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Raising an Ebenezer—Cultivating a Heart of Worship & Gratitude

Let me first say, I am an optimist. If you’ve spent any amount of time with me, you’ve probably noticed this. I like to spin things to look on the bright side and bring some encouragement into my conversations. With that being said, if this is not how you are naturally bent, don’t tune me out just yet.

As Thanksgiving approaches, it only seems fitting to mull over how thankfulness and gratitude play a part in our faith and worship. Each week we gather on Sunday mornings and intentionally spend time singing songs as an act of worship—songs that speak truth about who God is and spurs our hearts toward gratitude. Songs with lyrics like these:

You are a Good Father 

We are free, forever we are free

This is a sound of adoration

Oh, how we love You!”

Songs have a beautiful power to evoke all kinds of emotion, and I believe they should! I have always viewed singing worship songs about God as an opportunity to change my heart and perspective towards Him. When my heart hasn’t felt grateful or hopeful, singing truth about the goodness and stability of who God is combats the instability of my own heart. Or when I do feel hope filled, encouraged, and full of gratitude, I can’t help but give God rightful praise!

When we take the time to intentionally position our hearts to receive what God has for us in those moments of worship and praise, our heart and mind are brought into alignment with the power of God, and we breathe gratitude into our souls. We are naturally selfish, self-centered human beings. Creating a worshipful heart brings our attention back to Christ as the author and perfecter of our faith.

I heard someone recently say that, “Gratitude is a decision—not a disposition you were born with.” Isn’t that hopeful! Despite how you are naturally wired, gratitude is available to ALL! Our faith is meant to spur something within our hearts that is different than what the world (and all its circumstances) has to offer. Situations and circumstances won’t always bring you satisfaction, gratitude, or a spirit of thankfulness. Trust me! But a life that is tenaciously pursuing every opportunity to rejoice in all seasons, circumstances, situations is a life focused on finding gratitude.

I love singing the song “Come Thou Fount” on Sundays. And not just because Anthony plays the accordion, or that the tempo we sing this timeless song in brings relevancy, but rather I adore what these lyrics call us into. When we sing “Here I raise my Ebenezer,” the song refers to an Ebenezer Stone, which means “The Lord has helped us.”  The song is a call for us to lift up praise and to remember ALL that God has done in our lives.

The lyrics go on:

“Prone to wonder Lord, I feel it,

Prone to leave the God I love.

He to rescue me from danger,

interposed His precious love.”

WOW! We are singing:

Lord, even though my heart is not always faithful,

you still rescue me and love me,

 because You are always faithful!

Just imagine what’s happening to our heart and mind when we sing this. We are developing a worshipful heart. A mature, healthy heart is empowered to rejoice! It doesn’t wait for someone else to do it for them.

I hope this fills you with some encouragement. No matter how you celebrate Thanksgiving, hopefully you can find some time to stir up that worshipful heart within your soul and bring into remembrance ALL that He has done.

Raise that Ebenezer!

—Vanessa Coburn

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