[In my January 1, 2015 post, I christened this the “Year of Learning” here on the blog. Each post, I’ll aim to share something recently discovered (or re-discovered) in the hope that you might add my learning to your own discoveries and make double-moves forward and upward this year!]
In her book “Jesus Calling“, Sarah Young shares these reflections on prayer as if being spoken by Jesus himself:
“When you bring me prayer requests, lay out your concerns before me. Speak to me candidly; pour out your heart. Then thank me for the answers that I have set into motion long before you can discern the results. When your requests come to mind again, continue to thank me for the answers that are on the way. If you keep on stating your concerns to me, you will live in a state of tension. When you thank me for how I am answering your prayers, your mindset becomes much more positive. Thankful prayers keep your focus on my presence and my promises.”
While I know the feeling of need that drives a person to voice prayer requests repeatedly, I believe that Sarah is onto something here, when she considers the way in which repetitious requesting impact our hearts.
She describes a feeling of tension. Within Scripture, Jesus advises us that a type of prayer is available to us – a type of prayer that looks considerably different than pagan prayers in which words and wishes are repeated tirelessly. He urges us to pray out of an assumption that our hearer is a thoroughly good Father, who is well aware of what we need but enjoys our asking all the same.
And this is why gratitude within prayer is so key. It rescues our tone from resembling a slave begging for favour from a stingy master, and it frees us to come as a deeply loved child comes to a kind father.
Gratitude helps us pray to the real God, out of who we really are before Him.
And that is something I need to learn over and over.
[On an aside, my 6-year-old determined what image I should use today. Count this as our first joint effort on the blog. :-)]