So, whatever may come my way, good or bad, I equally tackle it, always giving thanks to God, Who granted me unlimited faith in Him, and Who helped me so that, ignorant as I am, I might in these final days dare to undertake this work, so holy and so wonderful.
- Patrick, Confession, Irish, 5th century
Oh, give thanks to the LORD!
Call upon His name;
Make known His deeds among the peoples!
- Psalm 105.1
This one selection provides a concise outline of Patrick’s ministry. Patrick was carried off to Ireland from his home in the west of Britain by Irish raiders, when he was only 16 years old. He was sold to a man in the Wood of Foclut, west Ireland, and made to watch his sheep for 6 years.
It was a difficult and trying time for Patrick, especially because he had become convinced that God was judging him for being so lackadaisical about his faith.
Convicted of his sinfulness and rebellion, while serving as a slave in Ireland, Patrick began to pray and thank God, calling upon Him for deliverance. He tells us that he prayed without ceasing, day and night, seeking the forgiveness of the Lord as he thanked Him over and over for his captivity.
When Patrick was 22, deliverance came, and Patrick, after some harrowing days, returned to his home. His family, overjoyed, made him swear never to leave them again.
But God was not finished with Patrick. As he continued to thank the Lord for his deliverance and to call upon Him, study His Word, and seek to know His will, God spoke to Patrick in visions, and called him to undertake the work of bringing the Gospel to the Irish people. Very few Christians were in Ireland at that time, toward the middle of the 5th century, and only a handful of Christian communities. But God had used those believers to establish a Kingdom beachhead in Ireland, and now He was sending in the big guns.
Patrick obeyed the heavenly vision and worked for many years in Ireland, proclaiming the Name of the Lord and making known His works among the pagan Irish.
The rest, as they say, is history.
Giving thanks recognizes the sovereignty and goodness of God, and opens the door to pleading with Him for all our needs, and for guidance in serving Him each day. Giving thanks keeps us close to the Lord, so that we appreciate all His many gifts and graces, focus more keenly on Him and His goodness and might, and willingly receive from Him whatever He may be pleased to send, whether “good or bad.”
By giving thanks, we ready ourselves for service to the Lord. When we are truly grateful for all His blessings we will not hesitate to take up whatever calling He may be pleased to show us. We may not always feel thankful for what comes into our lives. But knowing that God is sovereign, that He does all things well, and that He causes all things to work together for the good of those who love Him and are called according to His purpose, we can give thanks even in the midst of trouble, trials, want, oppression, or loss.
Giving thanks exercises the muscle of faith, increases our confidence in the Lord, and emboldens us to trust Him for whatever we need, and whatever He may require of us.
Do you want to know the Lord’s leading and serve Him effectively in His Kingdom?
1. Why is it so hard for us to remember to give thanks in everything?
2. How can giving thanks strengthen our faith in the Lord?
Psalm 105.1-5, 45 (Warrington: Give to Our God Immortal Praise)
Give thanks unto the Lord Most High; call on His Name, before Him cry!
Make known His deeds in every land; sing praise for all the works of His hand.
Glory in God, rejoice in heart, all you who seek His holy part.
Him and His strength and Presence seek; His works proclaim, His judgments speak.
So let us all in our Savior confide, and in His holy Law abide.
Let us observe His glorious Word, and praise our sovereign, faithful Lord!
Help me to give thanks to You more often, Lord, especially when I…
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T. M. Moore
All Psalms for singing from The Ailbe Psalter. Except as indicated, Scripture taken from the New King James Version. © Copyright 1982 by Thomas Nelson, Inc. Used by permission. All rights reserved.
 Da Paor, p. 102.