God's fundamental spiritual law is love. The two great commandments are to love God with all our being and to love our neighbors as ourselves.
"You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, and with all your strength" (Deuteronomy 6:5).
God teaches us in the Bible that one of the ways we are to love Him is to offer thanks and praise to Him in prayer. Thanks and praise go together. Both express appreciation for God's greatness and perfection.
When we praise God, we express our agreement with His character and His way of life, and we express our gladness that God is good, that He is powerful, and that He is wise. He always knows the best thing to do and He has the power to carry out His decisions. When we praise God, we acknowledge to God that we know He is good and great and we rejoice in that.
When we give thanks to God, we are expressing gladness and appreciation for particular things He has done for us or even for His nature. We are acknowledging that we owe Him appreciation and love for what He is and what He has done. Mr. Herbert W. Armstrong has said that one of the things he thanked God for was the fact that the greatest power in the universe, God Himself, is a power for good, not evil.
God's word, the Bible, is filled with commands and instruction for giving God thanks and praise. The Bible is also filled with examples of thanks and praise to God.
"Sing praise to the Lord, you saints of His, and give thanks at the remembrance of His holy name" (Psalm 30:4). "Oh, give thanks to the Lord! Call upon His name; Make known His deeds among the peoples!" (Psalm 105:1). "Praise the Lord! Oh, give thanks to the Lord, for He is good! For His mercy endures forever" (Psalm 106:1).
Many of the Psalms are examples of praise and thanks to God.
Daniel risked his life to give thanks to God three times a day (Daniel 6:6-10).
Paul's epistles are filled with the giving of thanks to God, and Paul taught that we should give thanks.
"Therefore I exhort first of all that supplications, prayers, intercessions, and giving of thanks be made for all men" (1 Timothy 2:1).
There is a promise in one of our old Church of God hymns that if we pay all our vows to God and give Him praise and thanks, He will hear our prayers when we are in trouble. This is the hymn, "Give Thanks and Offer Praise", on page 40 of the old purple hymnal, which says, "Pay all your vows to God Most High, give thanks and offer praise, and when the day of trouble comes, I'll hear and answer you". This is based on Psalm 50, which says, "Offer to God thanksgiving, and pay your vows to the Most High. Call upon Me in the day of trouble; I will deliver you, and you shall glorify Me" (Psalm 50:14-15).
The most important vow to God that we should pay is our vow at baptism to obey Him. We need to obey His commandments, praise Him, and give Him thanks as a way of life, and then trust Him to hear our prayers and deliver us in time of trouble. This is important. It may not seem so important when things are going well for us, but when we are in a severe trial we will know it is important. We will be able to pray with confidence, knowing that we have kept our vows and have given God praise and thanks regularly. We will be able to trust God to save us.
And trials will come. "Many are the afflictions of the righteous, but the Lord delivers him out of them all" (Psalm 34:19).
We need to be in the habit of frequently praising God and giving Him thanks.
One of the greatest things we should thank Him for is the sacrifice and saving work of Jesus Christ. We should thank Him for creating us and all mankind. We can thank Him for the universe. We can thank Him for revealing His truth and His wonderful plan for the salvation of mankind to us. This is especially important because so few in this world have that calling and that gift of understanding. Perhaps one out of 50,000 or one out of 100,000 people on earth have that gift. Most of us have it, and we should thank God for it. We should thank Him for our calling.
We can thank God for His plan to save the majority of mankind and for the awesome salvation He offers us - the opportunity to become part of His divine family forever.
We should build the habit of giving God thanks for the good things that happen in our life, even the small things that happen day to day. We can silently pray and give God thanks whenever something good happens to us during the day. For we should know that, without God's protection and help, Satan would no doubt destroy us quickly. Apart from God's restraining influence, Satan has that power, power to take everything away from us, power even to kill us outright if God didn't protect us (Job 1:9-19, 2:4-7). We live and have good things only because God protects us and blesses us, even though God also allows us to suffer some trials for our good in the end.
Obeying God, thanking Him, and praising Him are three important ways we love God.
Here is a link to another post in this blog related to this subject:
"Give God Thanks", dated November 27, 2013, link: