In the Old Testament, a thank offering represented an act of thanksgiving for answered prayer and blessings given. It expressed a voluntary desire on the part of the offerer(s) to thank God. Usually, thank offerings were given in gratitude for deliverance from sickness (Psalm 107:20-22), trouble (Psalm 50:14-15), or death (Psalm 56:12-13).
God was honored by thank offerings (Psalm 50:23). Read Leviticus 7:11-14 for more information on thank offerings.
Because of Jesus, today we don’t have to sacrifice thank offerings in the same way. When we pray, however, we should always remember to give thanks for His many blessings, in the midst of whatever circumstance we find ourselves (1 Thessalonians 5:18). It is always appropriate to honor God and thank Him when we are blessed!
What kinds of thank offerings could you make to the Lord as a family? Here are some ideas for you to try:
- Give the Lord a thank offering of praise! Worship Him together with songs and read psalms that praise the Lord. Do this whenever God blesses your family in a special way—whether it’s big or small. Let your kids help plan and participate in the worship time.
- Share your gratefulness to God with others. Prepare a special meal when you have been blessed (someone is healed, a new baby arrives, a relative gets a new job, and so on). Invite others to join in your feast of thanksgiving, and focus on thanking God with Scriptures such as 1 Chronicles 16:8-10, Psalm 7:17, and 1 Corinthians 15:57. Have the kids make invitations and decorate your home with posters using some of the thanks verses.
- When your family is sad or discouraged (especially your kids), throw a “Count Your Blessings” party. Get as creative as you want to with games and prizes. Give each family member a piece of paper and pencil, and set a timer—see who can come up with the most things to be thankful for in a specified time.
- Try “thankfulness” charades or Pictionary. Have each person think of something he or she is thankful for and try to get the rest of the family to guess what it is by acting it out or drawing it. Take turns thanking God using sentence prayers for all of the things mentioned.
Celebrate God’s goodness with cake and ice cream!
Here are some other practical ways to show your thankfulness:
Give Him your time as a thank offering. Could you sacrifice a few hours to work as a family at a food pantry or serve food at a local rescue mission in thanks for God’s abundance to you? Check with your church and community to find other ways you could serve as a family.
Donate food and clothing to the needy as a thank offering. As a family, you could clean out closets and make a special trip to a church or community agency to donate the items.
This article by Kim and David Butts was originally published in issue 52 of Pray! magazine.