“We give thanks to God always for you all, making mention of you in our prayers” (I Thessalonians 1:2).
Thanksgiving and prayer are inseparably joined together in the Scriptures. Those who truly pray will be thankful, and those who are thankful will express this to God in prayer.
The Apostle Paul connected these two privileges in many passages besides our text. “Be careful for nothing; but in every thing by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known unto God” (Philippians 4:6). “Continue in prayer, and watch in the same with thanksgiving” (Colossians 4:2). “Pray without ceasing. In every thing give thanks: for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus concerning you” (I Thessalonians 5:17,18). “I exhort therefore, that, first of all, supplications, prayers, intercessions, and giving of thanks, be made for all men” (I Timothy 2:1).
Daniel was another person who practiced this principle. His enemies coerced King Darius to enact a law “that whosoever shall ask a petition of any God or man for thirty days, save of thee, O king, he shall be cast into the den of lions” (Daniel 6:7). This, of course, did not stop Daniel from praying. “Now when Daniel knew that the writing was signed, he went into his house; and his windows being open in his chamber toward Jerusalem, he kneeled upon his knees three times a day, and prayed, and gave thanks before his God, as he did aforetime” (Daniel 6:10). With the certain prospect of being thrown into the lion’s den, he still prayed and gave thanks. We might have left the thanksgiving out!
At Lazarus’ tomb, “Jesus lifted up His eyes [prayer], and said, Father, I thank thee that thou hast heard me” (John 11:41); “And Jesus took the loaves; and when He had given thanks, He distributed to the disciples, and the disciples to them that were set down” (John 6:11). Our Lord included thanksgiving in His praying, and so should we. NPS