Nov 22, 2022 06:00am
Gratitude: A Thankful Heart

(The following is a family devotional guide with suggested questions and scriptures.)

Focus Scripture: “Now when Jesus heard about John, He withdrew from there in a boat to a secluded place by Himself; and when the people heard about this, they followed Him on foot from the cities. When He came ashore, He saw a large crowd, and felt compassion for them and healed their sick. Now when it was evening, the disciples came to Him and said, ‘This place is secluded and the hour is already past to eat; send the crowds away, so that they may go into the villages and buy food for themselves.’ But Jesus said to them, ‘They do not need to go; you give them something to eat!’ They said to Him, ‘We have nothing here except five loaves and two fish.’ And He said, ‘Bring them here to Me.’ And ordering the crowds to sit down on the grass, He took the five loaves and the two fish, and looked up toward heaven. He blessed the food and breaking the loaves, He gave them to the disciples, and the disciples gave them to the crowds. And they all ate and were satisfied, and they picked up what was left over of the broken pieces: twelve full baskets. There were about five thousand men who ate, besides women and children.” -Matthew 14:13-21 (NASB)

“Whatever you ask for in prayer, believe you have received it.” -Mark 11:24

Thanking God for Provision

In another example, Jesus got off of a boat and was greeted by a large crowd of people waiting on him. He had compassion on them and began healing the sick. After some time, evening came, and the disciples wanted to send the people home to eat…but Jesus had a different plan: an opportunity that would teach them a lesson on faith and praying. He asked them to gather whatever food they could find from the people. After the search, they came up with 5 loaves of bread and 2 fish…to feed a crowd of 15,000 people! It seemed impossible to imagine feeding them with such little food! It was then that Jesus taught them yet another powerful lesson on faith and praying. He took the food, looked up to Heaven, and thanked God for it. Jesus gave thanks in advance for feeding the people…and God was clearly pleased because they suddenly have enough food to not only feed the 15,000 people, but also had enough leftovers to fill 12 baskets! (One basket for each disciple!) Again, this is the type of faith and prayer we are to have!

Discussion Questions:

When do you typically say “please” and “thank you”?

For most of us, we typically say “please” if we want something, and then “thank you” after we have received it. And many times, we follow the same format when we pray to God: “Please, Lord, give me…”. When God has answered the prayer the way we like, we might even say “thank you!” afterwards. But our talk today will challenge us to give thanks a little differently and to pray a little differently. In fact, this change might just be what you need to really see God move in your life!

Other Examples:

Read about Jesus thanking God for His plan of salvation right before His betrayal and crucifixion in Mark 14:22-25.

Read about Jesus thanking God for the impossible by raising Lazarus from the dead in John 11:1-44.

Spiritual Connection:

In this story, Jesus set the example by doing two important things: believing God and thanking God before God answered his prayers. These two actions brought forth miraculous things – that is why we are memorizing Mark 11:24 this week. Though God may not always give us whatever we ask for, this verse promises that if it’s in God’s will, we ought to believe He will do it and thank Him in advance. There’s something special about believing big things from our God and thanking Him first that can really activate the power of God in our lives!

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