One of the great commandments is to give thanksgiving to God, for all He has done for us. In Psalms 100:4 we are taught to, "Enter into his gates with thanksgiving, and into his courts with praise: be thankful unto him, and bless his name." Christ, himself, was the perfect example of obeying this commandment. Here is a list of 11 ways in which we can show thanksgiving to God.
1. Remember HimThe first way to show true thanksgiving to God is to always remember Him. Remembering Him means that He is a part of our thoughts, words, and deeds. It is impossible to give gratitude to God if we never think or speak of Him. When we remember Him we are choosing to think, speak, and act as He would have us do. We can also memorize scriptures and quotes on gratitude to help us remember to give thankgiving to God.
2. Recognize His HandTo give thanksgiving unto God we must recognize His hand in our lives. What blessings has he given to you? A great idea is to get out a piece of paper (or open a new document) and number your blessings one by one. As you count your blessings be specific. Name individual family members and friends. Think of your life, health, home, city, and country. Ask yourself what, exactly, about your home or country is a blessing? How about your skills, talents, education, and job? Think about those times that seemed like a coincidence, did you overlook God's hand in your life? Did you think of God's greatest gift, His Son, Jesus Christ? You will be amazed at how many blessings you truly have. Now you can show thanksgiving to God for them.
3. Give Thanksgiving in PrayerOne way of showing our thanksgiving to God is through prayer. Elder Robert D. Hales of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles said it most eloquently:
"Prayer is an essential part of conveying appreciation to our Heavenly Father. He awaits our expressions of gratefulness each morning and night in sincere, simple prayer from our hearts for our many blessings, gifts, and talents.Even if you've never prayed before, you can learn how to pray. All are invited to give thanksgiving to God in prayer.
"Through expression of prayerful gratitude and thanksgiving, we show our dependence upon a higher source of wisdom and knowledge.... We are taught to 'live in thanksgiving daily.' (Alma 34:38) ("Gratitude for the Goodness of God," Ensign, May 1992, 63).
4. Keep a Gratitude JournalAn excellent way to show thanksgiving to God is by keeping a gratitude journal. A gratitude journal is more than just a list of your blessings, but a way to record what God has done for you on a daily basis. In General Conference Henry B. Eyring talked about keeping just such a record:
"As I would cast my mind over the day, I would see evidence of what God had done for one of us that I had not recognized in the busy moments of the day. As that happened, and it happened often, I realized that trying to remember had allowed God to show me what He had done." ("O Remember, Remember," Ensign, Nov 2007, 66–69).I have been keeping my own gratitude journal. It has been a wonderful blessing and has helped me to show thanksgiving to God!
5. Repent of SinsRepentance alone is an amazing blessing for which we should give thanksgiving to God, yet it is one of the most powerful ways in which we can show unto Him our gratitude. Elder Hales also taught this principle:
"Gratitude is also the foundation upon which repentance is built.Not only does repentance cleanse us of our sins but it makes us worthy to receive additional blessings, which the Lord is eager to bestow upon us. Following the steps of repentance truly is a simple, yet powerful, way to give thanksgiving to God.
"The Atonement brought mercy through repentance to balance justice.... Repentance is essential to salvation. We are mortal—we are not perfect—we will make mistakes. When we make mistakes and do not repent, we suffer."
6. Obey His CommandmentsOur Heavenly Father gave us everything we have. He gave us our lives, to live here on earth, and the only thing he asks of us is to obey his commandments. King Benjamin, from The Book of Mormon, spoke to his people about our need to keep God's commandments:
"I say unto you that if ye should serve him who has created you from the beginning...if ye should serve him with all your whole souls yet ye would be unprofitable servants.
"And behold, all that he requires of you is to keep his commandments; and he has promised you that if ye would keep his commandments ye should prosper in the land; and he never doth vary from that which he hath said; therefore, if ye do keep his commandments he doth bless you and prosper you" (Mosiah 2:21-22).
7. Serve OthersI believe that one of the most profound ways in which we can truly give thanksgiving to God is through serving him by serving others. He told us that, "Inasmuch as ye have done it unto one of the least of these my brethren, ye have done it unto me" (Matt 25:40). Thus, we know that to give thanksgiving to God we can serve Him, and to serve Him all we need to do is serve others. It's so simple. All it takes is a little planning and personal sacrifice and even then many opportunities to serve our fellowmen will arise when the Lord knows we are willing and seeking to serve each other.
8. Express Gratitude to OthersWhen others help or serve us they, in turn, are serving God. In a way, when we express our gratitude to those who serve us we are truly showing thanksgiving to God. We can easily acknowledge the service of others by saying "thank you", sending a card or quick email, or with just a nod of the head, a smile, or a wave of the hand. It doesn't take much effort to say thank you and the more we do the easier it will be.
9. Have an Attitude of GratitudeThe Lord created us to be happy. In the Book of Mormon there is a scripture that clearly states this: "Adam fell that men might be; and men are, that they might have joy" (2 Nephi 2:25). When we choose to have a positive attitude and to live our lives in joy we are showing our thanksgiving to God. We are showing to Him that we are grateful for our very life which he's given to us. When we are negative we are not.
"If ingratitude be numbered among the serious sins, then gratitude takes its place among the noblest of virtues" (Thomas S. Monson, "An Attitude of Gratitude," Ensign, May 1992, 54).We can choose to have an attitude of gratitude, just as we can choose to have a bad attitude. Which do you think God would have us choose?
Humility begets gratitude while pride begets ingratitude. In the parable of the pharisee and the publican (Luke 18:9-14) Jesus Christ taught what happens to those who are lifted up in pride and those who are humble. He said, "For every one that exalteth himself shall be abased; and he that humbleth himself shall be exalted" (Luke 18:14). In the face of adversity we must make a choice. We can react to our afflictions by becoming humble and thankful, or we can become angry and bitter. As we choose to be humble we are showing thanksgiving to God. We are showing to Him that we have faith in Him, that we trust Him. We may not know God's plan for us, but as we humble ourselves, especially in adversity, we are submitting ourselves to His will.