In the spirit of Thanksgiving, I believe there is a greater lesson to be learned about prayer. Much, if not most, of our prayers are asking, and most of our asking is without merit. We ask for things without considering how appropriate our request is, if what we ask is in line with God’s intentions, or if He has already promised the provisions we’re asking for.
Or maybe I ask and receive not because I ask with wrong motives…
Or perhaps I ask without faith and expect God to honor that request…
I ask to be released from consequences. I ask to get the rewards I believe I deserve. I ask for favors and advantages over others. I ask God to help me do (or even make me do) what the Bible says I should do.
Can you imagine a Private asking a General to help him pick up the cigarette butts that his Sergeant told him to pick up?
We say, “God, help me love them,” or “God, love them through me.” All the while knowing I was told to love them myself.
In other words, we get messed up when the thrust of most of our prayers is asking.
Instead, we ought to spend more time thanking. Thanking means I acknowledge what He has done in the past (gratitude), I’m trusting God in advance for what He’s going to do (faith) and admitting to myself He is actively involved in my life currently (trust).
If I thank Him for His presence instead of asking Him to be with me, I am acknowledging that He has already promised never to leave me. If I thank Him for power that energizes my will to resist sin, I am confessing my choice to refuse temptation. If I thank Him in the middle of my trials, I am declaring He is sufficient for all my needs and praising Him for the opportunity to rely on Him. If I thank Him for knowing my situation when I am sick, I am stating He is my healer and knows of my suffering and is involved in my case.
Making our requests known through thanksgiving is a much greater testimony of trust than simply asking Him to do something.
Today, I choose to be forever grateful for all He is doing in my life…whether I am dealing with what makes me happy or sad.