A Thanksgiving Worship Guide
The Thessalonians were to practice prayer and giving thanks always, continuously, and in all circumstances. This threefold plan, given by Paul in 1 Thessalonians 5:16-18, was based on an understanding of the gospel and the sovereign hand of God over all of life’s circumstances. Below, is a family worship guide. This guide is designed to walk you through this passage of thanksgiving and submission to Christ during this holiday season. So, gather your sweet kiddos around the table and study God’s Word with them!
1 Thessalonians 5:16-18
In this passage, Paul gives three specific ways in which your family can be in the will of God everyday. Identify the three commands that Paul shares. Then explain each one briefly. Finally, share which one is easiest for you to do daily and which one is most difficult.
The word Paul uses for rejoice is chairo, which means to be in a state of happiness and well-being (v.16). It was also a word used for greeting someone. The purpose of this term is to show that a Christian has an entirely different outlook on the world than unbelievers. The inward joy and peace was rooted in the gospel, not the things of this world. Because of this, hope could occur even in the midst of suffering. This is not to say that every trial or tragedy life throws your way is good. However, believers were to look beyond circumstances to see the purpose and providence of God who brings the believer through the difficulty or suffering so that she is edified in some way and God is glorified.
Paul calls us to remain in prayer. This task can seem difficult if one thinks of prayer as having your head bowed and eyes closed. Practically this posture of prayer does not coincide with Paul’s admonition to “pray without ceasing” (v.17). The significance of prayer is that you are in constant communication with God. Not merely the uttering of words continuously, but to remain in a spirit of prayer. Thus, Paul is wanting for all Christians to live their lives as if they are communing with God every second of every day. Ultimately, their prayer was to express their sole dependence on God. This fellowship with God would lead to rejoicing.
God has revealed His will for the believer “in Christ Jesus” with this threefold plan (v.18). As Christians, it is important that we characterize these three commands given this passage. Thanksgiving for the Christian comes from our salvation. Therefore, it is from our salvation we are able to be thankful in all circumstances. The reason for our continual thanksgiving is that we understand that everything we go through is working for our good and God’s glory (Rom. 8:28).
Raise your hand if you struggle in one of the three commands Paul has given. Yes, I thought so! Everyone of our hands should be raised high. Paul shares how it is the working of all three of these commands that places our family in line with God’s will. Take a moment to pray as a family, and ask God to help you in the command in which you struggle with the most.
Listed below are several ways that may help you begin to do each of the three commands Paul lists in 1 Thessalonians 5:16-18.
- Rejoice always (v.16). Take time to speak to everyone and greet them with a smile.
- Pray without ceasing (v.17). Start a prayer journal. Create a prayer calendar. Put prayer topics on 3×5 notecards all over your home or office.
- Give thanks in all circumstances (v.18). Make a list of 50 things you are thankful for each day. Send 2 thank you cards to someone a week.
How great the influence Christian women would have if rejoicing always, praying continually, and giving thanks in all circumstances would permeate our lives!