Being thankful isn’t always our first go-to. Especially when things are going wrong. But, friends, something holy happens when we do.
In Psalm 100:4 the Psalmist talks about entering his “courts” with praise. The gates courts he is speaking about are areas where only priests could enter.
Christ changed all of that.
When we give thanks to God, especially in the yuk places, we enter into a special place of intimacy with God. We are drawn close in spite of our feelings or circumstances.
This isn’t something we lean into naturally. It’s something I still have to do with intention, but every time I realize the power it has over my heart and how it reshapes how I think, and even how I will respond.
How does this work?
Three steps: Pause. Presence. Praise.
We recognize that gratitude isn’t going to be our first reaction. So we pause. We ask God to join us, even in that hard place. Then we surprise the enemy as we praise God in a situation that doesn’t seem praise worthy.
A child talks back…
Thank you, God, for this child of mine. Thank you that you offer wisdom to know how to shape his heart, to teach him, to love him well. Thank you that you are patient with me when I fight with you. Thank you that all of this will one day reap a harvest as my son or daughter grows and matures. Thank you for allowing me to see good in my child, just as you do me.
The bank account is low…
Thank you God for food. For shelter. For health. For friends. For laughter. Thank you that you are my provider. Thank you for these beans and cornbread or whatever is on my plate. Lord, if there is a step to take on my part, give me wisdom. Thank you that my basic needs matter to you.
A marriage is in trouble…
Thank you, God, that you heal wounded hearts. Thank you that you can create miracles where none seem possible. Thank you for my spouse. Thank you for the love that we once had. Thank you for the good things he or she has done. Thank you that you love my spouse, even when it seems that I cannot. Thank you that you will lead us to help. That you hear the cry of the heartbroken. Thank you that you carry burdens too big for me to carry alone.
These are just a few examples.
This isn’t denying what is wrong or refusing to walk in reality. It’s allowing our spiritual eyes to see the bigger picture, which can completely change our response and our hearts in the midst of those hard moments or seasons.
Whatever the situation, the focus is off of the mountain and on God and his love for us. We enter a place of closeness with your Heavenly Father. That alone infuses us with faith and direction. It empowers us right where we are.
Today: For the next 24 hours, substitute thanksgiving for angst or complaints. Surprise yourself with the words you offer to God.
Share the challenges of this, and also the good found in it. Let us pray with you, if you are struggling.
Come With Me: 31 Days of Prayer by Suzanne Eller
Sometimes we just need a little help getting started with prayer. I totally understand that. Find that help in this E-book, Come With Me: 31 Days of Prayer.