“Oh give thanks to the Lord, for He is good, for His steadfast love endures forever!” (Psalms 107:1, ESV)

It’s November, which means we are going to start hearing a lot about thankfulness. (Dare I say it may have even become a little redundant to some by the end of the month?)  But, it’s a topic God takes seriously all year long. The phrases “give thanks,” “thanksgiving,” and “thankfulness” are used a total of 117 times in the Bible. Now, the Bible covers a lot of territory, but if it mentions something 117 times, it’s important.  (And, this isn’t even talking about similar phrases like “rejoice” and “praise the Lord.”)  God wants us to practice thankfulness, rejoicing, and praise because it is good for us.

Science even backs this up with studies showing those who keep a gratitude journal experience better sleep, lower stress, and improved interpersonal relationships.   

There are times when it is easy to give thanks, but what about the times when it does not come naturally and is difficult to practice thankfulness?  Or, what about the average days, when nothing much happened – good or bad?  Is it really necessary to give thanks on those days too?  

Psalm 107:1 says “give thanks to the Lord, for He is good,” and His love for us, which is steadfast, “endures forever.”  No matter what is going on, we can practice gratitude and rest in his steadfast love and constant goodness because they last forever, including the good, bad, and average days.  Constant love and goodness – it’s who He is, thus it does not depend on our worth, response, or merit. Reflecting on God’s deep love for us can lead us to give thanks, no matter what kind of day we are having.

Looking further in Psalm 107, we find these two repeated phrases: 

“Then they cried to the Lord in their trouble, and He delivered them from their distress.” 


“Let them thank the Lord for His steadfast love, for His wondrous works to the children of man!” 

The psalmist used these phrases to frame different ways God had helped His children and gives us a pattern to follow as well: 

  • When difficulties arise, ask God for help.  
  • Watch and wait for His response. 
  • Thank Him, give Him praise, and intentionally remember all He has done.  

Following this pattern of intentional gratitude does two things.  First, it reminds us where to fix our eyes.  We have a loving Father who wants to help us.  Second, as we remember what He has done in the past, it will help us to endure present troubles and increase our faith that God will again respond.  

So, to help us follow the psalmist’s example, we’ve put together a few journal prompts to guide you in this practice of intentional gratitude.  

When difficulties arise, ask God for help.

  • Take a moment to reflect on this year.  What difficult circumstances have you walked through?  Pause and make sure you have allowed yourself time to process the difficult emotions associated with these experiences and ask for help if needed.  
  • Were you able to be thankful in the midst of these difficulties?  If not, can you remember what thoughts were occupying your mind?  Were they helpful or hurtful?  
  • We serve a good God who wants to meet our needs in His perfect wisdom (meaning His answers won’t always be what we expect but will be for our ultimate good).  What needs do you need to turn over to God?  Spend some time writing them down.  If you struggle to release control, ask Him to help you depend on Him.  He’s there, and He wants to help. 

Watch and wait for God’s response.

  • Still thinking about your current needs, are there any Bible verses that would encourage you and strengthen you to persevere through this trial?  (You can do a quick search here to help you find some if needed.) Write them in your journal or on note cards to keep with you. 
  • As you think about the needs you wrote down, can you think of any difficult circumstances that you have walked through previously?  How has God previously met needs in your life?  Take some time to reflect on this and thank Him for how He has proved faithful before. 

Thank Him, give Him praise, and intentionally remember all He has done.  

  • Take a moment to reflect on the goodness of God.  What evidence do you have that points to His goodness? Write your thoughts below and simply praise Him for who He is.  
  • What were the wins for this year?  Take time to celebrate those and look for God’s hand in them.  
  • Have you seen kindness and gentleness in others this year?  Take some time to reflect on this, write a prayer of thanksgiving for their presence in your life, and consider taking it a step further even by telling them if you haven’t already.  
  • Have you felt the nearness of God this year?  In Matthew 28:20, Jesus tells us that He is with us always.  Has it been hard to believe that He is always near?  Why?  Take some time to reflect and thank Him for His continual nearness.
  • Finally, take some time to dwell with your Father right now.  Praise Him for who He is, list out as many adjectives as you can that describe Him.  Praise Him for how He has moved in your life this year, no matter how small or big it seems.  Dwell on Him till you have peace.  

May you find needed strength today as you blend your thanks with your petitions.  May you remember His love for you, His goodness over your life, and remember to reach out to ask for His help.  Whether today is good, bad, or average, may you find thankfulness and be able to rest in His perfect steadfast love that lasts forever.