Thanking God Ahead of Time
By Rick Warren
“I will sacrifice to you with songs of thanksgiving. I will keep my vow. Victory belongs to the Lord!” (Jonah 2:9 GW).
When you feel hopeless, it seems counterproductive to express gratitude. Why would you feel grateful when you’ve hit rock bottom?
Just ask Jonah. At the end of his prayer from the belly of the big fish, before God rescued him, he shows us how to thank God in advance for answering our prayers: “I will sacrifice to you with songs of thanksgiving. I will keep my vow. Victory belongs to the Lord!” (Jonah 2:9 GW).
What’s the difference between gratitude before and gratitude after? If I wait to thank God until after he answers my prayer, that’s gratitude. But if I thank God in advance, before he answers my prayer, that’s faith. We always want to thank God when he answers our prayers, but we show faith in God if we also do it beforehand.
How do you thank God in advance? Jonah shows us three ways:
Jonah thanked God by praising him. In Hebrews 13:15, we’re told, “Through Jesus, therefore, let us continually offer to God a sacrifice of praise—the fruit of lips that confess his name” (NIV).
Jonah thanked God by returning to his mission. Jonah knew he messed up. We’ve all been there, yet that doesn’t stop God’s mission for you. Jonah’s life mission remained the same. Your life mission remains the same too, even when you mess up.
Jonah thanked God by trusting him for success. Proverbs 3:5-6 teaches, “Trust in the LORD with all your heart; do not depend on your own understanding. Seek his will in all you do, and he will show you which path to take” (NLT).
God will never abandon you, even if you disobey his will. That’s why you can thank him even before your prayers are answered.
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“Perhaps the most important role you can play in the life of a child is teaching them to trust God through prayer. It’s the key to living with hope.” —Pastor Rick
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Filled with thoughtful insights from Pastor Rick as well as stunning illustrations from award-winning artist, Richard Jesse Watson, this book brings the poetic scripture from the King James Version alive for readers young and old. It’s sure to become a meaningful bedtime ritual, a treasured memory, and by God’s grace, a legacy that bears good fruit for generations to come.
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This devotional © 2018 by Rick Warren. All rights reserved. Used by permission.
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