Thanksgiving: The Key to His Presence

by Jerris Guseman on November 13, 2014

“Enter into his gates with thanksgiving, and into his courts with praise: be thankful unto him, and bless his name.” Psalms 100:4

One day, I was struggling with my personal prayer time. My prayers just felt empty, like something was missing. I knew God heard me and He would answer my prayers. I just felt like I spent more time petitioning Him, yet not really getting into His presence and knowing Him. It seemed shallow and it concerned me. I decided to start from the beginning. My “tabernacle plan” prayer guide was very helpful and it began with this verse in Psalms. It said “Enter with thanksgiving and praise”…and then it listed every color of fabric used in the tabernacle entrance, along with what those colors represented. I could see there was a lot more to thank and praise God for. I realized that my mind would go blank after listing a few things. This concerned me deeply. I knew I loved God and I really did have a heart of thanksgiving…but I only thanked him for the cross, for every good and perfect gift, His provision, and His peace/joy/love. That was truly the extent of it! The problem was that I hadn’t really moved from there in my prayers in almost 20 years! It was time for a change.

I got my Bible, a notebook, and a pen…and started filling pages. There was so much more that I loved about Him, and I made a list so I could refer to it. I will be very transparent, and tell you I had to read from that book every day for a couple of weeks until I could retain a good amount of it. What I can tell you is this…it was revolutionary in my life! My thanksgiving went right into praise, just as the Word describes it should. Thanksgiving was the key that unlocked the gate…and I walked right into praise without even thinking about it. That led me to worship…then surrender…to repentance…and all the way into the AWESOME presence of God! This followed the tabernacle plan from the Old Testament. It worked for Moses and David, and it still works today! Why? God doesn’t change. He is the same…yesterday, today, and forever!

Thank Him for what He has done and praise Him for who He is…this is my interpretation of “be thankful unto Him, and bless His name.” It is simple, but doing it consistently will cause your relationship with Him to grow. You can start with this key of thanksgiving and entering His presence daily. This is so vital to our spiritual growth! We fail to realize that our initial experience with God is JUST THE BEGINNING of what He has for us! It should be an introduction to a lifestyle of seeking Him. Growing takes time and eventually you will know how to get up from crawling and begin walking with Him. Being in His presence consistently will help you develop into a mature Christian.

Galatians 4:1 says “The heir, as long as he is a child, does not differ at all from a slave, though he is master of all.” For believers, this means that only mature sons get that inheritance. If we remain a child in our walk with God, we will never be able to access the great inheritance He has for us. We must know Him, not just know about Him. When we get in His Word, we find everything that He is and THANK Him for it…we PRAISE Him for it. I challenge you to try the key, open the gate, and start walking through it today. You won’t regret it!

I got out that notebook today, and looked through those pages again. It still reminds me of all the wonderful things He does and how amazing He is! I suggest that everyone do something like this and make it personal. Find out what you love most about Him and write it down. Remember it…and tell Him every day! I want to share a little bit from that book, just in case you need a starting point. This list goes on and on, but here are a few I found in the Word of God…

…He keeps every promise forever. He gives justice to the oppressed and food to the hungry. The LORD frees the prisoners. The LORD opens the eyes of the blind. The LORD lifts up those who are weighed down. The LORD loves the godly. The LORD protects the foreigners among us. He cares for the orphans and widows, but he frustrates the plans of the wicked. The LORD will reign forever. He will be your God, O Jerusalem, throughout the generations. Praise the LORD! (Psalms 146:6-10 NLT)

He heals the brokenhearted and bandages their wounds. He counts the stars and calls them all by name. How great is our Lord! His power is absolute! His understanding is beyond comprehension! The LORD supports the humble, but he brings the wicked down into the dust. (Psalms 147:3-6 NLT)

To appoint unto them that mourn in Zion, to give unto them beauty for ashes, the oil of joy for mourning, the garment of praise for the spirit of heaviness; that they might be called trees of righteousness, the planting of the Lord, that he might be glorified. (Isaiah 61:3 KJV)

The eyes of the Lord are upon the righteous, and his ears are open unto their cry.

The righteous cry, and the Lord heareth, and delivereth them out of all their troubles. The Lord is nigh unto them that are of a broken heart; and saveth such as be of a contrite spirit. Many are the afflictions of the righteous: but the Lord delivereth him out of them all.

The Lord redeemeth the soul of his servants: and none of them that trust in him shall be desolate. (Psalms 34:15, 17-19, 22 KJV)

God is our refuge and strength, a very present help in trouble. (Psalms 46:1 KJV)

I am Alpha and Omega, the beginning and the end, the first and the last. (Revelation 22:13 KJV)

No weapon that is formed against thee shall prosper; and every tongue that shall rise against thee in judgment thou shalt condemn. This is the heritage of the servants of the Lord, and their righteousness is of me, saith the Lord. (Isaiah 54:17 KJV)

Thy word is true from the beginning: and every one of thy righteous judgments endureth forever. (Psalms 119:160 KJV)

Let them praise the name of the Lord: for his name alone is excellent; his glory is above the earth and heaven. (Psalms 148:13 KJV)

He that dwelleth in the secret place of the most High shall abide under the shadow of the Almighty. I will say of the Lord, He is my refuge and my fortress: my God; in him will I trust. (Psalms 91:1-2 KJV)

He shall call upon me, and I will answer him: I will be with him in trouble; I will deliver him, and honour him. (Psalms 91:15 KJV)

And I am convinced that nothing can ever separate us from God’s love. Neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither our fears for today nor our worries about tomorrow—not even the powers of hell can separate us from God’s love. (Romans 8:38 NLT)

Thou wilt keep him in perfect peace, whose mind is stayed on thee: because he trusteth in thee. Trust ye in the Lord for ever: for in the Lord Jehovah is everlasting strength: (Isaiah 26:3-4 KJV)

Behold, the Lord’s hand is not shortened, that it cannot save; neither his ear heavy, that it cannot hear: (Isaiah 59:1 KJV)

But God, who is rich in mercy, for his great love wherewith he loved us, (Ephesians 2:4 KJV)

Other notes included words that describe Him…

He is gracious, merciful, faithful, kind, true, holy, righteous, worthy of praise, loving, and good.

He is the King of Glory, Everlasting Father, and the Prince of Peace!

He is my healer, comforter, provider, protector, deliverer…my victory, and my confidence!

This doesn’t even begin to describe His greatness! The Psalmist said “I will bless the Lord at all times, His praise shall continually be in my mouth”…let thanksgiving and praise be a lifestyle…and continue your list! It will be a key to unlock the hidden treasures God has for you!