'The Key to Prayer'
Tuesday, January, 15, 2019 | 9:33 AM | by Munholland
What is the first thing you do when you pray? I used to jump right to my request. The requests were pretty much divided between my personal concerns and concern for others. I would go to God with my anxiety, pray anxiously, and return to my life with the same anxieties over my concerns. Something was missing! I had not discovered the key to prayer: Thankfulness. I don’t mean thankfulness for the things I have received, but for who God is. The Psalmist demonstrates this approach to God. Consider what he wrote:
Shout for joy to the Lord, all the earth.
Worship the Lord with gladness; come before him with joyful songs.
3 Know that the Lord is God. It is he who made us, and we are his;
we are his people, the sheep of his pasture.
4 Enter his gates with thanksgiving and his courts with praise;
give thanks to him and praise his name.
5 For the Lord is good and his love endures forever;
his faithfulness continues through all generations.
Why does the Psalmist call us to ‘shout for joy’, ‘worship… with gladness… and with joyful song’? The joy and gladness stem from who God is. The Lord is God. I’m glad that I am not God; I can barely take care of my own family, let alone others’ issues and the world. Would we want anyone we know to be God-- with their lack of understanding, irritability, impatience, incompetence in some areas… and the list goes on and on. We can be thankful that God is God. The Psalmist is also thankful that God made us and we are His. God making us indicates a deeply invested relationship. We are not part of a mindless universe, but part of God’s loving plan. Affirming that God is God and we are His, sets us in the right mindset for prayer: awe, humility, and the anticipation of a loving response. The Psalmist completes his thanksgiving and praise as he focuses on God’s three important attributes: goodness, love and faithfulness. God is not only good, but His goodness is directed toward us because of His love. That love is combined with faithfulness which lasts a life time and beyond.
Next time you take time to pray, begin with thanksgiving and praise. Give thanks that God is God and you are His. Praise the many beautiful and powerful attributes. When you practice this, you will discover the key to prayer.