Chapter 5

Prayers to Say Thank You

Where would you be without Jesus? Take a
moment to really think about it. The words of
Ephesians 2:12 sum it up well: “without God and without hope.” Without Jesus, we would be hopelessly, eternally lost.

We can never thank God enough and praying the “thank you prayers” of the Bible cultivates gratitude in us and opens our eyes to “the riches of his glorious inheritance in the saints” (eph. 1:18 niv). Praying them is like counting the treasure of everything God has ever done for you and ever will.

Jesus once met 10 lepers at the Samaritan border on the way to Jerusalem. He healed all of them, but only one came back to say thank you.

Where were the other nine? Too caught up in the gift to remember the Giver. I’d love to point a finger of blame at them, but I’ve joined their party more times than I’d like to admit.

The one who came back and fell at Jesus’ feet, “thanking him for what he had done,” was a Samaritan. Jesus told him, “Stand up and go. Your faith has healed you” (luke 17:15-16, 19). But the word Jesus used isn’t the same one Luke used to describe the physical healing. It’s the same word used of the woman who wiped Jesus’ feet with her tears (see luke 7:50). Jesus wasn’t just telling him, “Your faith has healed you.” He was saying, “Your faith has saved you.”

Real gratitude makes us come back to God. There’s a choice to be made. We can go our own way distracted by all God has given us, or we can come to Jesus and worship Him for what He has done.

Keep your eyes on the gift and (maybe) you’ll be blessed as long as it lasts. Turn your heart to the Giver, and you’ll be blessed for eternity.


You are the one who is over all things.

O Lord, the God of our ancestor Israel, may you be praised forever and ever! Yours, O Lord, is the greatness, the power, the glory, the victory, and the majesty. Everything in the heavens and on earth is yours, O Lord, and this is your kingdom. We adore you as the one who is over all things. Wealth and honor come from you alone, for you rule over everything. Power and might are in your hand, and at your discretion people are made great and given strength. O our God, we thank you and praise your glorious name! But who am I, and who are my people, that we could give anything to you? Everything we have has come from you, and we give you only what you first gave us! We are here for only a moment, visitors and strangers in the land as our ancestors were before us. Our days on earth are like a passing shadow, gone so soon without a trace. —from 1 chronicles 29:10-15

Thank you for making me.

You made all the delicate, inner parts of my body and knit me together in my mother’s womb. Thank you for making me so wonderfully complex! Your workmanship is marvelous—how well I know it. You watched me as I was being formed in utter seclusion, as I was woven together in the dark of the womb. You saw me before I was born. Every day of my life was recorded in your book. Every moment was laid out before a single day had passed. How precious are your thoughts about me, O God. They cannot be numbered! I can’t even count them; they outnumber the grains of sand! And when I wake up, you are still with me! —psalm 139:13-18

I trust you and praise you with all of my heart.

Praise the Lord! For he has heard my cry for mercy.
The Lord is my strength and shield. I trust him with all my heart. He helps me, and my heart is filled with joy.
I burst out in songs of thanksgiving. —psalm 28:6-7

Thank you for the simple message of salvation!

O Father, Lord of heaven and earth, thank you for hiding these things from those who think themselves wise and clever, and for revealing them to the childlike. Yes, Father, it pleased you to do it this way! —from matthew 11:25-26


Thank you for being near.

I thank you, O God! I give thanks because you are near. People everywhere tell of your wonderful deeds. —psalm 75:1*

Thank you for hearing me.

Father, thank you for hearing me. You always hear me. —from john 11:41-42

Thank you for answering my prayer.

I thank you for answering my prayer and giving me victory! —psalm 118:21


Anyone who has tried to pray for more than
five minutes can understand 16th-century English poet John Donne’s personal struggle to pray:

I throw myself down in my chamber, and I call in and invite God and his angels thither, and when they are there, I neglect God and his angels for the noise of a fly, for the rattling of a coach, for the whining of a door . . . I talk on, in the same posture of praying; eyes lifted up; knees bowed down; as though I prayed to God; and, if God, or his angels should ask me, when I thought last of God in that prayer, I cannot tell. Sometimes I find that I had forgot what I was about, but when I began to forget it, I cannot tell. A memory of yesterday’s pleasures, a fear of tomorrow’s dangers. A straw under my knee, a noise in mine ear, a light in mine eye, an anything, a nothing, a fancy . . . troubles me in my prayer.

Origen, one of the early church fathers, wrote that the prayers of the Bible are filled with “unutterably wonderful declarations.” Praying the prayers of God’s Word helps us delight in Him and discover fresh new vistas of hope and joy.

God bless you as you pray! May our loving Lord draw you ever nearer and smile upon you as you pray His Word and His promises back to Him.

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