Life is hard, and every day is challenging. You may be wondering just now if you can go on. Perhaps another person is vexing you. Perhaps you've been maligned or criticized. You're discouraged with unanswered prayer. Maybe you're feeling like Elijah under the broom tree, wanting to die.

Try praying with thanksgiving. A thankful attitude is the cure for many emotional ailments. Take depression, for example. What is depression or discouragement except the total collapse of thanksgiving in our lives?

Thanksgiving is also the opposite of discontent. It's easy for us to become disgruntled with various factors in our lives; but let's be like one man who was thankful...

  • For the clothes that fit a little too snug because it means I have enough to eat.
  • For all the complaining I hear about the government because it means that I have freedom of speech.
  • For the alarm that goes off in the early morning hours because it means that I am alive.
  • For the teenager who is not doing dishes but is watching TV because that means he is at home and not on the streets.
  • For the taxes that I pay because it means that I'm employed.
  • For the lawn that needs mowing, windows that need cleaning, and gutters that need fixing because it means I have a home.
  • For weariness at the end of the day because it means I have been capable of working hard.
  • For the parking spot I find at the far end of the parking lot because it means I am capable of walking and that I have been blessed with transportation.

Thanksgiving is the opposite of anxiety. Philippians 4:6: "Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication, with thanksgiving, let your requests be made known to God." Worship and worry cannot live in the same heart. They are mutually exclusive, according to Ruth Graham.

Thanksgiving is also the corrective for sadness and even grief. While working on a message from Psalms 100, my phone rang. It was from a family dear to me. Our children were about the same age and had played together growing up.

The caller told me there had been an accident in the woods, and a portion of a tree had fallen on one of the boys. He'd been pinned for over an hour before the ambulance arrived, and it appeared the young man would be paralyzed from the waist down. His spinal cord had been crushed.

Well, that just destroyed my afternoon. I couldn't get it out of my mind. This was a blond-headed kid, very athletic, full of life; and in one moment, his life was shattered and changed. I wrestled with my own thoughts and emotions until evening, then I placed a call to the intensive care unit of the hospital. Frankly, I didn't know what to say; but I didn't have to say much at all. The boy's father ended up comforting me.

He said, "Pastor, I want you to know that my wife and I are, first of all, thankful that our son is alive. Second, we're thanking God that it wasn't the upper part of his body that was paralyzed. And thirdly, though we don't understand why, we know God is good and that somehow in the midst of this, He has a plan for our son's life that must go beyond anything we can imagine. Though it's hard and we wish it hadn't happened, we have committed it to our God, for He is good."

I hung up the phone and went back to Psalms 100 and thought-how it changes any situation to enter His gates with thanksgiving and His courts with praise!

Is the race of life wearing you down? Try a moment of thanks. Enter His gates with thanksgiving and His courts with praise. Be thankful unto Him and bless His name. Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, make your requests to God. And the peace of God that passes all understanding will keep your hearts and minds in Christ Jesus.

This article was excerpted from Turning Points, Dr. David Jeremiah’s devotional magazine. Call Turning Point at 1-800-947-1993 for your complimentary copy of Turning Points. Used with permission