Prayers of Thanks

Thank you cards 

Provide an interesting array of thank you cards, to suit all tastes, and some gel pens in different colors. Have class members write thank you cards to God for the things He has done for them or provided for them during the past week.

Encourage the class to take the cards home to keep in a prayer file or between the pages of a Bible.

This activity could be repeated once a quarter to create a collection of thank you cards.

Thank-you circle 

Have the class sit in a circle, or in several circles, depending on its size.

The first person says, “Thank You, God, for . . .” and then says a few words about what he or she would like to thank God for.

The person to the left of the first speaker then repeats what the first person has said and then adds a thank you of their own. The third person repeats the first two thanks and adds another, and so on, until everyone has added a thank you to the series.

In a small group it may be appropriate to go around the circle a couple times, or in different directions.

This helps to build up a whole group experience of thankfulness and joy.

Thank you challenges 

Point out that in 1 Thessalonians 5:18 Paul invites us to be thankful in all circumstances, yet at times this can be difficult.

Organize the class into pairs and have each member think of something that they are finding difficult to be thankful about at the moment.

Each person chooses something that they would be happy to share with their partner. After one person has shared their challenge, both can work together to find three things to thank God for in the situation.

Then the second person shares his or her challenge, and both partners work to find three things to thank God for in the second person’s challenge.

It may be helpful to suggest to the group that they might look at the challenge through God’s eyes, to see the gifts He might have “hidden” in the challenge that they haven’t noticed before.

In pairs have them thank God for the treasures He has hidden in the challenges and pray for each other.

Thank you gift boxes or bags 

Provide each class member with a small gift bag or box and 10 slips of paper that will fit easily into the bag or box.

Have a selection of pens available. Have each person create their own gift bag from God by writing about 10 special gifts they have received from God, such as good health, family, a talent for music, etc. Have them write one thing they are thankful for and why they are thankful for it on each of the 10 pieces of paper.

At the end of the activity (this may have to be completed at home), invite people to divide into pairs and share with one another the contents of their gift bag. Then have them pray for each other.

Thank you boxes 

Find a selection of six boxes of different sizes and wrap them in different but coordinating gift wrap. Add bows or other decorations if you wish, but keep in mind that you may want to stack the boxes on top of each other in a display.

Make a large label for each box, perhaps printed on a computer, and affix the labels on the sides of the boxes. Labels could be made as follows (or choose your own ideas):

  • Personal talents/skills
  • Family and friends
  • Material provisions
  • Spiritual encouragement
  • Health
  • Creation/inspiration

Provide a range of sticky notes, gift label stickers, or just plain white labels and some pens and have the group write thank you sentence prayers on the labels and stick them on the appropriate box.

Then have a time during which each box can be read quietly by each person, or give the boxes out to six different people and have them read aloud the prayers on their box.

Stack the boxes to create an attractive display in the classroom, where they can be left for several weeks.

Alternatively this can be an ongoing activity, left in the classroom for people to add their thank you prayers throughout a quarter.

Thank you calender

Use a computer to help you print off a calendar for the month ahead. Give one calendar to each person and challenge them to find three specific things each day to thank God for. At the end of the month invite all to bring the calendar sheet to the class and discuss this experience as a group, closing in prayer.

Karen Holford
© 2006 General Conference of Seventh-day Adventists