How to Thank God, and Why Being Thankful is Important

Arena Men, 

2021: Year of Years

I’m not sure what’s been rougher, 2020 or 2021. For some the answer is that both were equally horrible. It can be difficult to give thanks one day a year, let alone every day, but I highly recommend it. 

June marks the tenth anniversary of Men in the Arena, and what a ride it has been. We have grown from 15 men in a coffee shop to 30,000 podcast downloads thus far in November from over 100 nations. Our Instagram page is growing at a rate of 1,000 per week since September, our National Team Captains are leading men to their best version through our virtual teams, and this week marks our 500th Men in the Arena Podcast episode! That is a lot of shows!

Thanksgiving Every Meal

If you are a dad with kids in the home, develop the habit of giving thanks every time you eat with your family. In this way you model an attitude of gratitude that is refreshing during this season. 

When men ask me what they can do to lead their families spiritually, praying before meals is the first thing I ask about. Praying before our meals is one of the lowest-cost, highest-impact things a man can do to lead his family spiritually. Christian men who neglect this discipline are missing the mark, in my opinion. 

Praise Versus Thanks

The Bible tells us to be thankful 85 times! Why wait until one Thursday a year when you can do it daily? Doesn’t the Bible tell us, “In everything give thanks; for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus” (1 Thessalonians 5:18)?

Every morning, I start my prayer time by praising God for WHO He is. Jesus taught this method in Matthew 6:9; “Pray, then, in this way: ‘Our Father who is in heaven, Hallowed be Your name.’”

After I am done praising God for WHO He is—His unique character and qualities—I move into thanksgiving mode. I thank Him for WHAT He does, and there are always things to be thankful for. The psalmist prayed, “I will give thanks to You, O Lord my God, with all my heart, And will glorify Your name forever” (Psalm 86:2). 

Why Being Thankful is Important

1. Thankfulness is good for your physical and mental health. One study found that thankfulness was associated with better psychological well-being and the ability to cope with challenges. People who practice daily thanksgiving also report better physical health and healthier daily habits than those who don’t. 

2. Thankfulness helps you sleep and rest better! Philippians 4:6-8 encourages us to turn to Jesus when we are struggling. Lay your head down at night in peace, knowing that the God of the universe has your back. 

3. Thankfulness improves your attitude about your job, life, etc. Most men will spend one third of their life at work, so consciously choosing a positive attitude is a game changer. Didn’t God lead you to that job anyway? Proverbs 3:5-6 is worth memorizing if you haven’t done so yet. 

4. Thankfulness helps you stop “Jonesing” for the Joneses. Instead of focusing on what you don’t have, try this. Focus on what you do have in comparison to those living in poverty, globally. Thankful people tend to be less materialistic and happier with their lives, and manage their money better. 

5. Thankfulness strengthens relationships. Relationships are critical to health, well-being, and living a godly life. On the night before his crucifixion, Jesus told his disciples, “This is how (non-believers) will know you are my disciples, IF you (believers) love one another.” Men who are thankful are easier to be around, have a better outlook on life, and add value to those around them. 

Stay Thankful

Grow in thankfulness by subscribing to the Men in the Arena Podcast.

Be watching for the January release of my new book, Guts and Manhood: The Four Irrefutable Attributes of Courage. Pre-orders are coming soon! 

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Becoming His Best Version,