The Psalmist tells us to “sing out your thanks to Him…” (Psalm 147:7), but they also tell us just to say it. Psalm 105:1 says, “Give thanks to the Lord and pray to him.” In the book of Philippians Paul tells his readers to pray about every concern in life and trust God to deal with it and then says, “Tell God what you need, and thank him for all He has done.”

The Supreme Court in 1963 banned prayers in public schools. The following prayer by kindergarten children was declared illegal: “We thank you for the flowers so sweet; We thank you for the food we eat; We thank you for the birds that sing; We thank you God for everything.” The woman who was instrumental in getting prayer removed from public schools wanted it banned also from outer space. Madelyn Murray O’Hair, after hearing words of prayer radioed by the three astronauts as they circled the moon, said, “I think that they were not only ill-advised but that it was a tragic situation. … ” The noted atheist said she would register a protest with the National Aeronautics and Space Administration, which, she declared, had prompted the three test pilots in scheduling the prayer. Something happens to the heart of an unthankful, ungrateful person. Paul says, “For although they knew God, they did not honor him as God or give thanks to him, but they became futile in their thinking, and their foolish hearts were darkened” (Romans 1:21).

Dr. David Soper, in “God Is Inescapable”, suggests that basically the difference between a prison and a monastery is just the difference between griping and gratitude. Undoubtedly this is true. Imprisoned criminals spend every waking moment griping; self-imprisoned saints spend every waking moment offering thanks. Dr. Soper says that when a criminal becomes a saint, a prison may become a monastery; when a saint gives up gratitude, a monastery may become a prison.

“For people will be lovers of self, lovers of money, proud, arrogant, abusive, disobedient to their parents, ungrateful…Avoid such people.” 2 Timothy 3:2-5