I bless thee that thou hast made me capable
of knowing thee, the author of all being,
of resembling thee, the perfection of all excellency,
of enjoying thee, the source of all happiness.
~ Excerpt from The Valley of Vision
I don’t know about you, but my prayers definitely lack the heart of gratefulness, humility, and praise exhibited in the above prayer. While I know that I do spend time daily thanking God for His blessings, most of my prayer life is spent in supplication – or asking – for things. Whether it’s my desire for a house, my sick grandmother, Matt’s work, a new computer, or even Abigail’s teeth to not hurt, I tend to camp out in this section of my prayers.
Now, please don’t misunderstand me. God WANTS to hear our desires. He COMMANDS us to pray for others. This is part of His plan for our prayer life – to show that we are totally dependent on Him and to carry all of our needs and wants to Him.
But what about spending time thanking God for the things we have? In addition for me praying for another house, do I thank God for the roof currently over my head? Am I grateful I have a computer that works? Do I praise God for the godly heritage He’s given me in my grandmother as I’m praying for God to heal her? Am I rejoicing that I have a husband who works so diligently at his job when so many other men complain about their work or are unemployed? Do I step beyond the temporal things and look to Jesus, praising His name for being a God who provides salvation?
When I was in high school, my youth pastor issued a challenge to us. I don’t remember the context of his sermon, but I do remember thinking the challenge was interesting. I decided to try it. It changed my entire attitude towards life and prayer.
The challenge: Pick an amount of time (I did a week in high school), and spend that time only expressing gratefulness and thanksgiving to God during your daily prayer time. That’s right, when you’re spending time with Jesus everyday, rather than asking God for things, thank Him for something instead.
Today is Thursday. We have one week before Thanksgiving. I challenge you to spend the next week thanking God for the things He has done, given, and simply who He is. Whether you only pray thanksgivings or you simply increase this area of your prayer time, I guarantee that God will give you a more content heart and open your eyes to how blessed you truly are.
“In everything give thanks; for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus.”
I Thess. 5:18