Enter his gates with thanksgiving and his courts with praise; give thanks to him and praise his name. Psalm 100:4 NIV
Into Your Presence
I think that I have been barging into your presence filled up with all my own worries, concerns and requests. I’m not sure that I have even allowed myself to catch my breath before blurting out a request for something I’ve wanted or needed. Does that seem like the right way to come to me in prayer? No, it really doesn’t. What problems do you see with that approach? There are several problems with that approach. Let me hear what you have on your mind and in your heart.
Prayer is a two-way conversation. When I don’t take time to slow down to draw near to you it is really hard for me to hear what you want to say to me. Why is that? It takes time for the busyness and noise level of my life to quiet down so that I am able to receive anything from you. Quickly barging into your presence is such a hindrance to me that often I’m not even aware that you have drawn close to me.
Why do you think it is a good idea to start your prayers off with thanksgiving and praise? First of all, you are worthy of all my thanks and praise. Acknowledging what you have done and are doing for me before asking for anything else just seems like good manners to me. I want to let you know how thankful I am for all that you have done for me. Most of all I know that you take great delight in hearing me express my gratitude to you. Yes, I do. How do you know that? I can feel your pleasure even as I am giving thanks and praise to you. As I’m giving thanks and praise to you, it feels like you are setting my heart and putting my mind in the right place. Yes, I am.
As I have given thanks and praise to you my perspective has been altered and my prayers have changed. How so? My heart and mind are more settled and less urgent. I am more focused on you and more knowing that you are in control. I feel more joy as I release my worries, concerns and requests to you. I trust you more and myself less. Giving thanks and praise to you has helped me to more clearly see your activity and work in and through my life.
Thanksgiving and praise has helped me take my eyes off of myself and look to you. Once your eyes are off of yourself and focused on me what are you really ready to do? Then I am really ready to listen to all that you want to say to me. That’s what you really want isn’t it? You want to know me and hear what I have to say to you, don’t you? Yes Lord, it is the desire of my heart to know you and to hear your voice speaking to me.
Lord, my attention has been focused on my life and all my circumstances. I have raced into prayer to tell you all about them to ask for your help. Now, I want to bow down to worship you. You are worthy of all my thanks and praise. Amen
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