For a year, I lived in Europe as an English Teaching Assistant and was tasked with teaching students about American culture. One part of American culture I enjoyed sharing was Thanksgiving, especially since it was a holiday they never heard of and one for which I had so many great memories. Gathering around the table with friends and family. Sneaking into the kitchen to steal a bite of turkey (or two). Helping my mom and my aunts put together the desserts. Or, one of my favorites, raking a pile of leaves in the yard and jumping in!
Even with all of these great memories, I struggled to share what it means to have a thankful heart. Gratitude is more than a holiday where we gather with family and eat a lot of food. It has to do with the position of our hearts, and that was something I couldn’t teach. So where does a spirit of thankfulness come from? Let’s dive into these 25+ Bible verses about gratitude to help us cultivate a thankful heart.
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Find Joy in the Little Things
It’s impossile to talk about gratitude without first talking about joy. Many people mistake joy with happiness, but happiness is based on circumstances. Do I like my job? Do I have good finances? Are lots of friends and family nearby? Am I in a relationship?
All of these questions have to do with circumstances, and for a lot of people, they determine whether or not they are happy. Joy on the other hand, is about having peace and hope in all circumstances.
For Christians, that comes from knowing that God is in control and that our salvation is secure in Jesus. No matter our circumstances, we have hope for the future and peace in God. What does this have to do with Bible verses about gratitude and having a thankful heart? That’s simple.
Gratitude gives us joy.
Giving Thanks to God for Everything
God tells us to be joyful and rejoice throughout the Bible. One of the ways that we rejoice is by practicing gratitude and expressing thanksgiving to God. Thus, many of these Bible verses about gratitude will talk about giving thanks to God. Why?
Because He is the creator of all things, our Provider, our Loving Father, and because of who He is, worthy of our praise.
Being thankful to God also allows us to find joy in the little things instead of limiting ourselves to thanking other people (for example, for being our friends) or institutions (like a company for employing us). When we’re in dire circumstances and tough situations, we can still find a reason to rejoice and be thankful because of who God is and His promise to be with us during tough times. We can hold onto God’s promises to bring us comfort, like that God will work out the bad for our good (Romans 8:28).
I talk more about this in the 30 days of thanks challenge and in how to make a gratitude list. Both have great reminders and practical ways to encourage us to be giving thanks to God for everything. They also help us rejoice in the midst of whatever we’re going through.
What does the Bible say about being Grateful?
Being grateful is one of the ways that we relate to God. It’s a way to express our appreciation to God for being who He is. Whether through singing, writing, actions, or intentional thoughts and words, we can practice gratitude and grow closer in our relationship to God — all by praising him.
“Therefore let us be grateful for receiving a kingdom that cannot be shaken, and thus let us offer to God acceptable worship, with reverence and awe, for our God is a consuming fire.”Hebrews 12:28-29 (ESV)
The writer of Hebrews shows gratitude for being a part of the kingdom of God, a kingdom that because of Jesus’ victory over death cannot be shaken. That gratitude is then expressed through worship, reverence, and awe for God. This is a great example to take forward as we dive into these Bible verses about gratitude and think about how each of us can respond to God with thanksgiving.
Related: How Do You Practice Gratitude? Take the 30 Days of Thanks Challenge
25 Bible Verses about Gratitude
Now that we’ve talked about who we’re giving thanks to and how gratitude relates to joy, it’s time to jump into Bible verses. As you read and pray over these Bible verses about gratitude, I hope you are prompted to respond to God’s call on your heart.
It means giving thanks to God for everything (even the little things) and in everything (even the though circumstances). But enough from me. What does the Bible say about being grateful?
General Bible Verses about Thanksgiving and Gratitude
This first Bible verse about gratitude from Psalms 100 is one of my favorites. I suggest reading the entire psalm for a short song of praise that focuses on who God is, not our current circumstances. You can even memorize it for a quick way to express gratiude when you’re feeling downcast.
- 1. Psalm 100:4 – “Enter his gates with thanksgiving, and his courts with praise! Give thanks to him; bless his name!”
- 2. Philippians 4:6-7 – “Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God. And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.”
- 3. 1 Chronicles 16:7 – “Then on that day David first appointed that thanksgiving be sung to the Lord by Asaph and his brothers.””
- 4. Nehemiah 12:27 – “And at the dedication of the wall of Jerusalem they sought the Levites in all their places, to bring them to Jerusalem to celebrate the dedication with gladness, with thanksgivings and with singing, with cymbals, harps, and lyres.”
- 5. Ephesians 5:4 – “Let there be no filthiness nor foolish talk nor crude joking, which are out of place, but instead let there be thanksgiving.”
- 6. Psalm 138:1-3 – “I give you thanks, O Lord, with my whole heart; before the gods I sing your praise; I bow down toward your holy temple and give thanks to your name for your steadfast love and your faithfulness, for you have exalted above all things your name and your word. On the day I called, you answered me; my strength of soul you increased.”
“Therefore, as you received Christ Jesus the Lord, so walk in him, rooted and built up in him and established in the faith, just as you were taught, abounding in thanksgiving.”Colossians 2:6-7
Bible Verses about Gratitude toward God
This section is packed with verses from the old and new testament that shout praises and thanksgiving to God. Psalm 26, a psalm of David, sticks out to me because his thanksgiving is not only about praising God, but also sharing with others what God has done for him. It’s a great reminder as we share with others about Christ’s love.
Sometimes we get so scared of telling others about the gospel (me included), but perhaps that’s because we’re focusing presenting the story of Jesus Christ instead of the story of what Jesus has done for us. Both are important, of course. But, why don’t we start by telling people about God’s work in our lives and why we’re thankful?
- 8. Psalm 69:30 – “I will praise the name of God with a song; I will magnify him with thanksgiving.”
- 9. Jonah 2:8-9 – “Those who pay regard to vain idols forsake their hope of steadfast love. But I with the voice of thanksgiving will sacrifice to you; what I have vowed I will pay. Salvation belongs to the Lord!”
- 10. Psalm 50:23 – “‘The one who offers thanksgiving as his sacrifice glorifies me; to one who orders his way rightly I will show the salvation of God!’”
“I wash my hands in innocence and go around your altar, O Lord, proclaiming thanksgiving aloud, and telling all your wondrous deeds.”Psalm 26:7
- 12. Psalm 138:1-3 – “I give you thanks, O Lord, with my whole heart; before the gods I sing your praise; I bow down toward your holy temple and give thanks to your name for your steadfast love and your faithfulness, for you have exalted above all things your name and your word. On the day I called, you answered me; my strength of soul you increased.”
- 13. Colossians 4:2 – “Continue steadfastly in prayer, being watchful in it with thanksgiving.”
- 14. 2 Corinthians 9:11 – 12 – “You will be enriched in every way to be generous in every way, which through us will produce thanksgiving to God. For the ministry of this service is not only supplying the needs of the saints but is also overflowing in many thanksgivings to God.”
- 15. 1 Chronicles 29:12-13 – “Both riches and honor come from you, and you rule over all. In your hand are power and might, and in your hand it is to make great and to give strength to all. And now we thank you, our God, and praise your glorious name.”
Bible Verses about Gratitude for Others
While our gratitude overall is directed to God, we can also express gratitude to others. The Christian life is not meant to be lived alone. We need others for encouragement, fellowship, mentorship, godly counsel, friendship, comfort, sympathy…the list goes on and on.
In these Bible verses about being thankful for family and friends, Paul thanks God for others and praises God for their growing faith. Let’s do the same.
- 16. 2 Thessalonians 1:3 – “We ought always to give thanks to God for you, brothers, as is right, because your faith is growing abundantly, and the love of every one of you for one another is increasing.”
- 17. Philippians 1:3 – “I thank my God in all my remembrance of you.”
- 18. Colossians 1:3 – “We always thank God, the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, when we pray for you.”
- 19. 1 Timothy 2:1 – “First of all, then, I urge that supplications, prayers, intercessions, and thanksgivings be made for all people.”
“For what thanksgiving can we return to God for you, for all the joy that we feel for your sake before our God, as we pray most earnestly night and day that we may see you face to face and supply what is lacking in your faith?”1 Thessalonians 3:9-10
Bible Verses about Being Thankful for Family
- 21. Ephesians 1:16-17 – “I do not cease to give thanks for you, remembering you in my prayers, that the God of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of glory, may give you the Spirit of wisdom and of revelation in the knowledge of him.”
- 22. 2 Thessalonians 1:3 – “We ought always to give thanks to God for you, brothers, as is right, because your faith is growing abundantly, and the love of every one of you for one another is increasing.”
- 23. Philippians 1:3 – “I thank my God in all my remembrance of you.”
Bible Verses about Being Thankful for Friends
In this list, I included two proverbs about gratitude to remind us of the joy that friendship brings. It’s an intangible, immeasurable gift to have friends that stand by you, help you grow, and pray for you.
- 24. 2 Timothy 1:16-18 – “May the Lord grant mercy to the household of Onesiphorus, for he often refreshed me and was not ashamed of my chains, but when he arrived in Rome he searched for me earnestly and found me— may the Lord grant him to find mercy from the Lord on that day!—and you well know all the service he rendered at Ephesus.”
- 25. Romans 16:1-2 – “I commend to you our sister Phoebe, a servant of the church at Cenchreae, that you may welcome her in the Lord in a way worthy of the saints, and help her in whatever she may need from you, for she has been a patron of many and of myself as well.”
- 26. Proverbs 27:6“Faithful are the wounds of a friend; profuse are the kisses of an enemy.”
“A friend loves at all times, and a brother is born for adversity.”Proverbs 17:17
Finding Prayers of Gratitude
If you’re looking for prayers of gratitude, these Bible verses about gratitude are a great place to start. Praying scripture back to God is always an option (one that I often forget). So if you’re lost for words or not feeling particularly grateful, peruse these scripture for a prayer of gratitude to recite to God.
Bible Stories about Gratitude
These Bible verses about gratitude paint a picture of what it means to have a thankful heart. But sometimes more impactful than having a verse is reading Bible stories about gratitude. These two (two of many) show how God rewards a pure, thankful heart.
1 – During his ministry on earth, Jesus healed ten people from lepresy. When they cried out to him for healing, he told them to walk to the priests. As they walked, they were cleansed. However, of the ten lepers who were healed, only one came back to thank Jesus for his healing. To this leper, Jesus proclaimed, “‘Your faith has made you well.'” (Luke 17:19b).
Wow! Look how the leper’s faith is shown through his gratitude. But there’s more. Check out the full story in Luke 17:11-19.
2 – The second story comes from the Old Testament. In Daniel, King Nebuchadnezzer has a frightening dream and asks for someone to interpret the dream. However, the king refuses to tell the dream to his court because he believes whoever can truly interpret the dream doesn’t need the dream told to them.
Daniel and his friends approach God in prayer, and God reveals the dream to Daniel. What’s Daniel’s response? A prayer of gratitude.
“To you, O God of my fathers, I give thanks and praise, for you have given me wisdom and might, and have now made known to me what we asked of you, for you have made known to us the king’s matter.”Daniel 2:23
For the sake of length, I won’t tell you how the story ends, but head to Daniel 2 to find out!
Bible Verses to Cultivate a Thankful Heart
Throughout the Old and New Testament, we are commanded to be giving thanks to God for everything and sing of his wondrous works. Hopefully these two stories and the 25+ Bible verses about gratitude remind you to be thankful this season and everyday.
While responding to our situations and circumstances with gratitude and thanksgiving seems counterintuitive, it is how we obtain the joy that God has promised us. Whether we whisper a prayer of gratitude, write down a couple of lines in our gratitude journal, or share with other what God is doing in our lives, these are all ways we can express gratitude and rejoice.
What does the Bible say about having a grateful heart?
Now that we have all of these reminders to be grateful, how do we have a grateful heart? How can we find joy even in the little things?
When it comes to the heart, to change we have to shift our position. What is our heart pointed toward and on what do we place our hope and our happiness? If the answer is not God, then it will be hard to have a grateful heart because our thanksgiving will solely depend on present circumstances.
But when our hearts are turned toward God, our hearts overflow with thanksgiving simply because of who God is.
I don’t know about you, but that’s where I want to be.
These Bible verses about gratitude and Bible stories about gratiude show us that being thankful is a part of relating to God. Thanksgiving allows us to grow closer to him and keep our eyes on him when the storms of life get rocky. That’s how we can all cultivate a thankful heart.
Why do you think gratitude is so powerful?
Leave me a comment below!
While You’re Here…More posts about Growing in Faith:
- Try the 30 days of thanks challenge!
- How to Make a Gratitude List (And Why You Should)
- 10 Lessons and Stories to Unlock the Power of Prayer
- How to Bloom Where God Plants You with Grace
- 50 Encouraging Scriptures for Times of Trouble (+Free Printable)
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