By H.H. Pope Shenouda III


       He who lives the life of thanksgiving is a noble person, acknowledges and does not forget a favor… NEVER forgets any good offered to him, and expresses his thanks. Thanksgiving is in his heart and on the tip of his tongue, for God and men.

      The Lord Jesus blessed the Samaritan - one of the ten lepers who were cleansed. When the only one returned to Jesus, "and fell down on his face at His feet, giving Him thanks". So Jesus answered and said, "Were there not ten cleansed?But where are the nine?" "Were there not any found who returned to give glory to God except this foreigner?" (Luke 17:15-18)

Therefore, when you give thanks, you are glorifying God, acknowledging his loving-kindness towards you.
If God has done something good to you through anyone, you give thanks to God and also to this person, who was the means in receiving such goodness.

Most people give thanks to God at the beginning and end of the each day, and on occasions like New Year, feasts and certain important events in their lives, but the life of thanksgiving has its characteristics, perhaps in the first place is the saying of the apostle: "Giving thanks always for all things" (Eph. 5:20).

Giving Thanks Always:

So, our giving thanks to God has no specific occasion but it is "always". And as long as it is continuous, it covers our whole lives and therefore the expression "Life of Thanksgiving" applies to it.

The same teaching was explained in the first epistle to the Thessalonians, "Rejoice always, pray without ceasing, in everything give thanks" (1 Thes 5:16-18).

On account of this, the Prayer of Thanksgiving precedes all prayers: All the church rituals and Liturgies begin with the prayer of Thanksgiving, also the seven prayers (in the Agpia) either in the morning or at night. We always give thanks to God "evening and morning and at noon". Also we say with the Psalmist "at midnight I will rise to give thanks to you, because of your righteous judgments" (Ps119).

In addition to the general prayer of thanksgiving, we give thanks in absolutions of the hours:

  • In the first Hour we say " We thank you, O King of ages, for You have let us pass through the night in peace, and brought us to the day break " ... we thank Him for keeping us safe during the night and giving us a new day in life.
  • In the Third Hour we say "We thank You for You raised us for prayer in this holy hour, in which You abundantly poured the grace of Your Holy Spirit, upon Your holy disciples and honorable  and blessed apostles, like tongues of fire". We thank Him because He granted us to pray to Him at this hour.
  • In the Sixth Hour, we say "We thank You, our King, the Almighty, the Father of our Lord, God and Savior Jesus Christ, and glorify You, for You have made the times of the passions of Your Only Begotten Son, to be times of comfort and prayer".
  • In the Sunset prayer, we say " We thank You, our Compassionate King, for You have granted us to pass this day in peace, and brought us to the evening thankfully, and made us worthy to behold daylight until evening”.

 

We thank God for every hour that passes in peace. Then, it is a continuous thanksgiving either at the beginning of every prayer or at certain occasions.