“Now when Daniel learned that the decree had been published, he went home to his upstairs room where the windows opened toward Jerusalem. Three times a day he got down on his knees and prayed, giving thanks to his God, just as he had done before.”1
Daniel is known throughout history for his faithfulness to God; more specifically his time in the lion’s den where God closed the mouths of the lions and kept him safe. What is sometimes over-looked, however, is the fact that throughout most of his life, he was a slave in Babylon. Daniel was a Hebrew from the tribes of the Israelites, God’s chosen people. Even though he had been a slave since very young, his life in captivity never strayed him from his beliefs and faith in the one true God. The Bible says that Daniel prayed and GAVE THANKS to the Lord THREE TIMES A DAY! I can’t imagine that finding things to be thankful for in captivity would be very easy. I mean, Daniel was taken from his home and his family, thrown into a culture very different from his own, and threatened to death if he didn’t serve the pagan gods. But Daniel did find things to be thankful for, just as he had been taught to do before he became a slave, as a child.
Every year, around this time, we ask our children: “What are you thankful for?” We usually get the same responses: “My Family... My House...” and then they have a hard time thinking of what else. Daniel’s parents must have shown Daniel how to be thankful if he was able to thank the Lord three times a day, every day! If we are honest, there are days when the Lord only hears our thankfulness for “the food we are about to eat,” and sometimes not even that. Do our children see us being thankful? Do they hear us being thankful? I remember one time, when my son was younger, we were entering a store and he was holding the door open when he noticed another person approaching. He chose to stay behind and hold the door for them as well, but his act of kindness went unnoticed. That moment stuck in his mind throughout the remainder of our shopping trip and when we were back in the car, he said to me: “They didn’t even say thank you!”. How many times have our children noticed our un-thankfulness? How can they learn to be thankful if we are not?
Daniel learned to be thankful, and it became a habit that he carried through the most difficult times of his life, which I’m certain were many. Let’s make thankfulness a habit, not just in November, but every day of the year. And not just once a day, but three times a day! Let’s teach the younger generation how to be thankful.
Dear Lord, I am sure that my un-thankfulness has not gone unnoticed. You have given me so much to be thankful for that there is no reason that the words, Thank You, shouldn’t be on my lips at all times. Help me live each moment with a grateful heart. Allow others to see and hear that thankfulness from me. Gratefully, in Jesus’ name, Amen.
All articles on this website are written by
Richard (Dick) Innes unless otherwise stated.