By [Jesus] therefore let us offer the sacrifice of praise to God continually, that is, the fruit of our lips giving thanks to his name – Hebrews 13:15
We cannot praise God without thanking God. That is the clear implication of this verse.
The praise to which we are called must be continual; and it must consist, at the very least, of our lips giving thanks to his name. And, most importantly, it is only praise when it is by Jesus.
When you come to God in prayer, what percentage of the time do you spend in thanksgiving? What is the first thing you usually say to God in prayer? Is it “Please…” or is it “Thank you…”? Is it petition or is it gratitude which you most often bring to God?
There is certainly nothing wrong with making our needs and desires known to God in prayer. However, we cannot properly praise God unless we also bring with us conscious, grateful words of praise to his name, for all he has done.
This is not to be an occasional, or thoughtless, exercise of duty, but the continual bent of our heart when we are in the presence of God. Such a consistent attention to gratitude will not only foster in us a joyful appreciation for all our blessings, but it will also guard us from temptations toward envy and discontentment.
For what should we be most grateful? To whom do we owe our greatest praise and gratitude? By whose authority and grace are we even allowed entrance to God in prayer? It is by Jesus, and for Jesus, that our greatest thanks should be offered to God.