Fall is upon us and I must confess that this is my favorite time of year. In addition to the beautiful colors and the cooler temperatures that this season brings it’s the time of year for us to reflect and give thanks to God for the harvest that He provides throughout the year. But, we shouldn’t wait until Fall or the harvest season to give thanks to God; it should be a part of our daily life.
Giving thanks to God is a vital part of our prayer lives. While there should be certain priorities, as well as a balance in the way we pray (which is what the model prayer of Matthew 6 is teaching), thanksgiving is often neglected in many peoples’ prayers. Way too often we enter God’s presence and immediately present our list of wants without acknowledging His holiness, love, grace, and forgiveness that make our prayers possible. We must be careful to not presume upon God’s grace in such a way.
As I study the Bible I see a common characteristic among the Godly men and women that God used throughout Scripture. They all seem to be men and women of prayer. As you read the Bible begin to take notice of the times that God’s people prayed. Then, consider your own life and honestly ask yourself, “Am I as committed to prayer in my life as those in Scripture?”
Start with Nehemiah and note the importance of prayer in his life and ministry. He faced the tremendous task of leading the people to rebuild the city walls around Jerusalem after the Exile. Yet, in spite of such an overwhelming responsibility we find Nehemiah to be a man of prayer who was dependant on God (Read Nehemiah 1 & 2). And then, after the wall was complete and the exiles returned to occupy the city, we see the people thanking God (Nehemiah 11:17, et al.).
Prayer and thanksgiving are vital to our spiritual growth. Let’s not neglect such an important discipline that is also a great privilege. So as you pray, be sure to thank God for prayer! It’s one of the many ways we “grow in the grace and knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.”
By His Grace,