And He said to them, "It is written,'My house shall be called a house of prayer,’…”
Matthew 21:13 NKJV

Friday, July 22, 2011

A Thankful Heart

Gary Stebbins
Church on the Rock - Melbourne

Several weeks ago I came into one of our early morning prayer times at church. All was well, or so I thought. As we were praying, Pastor Tony happened to glance out one of our windows. Something did not look right and indeed it was not right.

During the night someone had stolen three of our air conditioners. After processing the initial shock and implications of such a problem, my immediate response was thanksgiving. Now I was not thankful that someone had stolen the A/C units, but my heart was filled with gratitude over the goodness of God. Yes, this was a problem, but God has been so faithful to us for many years. It would be very difficult for me to express in words how truly gracious God has been towards us.

As we continued to pray that morning I felt God say that there would be a silver-lining in this cloud. My immediate response as I prayed was not justice, but praise and thanksgiving. The Lord reminded me of 1 Thessalonians 5:16-18 “Rejoice always; pray without ceasing in everything give thanks: (WHY?) FOR THIS is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus.”

The following Sunday I challenged our church to live the next week without grumbling and complaining, but instead express gratitude and thanksgiving to God.

I believe thanksgiving should be a significant part of our prayer life. God is not asking us to be thankful for trouble when it comes, but to be thankful for a God who will walk with us no matter what difficulties might come our way.

I love David’s prayer of thanksgiving in Psalm 138, and in verse 8 he says …“The Lord will accomplish what concerns me; your loving-kindness, O Lord, is everlasting; Do not forsake the works of your hands.”

Wow! God is concerned for what concerns me. He hears my prayers. This fills my heart with thankfulness towards Him.

May God fill your heart with thanksgiving and may the expression of gratitude become a significant part of your prayer life.

Are you rejoicing?
Are you praying?
Are you giving thanks in everything?