Both can be used to translate the Greek word eulogeo, which means “to speak well of or to give praise.” More thanksgiving naturally leads to a greater sensitivity to my blessings.
But the vagueness of praying for God to “bless” my food, my friends, or my family was a problem until I learned a simple tip from our friend John DeVries, founder of Mission India.
In his wonderful book, Why Pray? DeVries recommends praying for blessings by focusing on five areas which correspond with the letters for B-L-E-S-S:
B – Body – For physical health, safety, strength
L – Labors – For the success and prospering of their work
E – Emotions – For emotional health, peace and joy to replace fear and anxiety
S – Social life – For social relationships, family to have love and unity
S – Spiritual life – For each to know Jesus personally and grow in their spiritual lives
I set my cell phone each day to remind me to pray for several special people. And I pray the BLESS prayer when someone comes to mind and I’m not sure how to specifically pray for them. Why not take a minute right now to B-L-E-S-S a friend, a family member, a government leader, or even the ruler of a nation. And while you’re at it, be thankful in advance for what God will do in response to your prayer.