Praying Effectively-PART 4

Part 4 – Praise and Thanksgiving

Sometimes our hearts break because we desire something so strongly that we can’t imagine life without it. So, we take it to Jesus Christ in prayer, but progress doesn’t come in the way we expect, and things are not shaping up anywhere near how we thought they would. So, we continue to pray about it, but something has changed. We’re questioning ourselves and we’re questioning God. We’re wondering if He will answer our prayers in the exceedingly abundant way we hope. As time continues to progress, we mention this thing less and less in our prayers. It becomes an every-now-and-again thing, and we allow our faith regarding this desire to slip through the cracks without having absorbed the lesson God wanted us to learn.

As human beings, we have a history that unveils the revolutionary accomplishments of those that are very talented and highly intelligent. We’ve done great things throughout our existence on this planet, and no one can deny that since the days of Brother Adam and Sister Eve, we’ve come a mighty long way, but we didn’t do it alone. Jesus Christ tells us in John 15:5 that HE is the vine, we’re the branches, and apart from him, we can’t do anything. We’re cut off, completely separated from the Source of all good things without Christ. Everything we’ve done is attributable to the grace and empowerment of God. Within less time than a blink of an eye, He could make it all disappear, and do so as if nothing we see today ever existed.

As His children, it is imperative that we know who our Father is and what He can do. We must be absolutely crystal clear about the central and foundational reality that Jehovah is KING! Jesus Christ is KING! God is The Holiest of holies, magnificent beyond magnificence, intelligent beyond intelligence, and powerful beyond anything we can imagine. He is the Beginning and the End. He is Alpha and Omega. Nothing slips by Him, and no detail is ever left undone. God tells us a little bit about His intelligence in Isaiah 55:9(NLT). He said, “For just as the heavens are higher than the earth, so my ways are higher than your ways and my thoughts higher than your thoughts.” Even with the highest IQ of any human, even in a million years, no person would be able to match the depth of even one thought from the mind of God. This is the God we serve. There’s none like Him, and He is worthy of every bit of adoration, glory, and honor that we can give him.

Psalm 100:4(NLT) tells us, “Enter his gates with thanksgiving; go into his courts with praise. Give thanks to him and praise his name.” We should be in awe every moment of every day for the rest of eternity that God would even allow us to enter His gates. And because of His infinite grace and mercy to extend such a magnanimous privilege, we had better be sure to enter it precisely as He tells us, with thanksgiving and with praise. He’s worthy! We come to God so often with long faces and sorrow, in need of repentance for our sins, and we forget the praise and thanksgiving. We’re so consumed with our own ‘woes me’ that we forget altogether that we serve a joyous, glorious, happy God that is all light and has no darkness at all.

We rejoice at many of our celebrations here in this natural realm, like sports games, graduations, concerts, birthdays, anniversaries and other events. It doesn’t make sense that we would celebrate each other, but not present to God, the Creator of all, an expression of our highest praise and gratitude. Sure, there are times when we are sorrowful because life has given us a swift kick, but when we go to God, there should be some understanding and acknowledgement that He’s the Almighty God. No greater help exists than Him, and no one loves us more than He does.

Philippians 4:6(NLT) tells us, “Don’t worry about anything; instead, pray about everything. Tell God what you need, and thank him for all he has done.” Again, one aspect of prayer is to go into our quiet place where we petition God and ask Him about things that are heavy on our hearts. But there comes a time in our walk with Christ where we must take prayer to another level. We need to get out the mindset of always expecting God to show us what we have already seen. He wants to open our eyes to a new dimension of His reality, and prayer is the vehicle that will take us there. Instead of becoming so burdened by the lack of what we desire, there should be times when we greet God with a heart that seeks only to praise Him and show gratitude for all that He is, and all that He’s made us through Jesus Christ.

We can see even on a very human level that people respond very favorably to us when we offer them praise or thank them for a kindness. In our significant relationships, we understand that praise and gratitude build intimacy. Well, God created those relationships to teach us this because they help us better understand His desire for intimacy in our relationship with Him.

To see a new dimension of God’s reality requires us to make a shift and take on a greater level of humility and obedience. So often, this is the lesson we need to learn. Our understanding of who God is must deepen, and prayer is one of the most loving and peaceful practices that God has given us to go from faith to higher faith, from glory to higher glory. We must acknowledge that there is no other like God. Through the psalmist, Heavenly Father tells us in Psalms 100:2(NLT), “Worship the Lord with gladness. Come before him, singing with joy.” When we know who the Father is, we can’t help but to feel joyful. So, we should never allow our attitude to fall away from anything less than glorious adoration, gratitude, and praise of our Heavenly Father. This is the posture that pleases Him and takes the intimacy and effectiveness of our prayers to a deeper level. ■

Scripture quotations marked (NLT) are taken from the Holy Bible, New Living Translation, copyright © 1996. Used by permission of Tyndale House Publishers, Inc., Wheaton, Illinois 60189. All rights reserved.

“Praying Effectively: Part 4- Praise and Thanksgiving”, written by JMack,© 2021. All rights reserved. All praise and honor to God through Jesus Christ, our Lord and Savior.

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