With Thanksgiving approaching, there is no better time to remind your community about the power of praise and thankfulness. If you need some prompts for your upcoming service, here are ten great ideas to get you started. Each one comes with scripture which you can then use as the foundation for the rest of your sermon.
1. The Power of Thanksgiving & Praise
Psalms 103: 1, 2 Bless the Lord, O my soul: and all that is within me, bless his holy name. Bless the Lord, O my soul, and forget not all his benefits.
The Psalms are full of admonition to give thanks. When we think of the life of King David, we remember how he came from being a young shepherd boy to ruling all of Jerusalem. Here, he tells us to “forget not” all of God's benefits. It could be that he knew where his true strength lie, and how important it was to acknowledge it on a daily basis.
2. Why We Should Give Thanks Every Day
I will praise the name of God with a song; I will magnify him with thanksgiving.
Thanksgiving comes once a year, but we can find little things every day to be grateful for.
3. Different Ways to Give Thanks
Let us come into his presence with thanksgiving; let us make a joyful noise to him with songs of praise!
Encourage your congregation to use songs and even poetry as new ways to vocalize their thankfulness. Little children can be taught to sing songs of praise at an early age. Sometimes the heart doesn’t know what to say, but a song is perfect.
4. Being Thankful for Loved Ones and Family
1 Corinthians 1:4
I give thanks to my God always for you because of the grace of God that was given you in Christ Jesus…
Your congregation has probably heard it before: charity begins at home. But so does praise and thankfulness. Sadly, our families and closest to us are oftentimes the ones who bear the brunt of our ingratitude at home. Use Thanksgiving as a way to bring the sermon closer to home—speak of the importance of showing a grateful heart for family members, even those who are hardest to love.
5. Thanksgiving Even When Things Are Tough
1 Thessalonians 5:18
Give thanks in all circumstances; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you.
“All circumstances” is a pretty broad statement. But the point that the apostle Paul was trying to make here is that we can find a reason to give thanks, no matter what is happening. If your community is experiencing rough times, health issues, or other problems, address the need to look at the situation and still find a way to give thanks for all the good.
6. Prayers of Praise and Thanksgiving
Continue steadfastly in prayer, being watchful in it with thanksgiving.
This sermon, instead of praying for things in the usual way, you can commit to only prayers of gratitude. Lift up your congregation by offering a prayer that only outlines what you, as a pastor, are thankful for. Find a way to focus this prayer session on only gratitude, and see what a difference it makes!
7. Being Thankful for God’s Love
Give thanks to the LORD of hosts, for the LORD is good, for his steadfast love endures forever.
God’s love is often hard to comprehend. But one thing we know for sure: it is steadfast, unwavering. Your community may find it hard to see or feel God’s love in the world around them. Yet, you can use this Thanksgiving as a way to bring it back to the truth: His love endures forever.
8. Thankfulness for God’s Forgiveness
You will say in that day: I will give thanks to you, O LORD, for though you were angry with me, your anger turned away, that you might comfort me.
One of the most wonderful things about the Christian faith is the hope we have in Forgiveness. And this is a powerful thing to be thankful for. Everyone has sinned at some point, and “come short of God’s glory”. Yet, we have this beautiful promise of God’s comfort, even in the most depressing times. He does not hold anger against us, and neither should we with our brethren.
9. Finding People to Be Thankful For
1 Timothy 4:4
For everything created by God is good, and nothing is to be rejected if it is received with thanksgiving.
Can you find it in your heart to love those who are hard to love? God does, and He rejects no one who wants to enter the Kingdom. This verse outlines how we are all God’s creations and must treat each other like the treasures He knows we are.
10. Teaching Our Children to Be Thankful
Bless the Lord, O my soul, and forget not all his benefits, who forgives all your iniquity, who heals all your diseases, who redeems your life from the pit, who crowns you with steadfast love and mercy, who satisfies you with good so that your youth is renewed like the eagles.
If there is a youth service, or a special Thanksgiving celebration just for the children, make them the focus of thankfulness. Encourage them that God is always there, to crown them with mercy, and give them wings as an eagle. This could be symbolic of strength, or conviction that they need as young people.
These are just a few ideas for formulating your own sermons during Thanksgiving. You can always tailor each one to your situation, or find more Bible verses to promote a spirit of Thanksgiving. Encourage those who want to donate and give to the church with the progress the church has made. You can bring statistics into these “Gratefulness” sessions. How many missionaries were sent out this year? How many lives came closer to faith? Keeping track of these statistics is also easier with a Giving App, or way to digitize your outreach programs. Check out our blog and other articles for more practical tips on making an impact.