Earlier in the year our global office with Influencers wanted to extend the celebration of Easter by promoting an effort called “Resurrection Prayer.” Why? After Jesus resurrected, scripture points out that He remained forty days with His disciples before ascending to heaven. Before He ascended He gave instructions to the disciples to then go and make other disciples of Christ (Matthew 28:19). He also told them to wait until they received power from the Holy Spirit before they commenced their work with building the Church. I can imagine that this forty days with Him would have been a major celebration over His resurrection. We wanted this celebration to continue as well.

We also chose that particular prayer emphasis to focus on our family, loved ones and friends. But it expanded to needs and places that we never imagined. For those of us who chose to take an hour each day to unite with other prayer warriors across the land to prayer, I can only say that we were affected in a big way.

After our forty days of intercessory prayer I began to think about the many answers we received from the Lord. People who were sick were healed. Relationships were restored. People were uplifted and encouraged. On and on we saw so many wonderful responses, even miracles that I cannot mentioned them all. Afterwards I began to think, “Shouldn’t we return and thank Father for these things He did? Shouldn’t we also put as much time in praising and thanking Him as we do asking for His help?” I think the answer must be yes, and for that reason we are encouraging united prayer for forty days to give Him thanks. Will you join thousands of other Influencers and friends to come together each day for forty days in a row to praise our King and thank Him with us?

Like before I will offer some thoughts each day that may help us focus our thanksgiving to Him from several things that we may take for granted. I thought of the story of Jesus and the 10 lepers and how he healed all of them, but only one returned to thank Him. So, for 40 Days, I will give you a Scripture and encourage you to return to Jesus with a reason for thanksgiving. Keep in mind that there may be thousands of people joining this emphasis and be praying through the same scriptures and same thoughts with you. I think it will be an orchestration of praise, thanksgiving and worship to Him who deserves it. We will begin this effort forty days before we celebrate what this country calls Thanksgiving. Our prayer emphasis will conclude that day.

Will you join us?

Rocky Fleming

 

40 Reasons for Thanksgiving Podcast

Also available as a Reading Plan on the Bible App

REASON #1: Recognition

On the way to Jerusalem he was passing along between Samaria and Galilee. And as he entered a village, he was met by ten lepers, who stood at a distance and lifted up their voices, saying, “Jesus, Master, have mercy on us.” When he saw them he said to them, “Go and show yourselves to the priests.” And as they went they were cleansed. Then one of them, when he saw that he was healed, turned back, praising God with a loud voice; and he fell on his face at Jesus’ feet, giving him thanks. Now he was a Samaritan. Then Jesus answered, “Were not ten cleansed? Where are the nine? Was no one found to return and give praise to God except this foreigner?”
If I do not recognize the mighty things God has done to bless me, am I also one who does not return to thank Him?

REASON #2:  For My Foundation

For by grace you have been saved through faith. And this is not your own doing; it is the gift of God.”  (Ephesians 6:8 ESV)

If I do not recognize the grace that has allowed me to enter my relationship with God, am I also one who does not return to thank Him?

REASON #3:  For My New Start

“Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation. The old has passed away; behold, the new has come.” (2 Corinthians 5:17 ESV)

I have been given the freedom to start a new life. If I received the gift of this freedom and yet still live in darkness, am I also one who does not return to thank Him?

REASON #4: For the Gift of God’s Word

“How can a young person live a clean life? By carefully reading the map of your Word. I’m single-minded in pursuit of you; don’t let me miss the road signs you’ve posted. I’ve banked your promises in the vault of my heart so I won’t sin myself bankrupt.” (Psalms 119: 9-11 MSG)

God carefully gave His Word over several centuries and through several writers so that I can be led in the right way. If I do not embrace what He did for me by seeking His wisdom from His Word, am I also one who does not return to thank Him?

REASON #5: For the Gift of Life

“For you formed my inward parts; you knitted me together in my mother’s womb.  I praise you, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made.” (Psalms 139:13 ESV)

The passage above is one of the best esteem-builders known. Just think of it. I have been literally formed by Almighty God. He blended all of my cells, molecules, chromosomes, personality traits, talents and all aspects of my life while I was still in my mother’s womb. Do I really believe that I am wonderfully made? Do I thank God for my life? If I do not am I also one who does not return to thank Him?

REASON #6: For the Gift of Wisdom

“Now we have received not the spirit of the world, but the Spirit who is from God, that we might understand the things freely given us by God.” (1 Corinthians 2:12 ESV)

As I look back on life, do I see a special time that I was able to understand something of great importance, and I didn’t know how I could? It was not my norm. It came from nowhere. But it didn’t come from nowhere. It came from the Lover of my soul who wants to teach me how to use His wisdom instead the limited wisdom of the world. If I do not seek His wisdom and obey it when I find it, am I also one who does not return to thank Him?

REASON #7: For the Gift of Peace

“Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God. And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.” (Philippians 4:6-7 ESV)

Peace is a gift, but will I accept this gift from God? Peace is also a “fruit of the Spirit.” But will I allow His Spirit to speak peace into my heart and mind? If I will, then I will experience a peace that surpasses all understanding. If I will not trust Jesus with what I am struggling with even though He has told me that He will take my burden, am I also one who does not return to thank Him?

REASON #8: For the Gift of Laughter

A cheerful heart is good medicine, but a broken spirit saps a person’s strength. (Proverbs 17:22 NLT)

Laughter is good medicine, but laughter must be a fruit of a “cheerful heart.” What does that mean? My heartis described as my emotional center. It is really what I believe and hope for. It is my deepest love, and my deepest feelings. If I do not have this cheer in my heart, is it because I do not believe it, or I do believe it but will not receive what is offered? If I will not receive that which has been granted to me, am I also one who does not return to thank Him?

REASON #9: For the Gift of Significant People

“I thank my God every time I remember you.” (Philippians 1:3 NIV)

A wise person becomes wise through their experiences and the experience of others. We don’t just become wise without some help. The Lord provides such experiences and people in our life to instruct us, and to form us. If I do not recognize these significant people in my life and thank God for them, am I also one who does not return to thank Him?

REASON #10:  For the Gift of Parents or Guardians

“Honor your father and your mother, that your days may be long in the land that the LORD your God is giving you. (Exodus 20:12 ESV)

Does the honor of my parents or guardians only fall on them if they deserve it? Do I see any condition attached to God’s commandment that exempts me from honoring these people? I am simply told to just, “DO IT!” If I will not obey my Heavenly Daddy who tells me to do this, do I really appreciate His perfect love for me? If I withhold giving honor to my parents for any reason, am I also one who does not return to thank Him?

REASON #11: For the Gift of My Church

“So Christ himself gave the apostles, the prophets, the evangelists, the pastors and teachers,” (Ephesians 4:11 NIV)

Do I thank God for my church, my pastor, and our leaders? Are they ministering to me God’s word accurately and shepherding me as they should? If they are this way, am I grateful enough to thank God for them?  If I do not, am I also one who does not come back to thank Him?

REASON #12:  For the Gift of God’s Friendship

“No longer do I call you servants, for the servant does not know what his master is doing; but I have called you friends, for all that I have heard from my Father I have made known to you.”  John 15:15 ESV

What does it mean to be a friend of Jesus? More importantly what does it mean to have Jesus as my friend? If I do not tell Him how much I appreciate His friendship, am I also one who does not come back to thank Him?

REASON #13: For the Gift of Discipline

My dear child, don’t shrug off God’s discipline, but don’t be crushed by it either. It’s the child he loves that he disciplines; the child he embraces, he also corrects. (Hebrews 12:6 MSG)

When it comes down to it, God is preparing me for something better when He disciplines me. That is enough of a reason to thank Him isn’t it? Will I take a step of faith in my prayers right now and thank Him for what is going on even if I am hurting from His discipline? If I will not, am I also one who does not return to thank Him?

REASON #14: For the Gift of Trials

Count it all joy, my brothers, when you meet trials of various kinds, for you know that the testing of your faith produces steadfastness. And let steadfastness have its full effect, that you may be perfect and complete, lacking in nothing. (James 1:2-4 ESV)

God uses trials in my life to produce steadfastness in me, which also perfects me. It is His process of development. Do I thank Him for His process, even though it may include trials? If not, am I also one who does not return to thank Him?

REASON #15: For the Gift of the Crown of Life

Blessed is the man who remains steadfast under trial, for when he has stood the test he will receive the crown of life, which God has promised to those who love him.  (James 1:12 ESV)

God keeps His promises. He is true to His word. Do I thank Him for the crown of life He has promised to me? If I do not, am I also one who does not return to thank Him?

REASON #16: For the Gift of LIGHT

Every good gift and every perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of lights, with whom there is no variation or shadow due to change. (James 1:17 ESV)

Jesus is the “light” to the world. He gives us light in darkness. Light causes darkness to flee. Do I thank God for the many times He has shed light on my path and directed my steps? If I do not, am I also one who does not come back to thank Him?

REASON #17: For the Gift of Protection

Even when I walk through the darkest valley, I will not be afraid, for you are close beside me. Your rod and your staff protect and comfort me. (Psalms 23:4 NLT)

I have been given God’s protection from many difficulties that are known and unknown by me. The assurance of God’s presence in my life has given me comfort. Do I thank Him only during an apparent threat, or will I thank Him even though I do see a threat coming? If I do not recognize His protection of preventing things that could hurt me, am I also one who does not return to thank Him?

REASON #18: For the Gift of God’s Shepherding

The LORD is my shepherd; I shall not want. (Psalms 23:1 ESV)

God watches over me! What a promise. What a benefit. What comfort. Do I believe this? Do I rely on this? Do I find my comfort in His sovereign oversight of my life? If I do not, am I also one who does not come back to thank Him?

REASON #19:  For the Gift of God’s Complete Forgiveness

As far as the east is from the west, so far does he remove our transgressions from us. (Psalms 103:12 ESV)

Do I retain any thought that God has not forgiven me of sins that I’ve repented of? If so, I am probably listening to the Accuser’s voice rather than the One who I sinned against. God’s voice tells me that I am totally and completely washed of my sins and He will remember them no more. Do I thank Him for His complete forgiveness of me? If I do not, am I also one who does not come back to thank Him?

REASON #20: For the Gift of My Foundation

Though the rain comes in torrents and the floodwaters rise and the winds beat against that house, it won’t collapse because it is built on bedrock. (Matthew 7:25 NLT)

Jesus is my foundation, and no storm in life will take Him out from beneath me. Do I recognize Him as my constant and complete bedrock that He builds my life on? If I do not, am I also one who does not return to thank Him?

REASON #21: For the Gift of being a Good Shepherd

“I am the good shepherd; I know my sheep and my sheep know me— just as the Father knows me and I know the Father—and I lay down my life for the sheep. (John 10:14-15 NIV)

There are good and bad shepherds and the sheep know the difference. However, the sheep of the good shepherd may take it for granted for they know nothing else. Jesus is my Good Shepherd. Do I take this for granted? Do I forget to recognize how good He is to me? If I do not, am I also one who does not come back to thank Him?

REASON #22: For the Gift of a Full Life

The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy; I have come that they may have life, and have it to the full. (John 10:10 NIV)

Jesus restored that which was lost. What was lost? Mankind lost the intimate fellowship that we once had with our Creator when sin came into the world. But Jesus restored it. Do I thank Him for this restoration? If I do not, am I also one who does not come back to thank Him?

REASON #23: For Heaven’s Treasures that Await Me

“Do not store up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moths and vermin destroy, and where thieves break in and steal.  But store up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where moths and vermin do not destroy, and where thieves do not break in and steal.  For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.(Matthew 6:19-21 ESV)

Am I storing up treasures in heaven? If so, they await me. Now is the time to store up. Do I thank God for Heaven’s Bank that keeps my treasure safe? If I do not, am I also one who does not come back to thank Him?

REASON #24: For All These Things

But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well. (Matthew 6:33 NIV)

What did Jesus mean when He said, “all these things?” He meant all things that I worry about or am concerned about for living my life. He said all those things are taken care of by my Father in Heaven. If I worry and stew over things that I think I need but do not have, am I also one who does not come back to thank Him?

REASON #25: For God’s Tender care of Me

When you lie down, you will not be afraid; when you lie down, your sleep will be sweet. (NIV) Proverbs 3:24

Do I thank God for His watch over my life? Do I sleep a sweet sleep because of His care? Do I thank Him for it? If I do not, am I also one who does not come back to thank Him?

REASON #26: For God’s Steadfast Love

Let your steadfast love come to me, O LORD, your salvation according to your promise;  (Psalms 119:41 ESV)

I don’t use the word steadfast much. What does it mean? It means “resolutely or dutifully firm and unwavering.” God is all those things to me. He is resolved. He is always on duty. He is firm and unwavering in His love for me. Do I thank Him for this faithful characteristic of His? If I do not, am I also one who does not come back to thank Him?

REASON #27 For God as My Hope and My Trust

For you, O Lord, are my hope, my trust, O LORD, from my youth. (Psalms 71:5 ESV)

What can I trust or put my hope in that will never fail me? Nothing is this world can provide such hope … even the best people or the best investments or the best governments. Only the Sovereign King of the Universe can provide complete trust and hope for me. Do I take the time to thank Him for this hope and trust that He provides me? If I do not, am I also one who does not come back to thank Him?

REASON #28:  For Knowing All the Details of My Life

But even the hairs of your head are all numbered. (Matthew 10:30 ESV)

God knows, He cares, He is willing, and He is able to take care of me, for He knows all the details (in detail) that concern my life. Nothing escapes His attention. Do I recognize this about Him and thank Him for it? If I do not, am I also one who does not come back to thank Him?

REASON #29:  For My Daily Bread

Give us this day our daily bread, (Matthew 6:11 ESV)

Have I ever missed being given my “daily bread?” Has not Father proven to me over and over that He is faithful? Do I complain that I want more, or that I want to store it up, so I will not fear? Is my real reason being that I don’t trust Him on this level? Am I not content to eat from my Father’s hand the diet He wants me to have? If this is true, am I also one who does not come back to thank Him?

REASON #30: For My Job

Make it your goal to live a quiet life, minding your own business and working with your hands, just as we instructed you before. (1 Thessalonians 4:11 NLT)

Sure, I might not like my job. But am I exempt from doing my work as unto the Lord? My job provides resources for living, and my Sovereign God uses my difficulties in it to grow my faith in Him and reshape me. If He wants me out He will change my job. Until then I think He wants to change me to accept my present situation as coming from Him. If I will not thank Him for my job and praise Him during my stay in it, am I also one who does not come back to thank Him?

REASON #31:  For Answered Prayers

“Ask, and it will be given to you; seek, and you will find; knock, and it will be opened to you. (Matthew 7:7 ESV)

I might not realize it, but God answers all my prayers. How so? “Yes – No – Wait – Something else instead,” are His ways of answering prayers. But He answers them when I pray and ask of Him. It might not be what I want at the time. But He answers them all. Will I thank Him for all my answered prayers even if they fall in a list that I think are unanswered? If I will not, am I also one who does not come back to thank Him?

REASON #32:  For His purpose for Answered Prayer

Until now you have asked nothing in my name. Ask, and you will receive, that your joy may be full. (John 16:24 ESV)

Do I understand that Jesus wants me to ask of Him anything I think I need? But does He have a greater purpose with His answer than I realize? It is not for me to just get what I want, but rather what He thinks I need. Do I see in the promise He made that His purpose for answered prayer is to give me JOY? If I will not thank Him for the unknown answer before I am granted a clear understanding of His answer, am I also one who does not come back to thank Him?

REASON #33: For the Future Harvest

So let’s not get tired of doing what is good. At just the right time we will reap a harvest of blessing if we don’t give up. (Galatians 6:9 NLT)

A farmer understands that he must sow to reap. There are things beyond his control such as the weather and other things. But he must do his part and can celebrate that he did his part until the harvest, and then it will be a big celebration. However, it begins with sowing. Am I weary of doing good because I see no return from my work? Maybe it is because I need to have faith that it will come.  I did my part and God will do His part? Am I not willing to celebrate the harvest that He will bring even though I do see it now? If not, am I also one who does not come back to thank Him?

REASON #34: For His Plans for Me

For I know the plans I have for you, declares the LORD, plans for welfare and not for evil, to give you a future and a hope. (Jeremiah 29:11 ESV)

God has a plan for all His children. Will I believe this for my life, or do I doubt that He is involved with my life. Do I think He either doesn’t care, or He is too busy for me? If I think this, there is no scriptural basis to believe it. In fact, to believe this is contrary to what God’s Word promises me. It is the belief of those who do not even know God. Will I believe Him and His promises to me only if I see proof of it? If I do this, am I also one who does not come back to thank Him?

REASON #35: For Being the Bride of Christ

As a young man marries a young woman, so will your Builder marry you; as a bridegroom rejoices over his bride, so will your God rejoice over you. (Isaiah 62:5 NIV)

Male or female, as a member of the Church, I am a “bride” of Christ. As a “Bride of Christ,” He promises to rejoice over me. I may not understand how this relates to me. But I understand what it means to rejoice over something or someone. Do I rejoice about my relationship with Jesus? If I do not, am I also one who does not come back to thank Him?

REASON #36:  For Jesus’ Return

“And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come back and take you to be with me that you also may be where I am.” (John 14:3 NIV)

Do I look forward to Christ’s return to claim me? If I did, would it will help me to not take this life as serious as I do? Maybe most of my conflicts come because I put too much importance on this temporary life? Do I put more importance on this life than the one Jesus has prepared for me? If so, am I also one who does not come back to thank Him?

REASON #37: For My Heavenly Home

“ My Father’s house has many rooms; if that were not so, would I have told you that I am going there to prepare a place for you?” (John 14:2 NIV)

What kind of house or setting can I secure for myself in this life that would ever match what Christ has been building for me the last two thousand years? Do I thank Him for the work He is doing even now to prepare for my arrival? If I do not, am I also one who does not come back to thank Him?

REASON #38: For Making the WAY Known to Me

“You know the way to the place where I am going.” (John 14:4 NIV)

Before she received her name, the Church was known as “The Way.” Jesus made it clear that He is The Way. He is the way to God. He is the only way to God. He is the way, the truth, and the life. Do I thank Him for helping me know that He is the Way? If not, am I also one who does not come back to thank Him?

REASON #39: For the HOLY SPIRIT

And I will ask the Father, and he will give you another Helper, to be with you forever, even the Spirit of truth, whom the world cannot receive, because it neither sees him nor knows him. You know him, for he dwells with you and will be in you. (John 14:16-17 ESV)

I have received a tremendous gift because I trusted Jesus with my soul. This Gift is God’s Spirit who lives within me. Do I fail to recognize Him? Do I fail to thank Him? Do I fail to listen to His still, small voice? If I do not, am I also one who does not come back to thank Him?

REASON #40: For My National Leaders and Country

“Pray this way for kings and all who are in authority so that we can live peaceful and quiet lives marked by godliness and dignity.” (1 Timothy 2:2 NLT)

There is a great benefit for praying for our nation’s leaders, whether I support their party, their positions, or even dislike them. I have no greater reason than the instruction scripture gives to me to do so. I might be asked to pray for godless, angry people who detest my prayerful concern for them. I might be asked to pray for leaders who are fervent about their disbelief of God and who feel my prayers are a product of ignorance and superstition. Though they see themselves as enlightened intellectuals, the truth is they are ignorant of God and His love. They need my prayers above all, for their souls need Him, and my country needs them. All my national leaders need to help create peace within our boundaries by joining hands with each other and work for a common cause. Our country and its leaders need my prayers. Have I thanked God for my country and our leaders and have I been sincerely interested in asking God to bless all of them?  If I have not, am I also one who does not return to thank Him?

THANK YOU…

For joining us in prayer these past 40 days, offering our Lord the thanks that He is due.  With your grateful spirit, may you enjoy your Thanksgiving holiday and may you let your thankfulness pour out on your family and friends and other spheres of influence.