Thank you for tuning into this blog series. It’s been fun for me and I hope you’ve enjoyed it too. We have previously explored four keys to effective prayer. These involve:
Now that we have a working comprehension and insight into prayer the fifth key is one of my favorite: Pray with thanksgiving. This is one of my favorite keys because it allows me to thank God for what I know He’s going to do in advance of its manifestation. One of the most powerful things about being thankful is it doesn’t see the limitations, situations, circumstances or road blocks standing in the way. It only sees the end from the beginning. In fact, there are so many examples in the Bible it’s difficult to select just one. However, here’s one that I think speaks volumes to my point found in Luke 17:11 – 19:
As Jesus continued on toward Jerusalem, He reached the border between Galilee and Samaria.
As He was going into a village, ten men who had leprosy met Him. They stood at a distance and called out in a loud voice, "Jesus, Master, have pity on us!"
When He saw them, He said, "Go, show yourselves to the priests." And as they went, they were cleansed. One of them, when he saw he was healed, came back, praising God in a loud voice. He threw himself at Jesus' feet and thanked Him--and he was a Samaritan.
Jesus asked, "Were not all ten cleansed? Where are the other nine? Has no one returned to give praise to God except this foreigner?"
Wow! Did you catch that? After they cried out to the Lord for healing, He gave them instructions and as they were on their way to carry out His instructions they were healed. One of the men realized what happened and ran back to thank the Lord for what he knew was going to happen. That is absolutely POWERFUL! How many of us go back and give praise to God for something we were expecting our faith to purchase? This man recognized that no one else could do anything for him other than God; for that reason he was genuinely thankful.
Prayer with a heart of thanksgiving literally means that what you or I believe God for we know without a doubt He’s going to do it. And since we know this, why not develop a mindset of thankfulness as a magnifier to our confidence. 1 Thessalonians 5:18 says, Be thankful in all circumstances, for this is God's will for you who belong to Christ Jesus.
Is it easy to be thankful in all circumstances? Absolutely not! It would be very difficult especially if we’re looking at short-term issues through long-term lenses which seem to make our problems bigger than our God. However, when we grasp the concept that God is able to do exceeding, abundantly above all that we may ask, think or conceive; the limits come off. We see possibility instead of impossibility; we see can verses can’t; will verses won’t etc, etc, etc.
For this reason, let’s develop a mind and heart of thankfulness to the God of our salvation. We know without reservation that He hears us when we pray and answers us according to His will and just in case you think this means He only answers prayers based on some spiritual reason check this out (Luke 12:10 – 21):
Then He said to them, "Watch out! Be on your guard against all kinds of greed; life does not consist in an abundance of possessions."
And He told them this parable: "The ground of a certain rich man yielded an abundant harvest.
He thought to himself, 'What shall I do? I have no place to store my crops.' Then he said, 'I know! I'll tear down my barns and build bigger ones. Then I'll have room enough to store all my wheat and other goods.
And I'll say to myself, "You have plenty of grain laid up for many years. Take life easy; eat, drink and be merry."' "But God said to him, 'You fool! This very night your life will be demanded from you. Then who will get what you have prepared for yourself?'
"This is how it will be with whoever stores up things for themselves, but is not rich toward God."
Pause and reflect on the above message in the parable. Who do you know that has an abundance of things (toys is what rich people call them)? I’m talking about people who don’t want for anything. Ask yourself without being judgmental, are they rich toward God? I’m not talking about going around preaching to everyone or acting like they’re holier than thou. You know! People who are lights in this world of darkness; the kind of people you see the Spirit of God in. They don’t have to say much, but you know it when you see it and hear it when they open their mouths. You see it demonstrated in their lives and actions.
The biggest take away from the parable that I got is: “Life does not consist in an abundance of possessions.” This being stated, don’t waste your prayers on things that you can’t take with you. After you have gotten all the toys in the world, what happens when it’s time to leave them behind? Are you equally rich toward God? Something profound to think about and to this point Jesus went further to give a clear prospective on how to use our prayers and pursuits as He continues (Luke 12:22 – 32:
Then, turning to His disciples, Jesus said, "That is why I tell you not to worry about everyday life--whether you have enough food to eat or enough clothes to wear.
For life is more than food, and your body more than clothing.
Look at the ravens. They don't plant or harvest or store food in barns, for God feeds them. And you are far more valuable to Him than any birds!
Can all your worries add a single moment to your life?
And if worry can't accomplish a little thing like that, what's the use of worrying over bigger things?
"Look at the lilies and how they grow. They don't work or make their clothing, yet Solomon in all his glory was not dressed as beautifully as they are.
And if God cares so wonderfully for flowers that are here today and thrown into the fire tomorrow, He will certainly care for you. Why do you have so little faith?
"And don't be concerned about what to eat and what to drink. Don't worry about such things.
These things dominate the thoughts of unbelievers all over the world, but your Father already knows your needs. Seek the Kingdom of God above all else, and He will give you everything you need.
"So don't be afraid, little flock. For it gives your Father great happiness to give you the Kingdom.
This is as clear as can be. God our Father knows what we have need of before we ask. And since He’s given all authority to Jesus (Who by the way) understands what it’s like to be human with human appetites and desires, don’t think for a moment He doesn’t have our best interest. When we pray, we should be thankful that He already has provided everything for our life and godliness through our Lord Jesus Christ. We just need to understand the power of being thankful! Be blessed God willing!