Resources for Parents : Helping Children Understand the Difference Between Praise and Thanksgiving
“The Lord gave and the Lord has taken away; may the name of the Lord be praised.” Job 1:21b)
When we read Job’s statement, it is clear that Job’s praise doesn’t relate to what God has given him. This verse is a good start in teaching the difference between praise and thanksgiving. In the context of our relationship with God, praise is expressing our admiration for who God is and thanksgiving is being grateful for what God gives us.
Thanksgiving is so tangible; thanks for my puppy, my bike, my supper. Praise, though, focuses on God’s character. When your daughter messes up, she can praise God for His unconditional love! When your son wonders how God could raise someone from the dead, he can be awed by God’s omnipotence! When your children see you worried, you can model praise for God’s faithfulness; He promises to meet our needs and you know He will!
One suggestion to help us develop hearts full of praise is to think about the names of God. The Hebrew language allows us to see God’s character more easily because God is named differently throughout the Bible, corresponding to the character trait He exhibits. The following is just scratching the surface, but these verses introduce us to some of God’s names and thus, His character.
-Elohim: “Creator” (Genesis 1:1, God created the heavens and the earth) Praise God for being an amazing creator!
-Jehovah: “Lord” (Zechariah 13:9, the people say, “The Lord is our God!”) Praise God that He is the highest, nothing and no one is above Him!
-El Shaddai: “Almighty One” (Genesis 17, God tells Abraham that he will become a father of many nations) Praise God that He is powerful!
-Jehovah Jireh: “God our provider” (Genesis 22:8, God provides the lamb for the burnt offering for Abraham and Isaac) Praise God who is the source of all we need!
-Jehovah Rohi: “God our shepherd: (Psalm 23, God is directing and protecting us like a shepherd with his sheep) Praise God, our great leader!
As we learn better the character of God, may we be able to display true praise when we pray with our children. In a consumer driven world, we can be glad to facilitate a developing relationship with God that is about more than just asking for things.
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