|A Ugandan butterfly.|
"I stopped asking God for things, and started thanking Him for them."
These words have echoed in my heart and head for a long time, after initially hearing them from a wise Ugandan friend. Such a perspective on prayer intrigues me.
What if I stopped asking from God and began thanking Him for how He has already answered?
I think you would agree with me the needs around us are endless - world crises, national issues, requests of family and friends, and our own personal petitions. And yet God is fully and intimately aware of each one and is already working upon them - even when we don't see the "answers."
So, what if I began thanking Him for His provision and protection, rather than repeatedly asking for it?
What if I thanked Him for already being there for the people from whom I am far?
What if I spoke words of gratitude that His will will be done in each situation and on behalf of each need?
What if instead of asking for my daily bread, I thanked Him for what He has already provided?
It's not like God changes or we have to remind Him to continue be the Awesome and Sovereign Father He has been and always will be - forever.
Too often my prayers come from a weak faith in a great God - not that He has at all changed or shifted in His immutable character and ways.
It's amazing how when you pray in gratitude for who God is and what He has already done, it turns prayer into worship and praise and less into a delivery of a laundry list of needs - as if we serve a "vending machine" Supreme Being.
In a sense, when we thank and praise Him, we are saying, "Yes, God, Your ways are best and I want Your will to be done above my own." Oftentimes I am not even sure how to adequately pray for myself or others, and yet when I thank Him, I am saying, "God, you've got this and I am going to rest in that confidence."
And rather than reminding God of all that is burdening my heart, I again recall He is already awesome, loving, trustworthy, gracious, faithful, merciful and so much more.
He doesn't need the reminding of who He is - I do.
So, I encourage you - the next time you pray - thank God for how He already has and is answering your petitions. You might just start a life-changing habit. :)
P.S. Please know I understand that intercession is an important aspect of prayer and Jesus did include it in His model prayer for the disciples. But I think we could spend a lot more time thanking our God and less asking from Him.