What Does the Bible Say About Gratitude?

One of the greatest benefits of practicing gratitude is living in a state of contentment, regardless of our circumstances. An attitude of gratitude and thankfulness turns our focus on God and His boundless blessings, mercies, and grace. When we have the mindset of seeing everything in our lives through the lens of His love, our perspective shifts. As always, we start with our “guidebook of life” as a foundation. What does the Bible say about gratitude?

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Bible Verses about Gratitude

These verses help us adopt a habit of thankfulness; inspiring gratitude in our hearts. We can also use these Bible passages as beautiful prompts for our prayer time. 

Psalm 9:1

“I will give thanks to the Lord with my whole heart; I will recount all of your wonderful deeds.”

Psalm 92:1-2

“It is good to give thanks to the Lord, to sing praises to your name, O Most High; to declare your steadfast love in the morning, your faithfulness in the evening.”

Psalm 95:1-3

 “Come, let us sing to the Lord! Let us shout joyfully to the Rock of our salvation. Let us come to him with thanksgiving. Let us sing psalms of praise to him. For the Lord is a great God, a great King above all gods.”  NLT.

This Psalm was a call for the Israelites to worship God. Our God never changes and we are still called to worship Him today with thanksgiving. He is the one and only King over the heavens and earth!

Colossians 2:7

“Let your roots grow down into him and let your lives be built on him. Then your faith will grow strong in the truth you were taught, and you will overflow with thankfulness.” NLT.

These deep roots in Jesus give us life-giving strength and a strong faith which should cause us to overflow with thankfulness.

Paul makes thankfulness and gratefulness an important theme in his writings. Here are 4 more-

Colossians 3:15-17

“Let the peace of Christ rule in your hearts, since as members of one body you were called to peace. And be thankful. Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly as you teach and admonish one another with all wisdom, and as you sing psalms, hymns, and spiritual songs with gratitude in your hearts to God. And whatever you do, whether in word or deed, do it all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through Him.”

Ephesians 5:19-20

“Speak to one another with psalms, hymns, and spiritual songs. Sing and make music in your heart to the Lord, always giving thanks to God the Father for everything, in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ.”

I love all these encouragements to sing songs of praise and “make a joyful noise” as ways to express our gratefulness for all He has done! 

Philippians 4:6-7

“Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.”

1 Thessalonians 5:16-18

“Be joyful always; pray continually; give thanks in all circumstances, for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you.” ESV.

Paul is giving us this winning trifecta for our personal growth as followers of Jesus. The gratitude piece “in all circumstances” can be difficult. Evil never comes from God, so of course, we wouldn’t thank Him for it.

Paul is reminding us to have a thankful heart in all circumstances for Jesus’ continual presence with us, what He has done for us, and the good He can bring in our difficult times.

James 1:2-3

Likewise, James encourages us to keep our eyes on heaven in the hard times. We learn precious lessons about His gifts we as we go through them.

“Consider it pure joy, my brothers, whenever you face trials of various kinds, because you know that the testing of your faith develops perseverance.”

James 1:17

“Every good and perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of lights, with whom there is no variation or shadow due to change.”

All the good things and perfect gifts we receive come from God. James reminds us of His goodness, provision, and unchanging nature to keep us grateful and thankful.

Hebrews 13:15

“Through Jesus, therefore, let us continually offer to God a sacrifice of praise- the fruit of lips that confess his name.”

In thanksgiving and with a grateful heart, we offer praise to God. It should come continually, with a cost, and spoken aloud.

Think of the ways we praise our family members or friends. How much more does God deserve our thanks and praise?

Corinthians 9:15

“Thanks be to God for His inexpressible gift!”

Paul ends his chapter with a reminder of the indescribable gift from God. He has blessed with the gift of Jesus, our salvation, and eternal life with Him.

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Examples of Gratitude in the Bible

Let’s first look at a few examples of gratitude in the Bible, then make the applications to our own lives.

Jesus Feeds the 5000

Jesus spent 3 days teaching and healing a large crowd. He wanted to feed them before He sent them home and used a miracle to multiply five loaves of bread and two fish to feed them all.

“Taking the five loaves and the two fish and looking up to heaven, he gave thanks and broke the loaves.” Matthew 14:19b-20a.

He gave thanks so that the people could observe the few loaves and recognize the miracle of the multiplying and who was performing the miracle.

Reflection: Jesus thanked God for the miracle of providing food for his hungry followers.

Can you think of a time when God miraculously provided for you or answered a prayer? What was your response?

Jesus Raises Lazarus

“So they took away the stone. And Jesus lifted up his eyes and said, “Father, I thank you that you have heard me. I knew that you always hear me, but I said this on account of the people standing around, that they may believe that you sent me.” John 11:41-42.

Jesus thanks His Father for always hearing Him. He was grateful His Father gave Him the opportunity to let everyone know they were in complete union.

Reflection: As Jesus prayed before Lazarus’ tomb, He knows God has heard him. He thanks God for always hearing him.

How often do we give thanks that God is always listening to our prayers? Do we express our thanks for the gift of the Holy Spirit who prays for us when we don’t have the words?

Mary’s Song of Gratitude and Praise

“My soul glorifies the Lord and my spirit rejoices in God my Savior, for He has been mindful of the humble state of His servant.” Luke 1:46.

Luke 1:46-55 is a beautiful song of praise from Mary. She had just heard the news of her miraculous pregnancy and hurried to visit her relative, Elizabeth.

Mary understood what it meant for her reputation to be a pregnant virgin. She viewed her circumstances not as a frightening burden, but as a blessing; received with gratitude, all for the glory of God.

Reflection: Mary didn’t cower in fear in her home for 9 months when she heard the news of her pregnancy. She accepted her pregnancy as a blessing and felt grateful that God chose her to work out His plans.

Has God ever given you a difficult blessing? Is it hard for you to express your gratefulness in hard circumstances?

 A Thankful Leper

Jesus healed ten lepers on his way to Jerusalem. They called out to him for healing, and Jesus obliged; sending them to the priests. He healed them as they obeyed his command. Of the ten, only one returns to thank Jesus. 

“He threw himself at Jesus’ feet and thanked him- and he was a Samaritan.”  Luke 17:16 

Jesus notices that only one of the ten lepers returned to give thanks for their healing. He took notice of the man’s gratitude. 

All ten received physical healing, but nine of them received their gift with an ungrateful heart.

Reflection: I guess I had never thought about the fact that God notices when we express our gratitude to Him. He knows I’m thankful, right?

It certainly pricked my conscience a bit to know there are times when I am like the nine lepers who didn’t come back to thank Jesus. I realized that there’s a difference in feeling grateful vs expressing our thanks to the Giver.

Hannah Gives Thanks

Hannah’s story of years-long infertility, her fervent prayers, trust in God, and the subsequent birth of her son, Samuel, is in the book of 1 Samuel. As unbelievable as it is to my heart, she keeps her promise to God.

She gives her beloved, long-awaited son, Samuel, back to the Lord for His service. What does Hannah do next?

She praises and gives thanks to God! She offers a beautiful prayer of praise and gratitude.

Hannah shows us that genuine gratitude always gives credit where it is due- with God.

Reflection: Could you be as obedient and grateful as Hannah? 

When God grants our heart’s desire, it’s natural to want to hang on tightly to the blessing. Hannah shows us that genuine gratitude always gives glory to God for blessings.

She also shows us that we should use God’s blessings as He sees fit, not as we desire.

Thanksgiving and gratitude are a major theme throughout the Bible, from the Old Testament right through the book of Revelation. The above examples are just a small part of a larger list, but they provide us with attributes of gratitude to consider and apply in our own lives.

Practicing Gratitude

One way to practice gratitude is to use a daily gratitude journal; writing at least 3 things you are grateful for. It’s a simple but effective way to recognize and appreciate the gifts, blessings, and positive aspects of your life you are grateful for. 

It helps focus our attention on gratitude and thankfulness to God and helps it become a habit. Writing out the positive things we experience, the surrounding beauty, the sights and smells that delight us, or the kindnesses we have experienced help us absorb and enjoy them for a few minutes longer. 

Click on the image below to go to my Resource page, scroll down to this image, and download this free Gratitude Journal to get started!

mock up of daily gratitude journal with cover page, and 6 different lined pages

Grateful Praise

Thanksgiving and gratitude to God are an important part of worship and prayer in our everyday life. It honors and glorifies God when we show Him the gratitude He deserves.

How does gratitude play a part in your own personal worship?

As we express our thanks and gratitude, our perspective shifts; we see more and more things to be grateful for! That’s the power of gratitude.

Gratitude in all things is God’s will for us. It is based on God’s goodness and trusting his unfailing love. We shouldn’t base our practice of gratitude on the circumstances of our lives. They can change in a heartbeat.

Gratitude can transform us if we commit to living a life of gratitude. Reading these examples convicted me of ways I can improve.

A life filled with gratitude puts the circumstances of our lives into a new context- thankful to God for what we have, that He is sufficient for us, and focusing on the blessings we have received.

Did any of the examples speak to you personally? Do you have a gratitude practice that works for you? How does it enhance your life? Comment below!

Blessings,

AnnMarie

All Scripture comes from the NIV unless specified otherwise.

Photo Credit: Canva

6 thoughts on “What Does the Bible Say About Gratitude?”

  1. Thank you Anne Marie for the reminder to be grateful. As we go through tough things in life it is important to let the gratitude flow to God. Knowing this as I am in the middle of something tough. Thank you for encouraging words.

    1. You’re so welcome, Lynn. I’m glad we connected. I agree, in the tough times if may be even more important to live an attitude of gratitude. It’s easy to be grateful when things are going smoothly. Gratitude in the tough times keeps us focused on Him when we need it the most! I’m sorry you’re going through something tough- I just said a prayer for you; and grateful to know He sees what you’re going through. May He bring comfort and guidance. God bless you!

  2. Just for the past days , I also thought about gratitude 😊
    I thank God for He is a Mighty Creator and He surely knows all things.
    I am just so thankful to Him for creating this certain “ordinary tree/plant” that can be found almost anywhere here in my country, some people just ignore it but Science has also proven its great benefits to man’s health. It’s always available (no matter the season) and it’s for free. “Ordinary people” can take it anytime and benefit from it.

    Oh I love too what this verse says -Col 2:7. May this be our prayer and heart’s desire -deeplyyrooted in Him our lives built in Him .🙏❤️ Love that part also about Hannah

    Thank you so much for this encouraging post , great reminder. There’s always indeed something to be grateful everyday. ❤️🙏

    1. Yes, our Good Father knows exactly what we need and provides for us. I love that “deeply rooted” verse too 🙂

  3. So good! Love this verse: “Let your roots grow down into him and let your lives be built on him. Then your faith will grow strong in the truth you were taught, and you will overflow with thankfulness.”
    And Paul’s “trifecta”
    And I also never noticed that only one of the ten lepers actually thanked Jesus for healing him!
    I have a gratitude journal that got stashed away. Gonna pull it out and use it! Thanks for all the great reminders and examples of gratitude, Ann!

    1. Thanks Cindy, I soooo needed this reminder too! I don’t ever want to forget to thank Him for all the blessings He brings to my life!

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