My Heart Is Filled With Thankfulness

Hymnology: My Heart Is Filled With Thankfulness

And let the peace of Christ rule in your hearts, to which you were called in one body. And be thankful. Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly, teaching and admonishing one another in all wisdom, singing hymns and songs and spiritual songs, with thankfulness in your hearts to God.
~Colossians 3:15-16

Hymn Story

When prolific hymn writers Keith & Kristyn Getty moved to Nashville a few years ago, they decided to pursue a new concept for their next project. They wanted to explore themes not typically covered by modern worship music, such as work, community, and money. The result is their most recent album, “Hymns for the Christian Life.”

While most of the songs on this album were newly composed, the couple chose to include one of their older hymns, co-written by Stuart Townend. “My Heart Is Filled With Thankfulness” is a prayer of thanksgiving for the spiritual blessings we have received in Christ.

Here is a soothing performance by Keith & Kristyn Getty:

Stuart Townend’s arrangement from his album “Creation Sings” gives the hymn a totally different feel, though both versions seem very appropriate matches for the lyrics. We have used both versions in services at Stevens Street Baptist Church.

Lyrics

My heart is filled with thankfulness
To Him who bore my pain
Who plumbed the depths of my disgrace
And gave me life again
Who crushed my curse of sinfulness
And clothed me in His light
And wrote His law of righteousness
With power upon my heart

My heart is filled with thankfulness
To Him who walks beside
Who floods my weaknesses with strength
And causes fear to fly
Whose every promise is enough
For every step I take
Sustaining me with arms of love
And crowning me with grace

My heart is filled with thankfulness
To Him who reigns above;
Whose wisdom is my perfect peace;
Whose every thought is love.
For every day I have on earth
Is given by then King.
So I will give my life, my all,
To love and follow Him.

Hymn Study

Our culture and modern lifestyle are not always conducive to thanksgiving. Marketing experts are constantly working—often succeeding—at making us think more about what we lack than what we have received. When we do give thanks, it tends to be for things like health, family, and possessions. And while it is good to be thankful for these things, this is not the way the New Testament churches prayed, as the Getty’s point out.

Instead, the earliest believers prayed more for spiritual blessings, such as forgiveness (Matthew 6:12), the ability to do good works (Colossians 1:10), strength & endurance (Ephesians 3:14-19), and the assurance of their future hope (Ephesians 1:16-18). They were known as thankful people, despite the costliness of their faith.

Paul told the church in Colossae to be thankful (Colossians 3:15). And how were they to remain thankful? By dwelling on the word of Christ, and singing together songs which would impart wisdom (Colossians 3:16).

When we constantly remind one another of the blessings we have received, and of the promises which God has made to us, it creates in us hearts which are truly thankful for everything from our daily bread to our eternal home. This is why, in our prayers of thanksgiving, we ought also to include thanks for faithful hymn-writers like Keith Getty and Stuart Townend who give us thoughtful songs such as “My Heart Is Filled With Thankfulness” to bless and serve the church.

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