Thursday, February 23, 2012

Thankful prayer....

"O give thanks unto the LORD; for he is good: for his mercy endureth for ever." 
Psalm 136:1 

giving thanks...

The expression "thankful prayer" may sound strange. Prayer and thankfulness, however, always go together, not only because answered prayer requires thankfulness, but because we must acknowledge God's mercy toward unworthy sinners........whether or not we can point to answered prayers, we owe God thankfulness. Every day we receive much for which we didn't even ask. Even if we cannot point to any specific answers to prayer, we have reason to acknowledge the Lord for everything we are and have. 

The apostle Paul wrote to the Romans: "Or despisest thou the riches of his goodness and forbearance and longsuffering, not knowing that the goodness of God leadeth thee to repentance?" Here we are reminded that there is more than enough to be thankful for. If we would only recognize that everything we receive more than death is grace. ..........The goodness of the Lord ought to break and humble us, and turn us to Him.......thankfulness begins with a broken and contrite heart.

True thankfulness begins by recognizing our weakness. It ends in praising God, glorifying His Name, and praising His attributes in love. A mark of true thankfulness is that we love the giver more than the gifts. When God's creatures return to Him, there in His presence His goodness is experienced. 

If we possess this love we always have something to be thankful for. If we are poor, we can be thankful for health. If we are sick, we can be thankful for the care we receive. If we have a cross, we can be thankful for what we still have. 

"In everything give thanks." In everything? Yes, in everything - even in adversity. How is that possible? Paul understood this seeming impossibility when he was in prison with Silas and had his feet bound in stocks and his back cut open by the lashes he had received. He sang praises to God in the night. Paul knew that it is better to have adversity with God's presence, than prosperity without God's presence. 

Thankfulness in adversity doesn't mean that we are indifferent to our suffering, that we don't feel our grief and have no sorrow. Thankfulness does not wipe out grief; that would be unnatural. But in sorrow God's sufficiency is felt and therefore, where there is grief, there may also be joy.

The deepest trials often produce the greatest gratitude. The soul knows that these are God's personal dealings with him and that in this way gold is purified......there is a reason for thankfulness, despite the pain of the pruning knife. When Jacob said, "All these things are against me," he should have said, "All these things are for me," because God was at work taking care of him. Blessed are they who believe without seeing. They shall glorify God, even though they don't know what the outcome will be.

~ Frans Bakker

Sharing with Thankful Thursday.

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"Seek ye the LORD while he may be found, call ye upon him while he is near: For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways, saith the LORD. For as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways, and my thoughts than your thoughts. For as the rain cometh down, and the snow from heaven, and returneth not thither, but watereth the earth, and maketh it bring forth and bud, that it may give seed to the sower, and bread to the eater: So shall my word be that goeth forth out of my mouth: it shall not return unto me void, but it shall accomplish that which I please, and it shall prosper in the thing whereto I sent it."
Isaiah 55:6,8-1