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“Rejoice always!  Pray constantly. Give thanks in everything, for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus” (1 Thessalonians 5:16-18, HCSB)

Sometimes I can hear a Bible verse so many times that familiarity causes me to miss the meaning. Early on in my faith, I memorized the words instructing me to embody a life of gratefulness, and I didn’t have any disagreement with the sentiment. However, as I have gotten older, I realize giving thanks in everything isn’t the easiest thing to do. I want to talk back to the author of the letter, shouting, “Oh, yeah! I have a list of problems this long! Tell me how to give thanks for them!” Then I remember that Paul, who had been attacked and beaten multiple times for the sake of the Gospel, wrote these words to a church facing intense persecution. He might know a thing or two that I don’t.

Paul gives us the keys to living a life of gratitude at the beginning of his instruction. Rejoice always. We don’t rejoice after we receive good news or are given a gift. We first delight that we are saved by the grace of God regardless of this life’s circumstances! Pray constantly. And we don’t start to pray after life gets hard; we begin with prayer knowing that we need Christ’s strength to live well in this world. In other words, we need God to remind us to thank God; therefore, we begin with an attitude of joy and constant communication with Him in order to remain grateful.

As mentors, you are a gift! We are thankful for the investment you are making in the life of these children. What a gift you share with them when you communicate that true joy doesn’t come from a life without struggle but from knowing the One who will not leave during the struggle! Thank you for teaching these children that they can be thankful in everything because the Savior of all loves them fiercely.

Dear Father, I pray that my student will live a life of gratitude that comes from first knowing the gift you have given us—eternal life in Christ Jesus. Thank you for this gift and the knowledge that you will never leave us but want to talk to us daily. In that knowledge we can rejoice and give thanks. In Jesus’ name I pray. Amen.

 Jennifer Davis resides in Hoschton, GA, with her husband, four children, and faithful dog. She loves reading and writing and is passionate about children knowing the love of Jesus.

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