Last night, my husband and I met with our small group. We do this weekly on Monday nights, and it is always beneficial in one way or another. We sit with other believers and discuss God’s Word, pray together, and leave with a resolution to apply what we learned to our lives. We love it!
Last night was no different, but there was something significant that stood out to me from everything else. We spent our time studying the book of James, specifically chapter 1. I love the book of James. But that wasn’t it. We talked about trials and temptations and how to best handle both when they come into our lives. It was incredible! But that wasn’t it, either. We spent time sharing things with one another, getting to know each other better. If you know me at all, you know how much this fuels me! But that wasn’t it, either.
We ended in prayer. This was it, but allow me to share the story with you.
Our small group leaders have two little girls, and their oldest is almost three. She is a little princess, and I just adore her. There is always a plan in place for her to be in her room while we are meeting, but she inevitably makes her way out to join us, which I know that none of us mind, because, seriously, she’s the cutest little girl in the world. This time, she sat next to her mom on the couch, notes on her lap, looking ready to engage in the conversation with all of us. So cute. She kept saying, “Jesus” as we talked and shared. So cute. When it came time for us to end in prayer, her dad asked her is she would like to pray for us, to which she responded with joy, “Yes!”
And so she did. She folded her sweet little hands, bowed her head, closed her precious eyes, and began to thank Jesus for all the things that she loves so much…that day, her mom and dad, the pool, her princess crown…so cute. And then we all said amen together. As we smiled and laughed at the sweetness of this little child and her faith, one of my good friends in the group dropped the mic with this one question:
“When was the last time any of us said a prayer only thanking God and not asking Him for anything in return?”
Just thanks. Just the simple prayer of thank you. This sweet, child-like faith and that one question has left me reeling. What if I began to approach God from a posture of pure gratitude? What if my prayers were filled with praise? What if I couldn’t get through a day without thanking Him for everything that filled it, even the small stuff?
My perspective would change. All of the daunting circumstances in my life would shrink in the face of my big God who is so worthy of my unending thanks and praise. God would appear big again, just as He always has been, because my focus would be back in the right place.
I’m not saying it’s wrong to ask God for things. We are supposed to petition Him. We are told to bring our requests to Him. His Word instructs us to do so. However, in this hard life that only seems to get harder as we get older, I think we’ve made a catastrophic shift in our prayers, and we need to return to thanksgiving. When all we ever do is come to God with requests, we not only rob Him of the praise and worship that He is due through our thanksgiving, but we also rob ourselves of the joy that is to be had when we are found being thankful.
Let’s remember this simple practice today as we come to the Lord in prayer. Let’s remember the simple prayer of “Thank you.” And why don’t we start with Psalm 96?
Sing to the Lord a new song;
sing to the Lord, all the earth.
Sing to the Lord, praise his name;
proclaim his salvation day after day.
Declare his glory among the nations,
his marvelous deeds among all peoples.
For great is the Lord and most worthy of praise;
he is to be feared above all gods.
For all the gods of the nations are idols,
but the Lord made the heavens.
Splendor and majesty are before him;
strength and glory are in his sanctuary.
Ascribe to the Lord, all you families of nations,
ascribe to the Lord glory and strength.
Ascribe to the Lord the glory due his name;
bring an offering and come into his courts.
Worship the Lord in the splendor of his holiness;
tremble before him, all the earth.
Say among the nations, “The Lord reigns.”
The world is firmly established, it cannot be moved;
he will judge the peoples with equity.
Let the heavens rejoice, let the earth be glad;
let the sea resound, and all that is in it.
Let the fields be jubilant, and everything in them;
let all the trees of the forest sing for joy.
Let all creation rejoice before the Lord, for he comes,
he comes to judge the earth.
He will judge the world in righteousness
and the peoples in his faithfulness.
Oh, yes. And oh, so not my natural response. Thank you for this.
Love this love this love this Cherie! Beautiful post, wonderful reminder from Psalms. Thank you!