Sometimes my prayers are characterized more by habit than by heart.
“Father, I thank you so much for this food and for this day and for my family and for every blessing. Thank you for our house and our clothes and our friends. And, of course, thank you for Jesus.”
I can say all that—and quite a bit more—without thinking at all about what I’ve said. Do you ever do this?
We fall so easily into the rut of ritualism, going through the motions because it’s what we’ve always done.
It can infect our worship—ever sung an entire song without thinking about any of its words?
It can hurt our relationships—our conversations with our spouse might never get deeper than the superficial. “How are you?” “Good—you?” “Fine. How are the kids?” “Oh, they’re good. How was your day?” “Fine.”
We say a lot of stuff without really thinking about it.
This is why it’s so important for us to pause and reflect every day, and then truly pray.
Not the ritualistic, thank-you-for-this-day kind of gratitude, but genuine from-the-heart thankfulness.
In your devotional time this week, take a few minutes in a prayer that’s exclusively focused on thanking. During this prayer, don’t ask for anything. You can do that in other prayers, but for this one, just thank God.
- Thank him for who he is and what he’s done.
- Thank him for his creation, for his Son, for his church, for his salvation.
- Thank him for your family, your food, your friends.
- Just thank him.
George Herbert wrote: Thou hast given so much to me, Give one thing more—a grateful heart; Not thankful when it pleaseth me, As if Thy blessings had spare days, But such a heart whose pulse may be Thy praise.
And Paul wrote: Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God. And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus (Philippians 4:6-7).