What’s the difference between offering praise and thanks?
Praise and thanks are closely connected but separate. Each has a specific objective, yet they overlap in purpose.
In thanksgiving we list God’s benefits, in praise God is the benefit. Thanksgiving is like a child opening a gift from a parent, a new doll or a baseball mitt, and throwing her arms around her mom and dad and saying, “Thank you, thank you! It’s just what I wanted. It’s wonderful!” Praise is what happens when that child can pause and look up from the gift into her folks’ eyes and say, “You are wonderful.” There is, in prayer and worship, a kind of ascendancy that moves from thanks to praise to wonder to awe and silence—and then back again to thanks to praise to wonder to awe to silence. (from Deepening your Conversation with God, by Ben Patterson).
Praise is about recognizing and recalling God’s character and nature. It expresses awe for who He is. Thanks-giving is offering gratitude for what God has done. Thanks can be given for answered prayers, for how God has worked in situations and lives. Thanks can also to offered for specific blessings.
“Give thanks to the Lord, call on His name; make known among the nations what He has done.” 1 Chronicles 16:8
“Let them give thanks to the Lord for His unfailing love and his wonderful deeds.” Psalm 107:31
Try this simple exercise in giving praise and thanks to God:
Take a moment to give praise: What attribute of God touches you most? The previous GraceNotes blog post can give you suggestions.
Now take a moment to give thanks: Ask yourself, how have you seen God work in the past 12 months? What can you thank God for? What are daily blessings for which you can thank Him? How have you seen answered prayers?
We offer God both praise and thanks. Praise for His greatness and thanks for the blessings and answers to prayer. These verses demonstrate both in the life of the believer:
“I will give thanks to the Lord because of his righteousness and will sing praise to the name of the Lord Most High.” Psalm 7:17
“I will praise God’s name in song and glorify him with thanksgiving.” Psalm 69:30
“I thank and praise you, O God of my fathers: you have given me wisdom and power, you have made known to me what we asked of you.” Daniel 2:23
Praise and thanks are components of the Christian life. Both are essential in prayer and in worship.
In this Thanksgiving week, I hope you can make time for both praise and thanks. Look to the Lord with both praise and gratitude. It will improve your outlook.