Pray and give thanks

pray and give thanks

Have you ever wondered what prayer would look like when we are in heaven? What about the millennium period of peace? I am thinking that the one practice involved with my prayer time – thanksgiving – will still be an active part of  my everyday life.

If you make this offering as a thanksgiving offering to God, you shall present, together with the animal to be sacrificed, an offering of bread made without yeast: either thick loaves made of flour mixed with olive oil or thin cakes brushed with olive oil or cakes made of flour mixed with olive oil. – Leviticus 7:12 GNT

When David was praying for protection from those who were gossiping and slandering him (he compared them to a lion), we know that with the sense of urgency he prayed there would be an equivalent passion for giving thanks.

Lord, my God, I come to you for protection;
rescue me and save me from all who pursue me,
or else like a lion they will carry me off
where no one can save me,
and there they will tear me to pieces. – Psalm 7:1-2 GNT

“It will be well for us here to remember that this is a description of the danger to which the Psalmist was exposed from slanderous tongues. Verily this is not an overdrawn picture, for the wounds of a sword will heal, but the wounds of the tongue cut deeper than the flesh, and are not soon cured.” – Spurgeon

David knew he was not guilty of the charges made up against him and he knew God would vindicate him. I know that with a sense of humility that comes with matters of salvation, I might accept that wrong against me as some sort of deserved action. That is not true of course, and being thankful for what God has done in my life allows me pray and ask God to step in as a shield.

You are the judge of all people.
    Judge in my favor, O Lord;
    you know that I am innocent. –  Psalm 7:8

Here, in the midst of my failures are my successes in life. An honest person, a follower of Jesus, is more than others can imagine or know. Little do we realize how honest a person must be to pray, urgently, simply and with total sincerity meaning what they are praying for.

For those who say they pray a lot and yet God does not answer, I can only say you may be trusting something else, but not God. There may be some traitor in your soul that is being kept there and carefully fed. Thankfulness can root that out.

“With what confidence would anyone address God as ‘Father’? Who would break forth into such rashness as to claim for himself the honour of a son of God unless we had been adopted as children of grace in Christ? He, while he is the true Son, has of himself been given us as a brother that what he has of his own by nature may become ours by benefit of adoption if we embrace this great blessing with sure faith. Accordingly, John says that power has been given to those who believe in the name of the only-begotten Son of God, that they too may become children of John (John 1:12).” – Calvin

 

 

 

 

Confess and pray through

confess and pray through

There is a short list of things in Leviticus chapter five that outline what one might have done unintentionally that required a sin offering. This was the conclusion.

When you are guilty, you must confess the sin. – Leviticus 5:5 GNT

There is a lot to say about wisdom and watchfulness that would prevent these missteps. The offering, while very important, was not accepted if it did not come with confession through humble prayer for pardon. It would also seem that the confession had to be particular – I have sinned in this thing. Denial lies in generals – I know I have sinned, but my particular sin I may be unwilling to give up. So to ensure pardon and to be armed against sinning again in the future, I need to confess the exact truth.

King David seemed to have no issue in being particular in his prayers. When the world became messy for him, David had confidence in facing that world. God answers the call of my prayers when they are made with such faith.

But you, O Lord, are always my shield from danger;
    you give me victory
    and restore my courage.
I call to the Lord for help,
    and from his sacred hill[b] he answers me. – Psalm 3:3-4 GNT

I know silent prayers are heard but there are times when it is feels better to pray out loud. Answers to prayer are sweet for the soul and reminds me that I do not need to fear the world when I am joying in a prayer hearing God.

When prayer leads the van, in due time deliverance brings up the rear. Thomas Watson

 

I have often heard persons say in prayer, “Thou art a prayer hearing and a prayer answering God,” but the expression contains a superfluity, since for God to hear is, according to Scripture, the same thing as to answer. Spurgeon

When in danger, I need to pray.

There is rest, even during the night, knowing God sustains us and will be there to greet us in the morning. David knows his prayers are answered when he starts the day and that gives him confidence in whatever may happen. God is his salvation and he starts the day with that very prayer.

I lie down and sleep,
    and all night long the Lord protects me.
I am not afraid of the thousands of enemies
    who surround me on every side.

Come, Lord! Save me, my God!
You punish all my enemies
    and leave them powerless to harm me.
Victory comes from the Lord
    may he bless his people. – Psalm 3:5-8 GNT

It helps to be in need of care or to experience grieving when they engage me to earnestly pray. David found God ready to answer his prayers whenever he prayed. Prayer means there is no gulf between God communicating His grace to me and the working of His grace in me or between His favour and my faith. I am safe under His Divine protection. It applies to me and my family every night to which I am thankful for each and every morning. It is not much to do about my everyday aches and pains that may cause me bodily or mentality to be alarmed, it has to do with the peace in my spirit in the midst of all of this. The calming effect comes by God’s grace and the infilling of the Spirit. It is a great mercy, when I am in trouble, to have my mind on Christ.

There is a request to answer prayer and an acknowledgement that God has answered them.

Answer me when I pray,
    O God, my defender!
When I was in trouble, you helped me.
    Be kind to me now and hear my prayer. – Psalm 4:1 GNT

Psalm three gives me a model Lament – it can be used as a template to guide my prayers in the challenges and conflicts that I face. I found this recently, and once you read the psalm meditatively then click here to compose your own prayer.

The baptismal approbation of Jesus, the Son of David, thus takes on added significance. God’s sons Adam, Israel, and David’s descendants, all repudiated that privilege. Now, one can almost hear heaven sigh with relief because at last here is a true Son in whom God is well pleased. Such a Son is able to say with confidence to his Father, “I knew that you always hear me” (John 11:41-42). Christology, then, is vital to our understanding of prayer. What belongs to the true humanity of Jesus now belongs to all who trust in him. This is the ground of our justification. It is the source of our confidence in our own eventual resurrection to glory (Rom 8:10-11). Christ has become for us our alter-ego so that we have been crucified with him, baptized into his death, made alive with him, raised up with him, and made to sit with him in heavenly places (Gal 2:19-20; Rom 6:3; Eph 2:5-6). In this sense he is our life (Gal 3:3). Paul’s description of our “in Christ” and “with Christ” existence indicates that nothing hinders our access to the Father. The intercession of Jesus is the continual reminder of this (Rom 8:34; Heb 7:25). If it belongs to the risen Jesus to have access to the Father, it also belongs to all who are in union with Christ by faith (Heb 10:19-22). – Graeme Goldsworthy