I would dare say, that when most people pray, they are asking God to do something in their life or the life of someone that they love.
Take away this sickness.
Help me find a new job.
Turn my wayward children back to you.
Fix my marriage.
Grow our church.
Give me wisdom.
There isn’t anything wrong with these prayers. In fact, we are instructed to pray for others and to pray for ourselves. God cares deeply about details such as these. But, let me ask, how do we respond as God answers those prayers or redirects us to a different outcome?
When God answers our prayers I want to suggest that we should spend some time in prayer thanking Him for those answered prayers. Not just a “thank you Lord,” but some meaningful prayer; recognizing that He could have answered our prayer any way He chose, and we received our desired outcome.
When God does not answer our prayers in the way that we hope, I want to suggest that we show gratitude anyway. We never know why God does what He does, but if we trust that He is a good God, we can thank Him for being at work in ways that we cannot see.
Paul gives this instruction in one of his letters to the church in Thessalonica:
Rejoice always, pray without ceasing, in everything give thanks; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you. (1 Thessalonians 5:16-18 NKJV)
When is the last time you spent 10-15 minutes just thanking God, and not asking for one single thing. For some, the answer might be never. Regardless of how long it has been, I think we all can agree that we are much more inclined, to ask God for something, or to do something, than to be mindful and show gratitude.
Showing gratitude takes intention. Perhaps you could stop right now and thank God for something in your life.