Prayer and gratitude

The Christian Science Monitor

Earlier this year on the front page of my local newspaper there was a picture of a soldier lying on top of his tank reading the Bible. He was waiting for a repair crew to come and fix the tank. The picture said a lot about reliance on God during times of strife.

Perhaps people are looking more wholeheartedly to God because they're feeling a lack of control over their experience, or because fear is so great. Homelessness, high unemployment, recession, the war, have many worried about their futures, and a deeper desire to feel more of God's presence has naturally surfaced. Prayer is what enables us to feel His presence and the certainty of His care, and gratitude is a vital aspect of prayer. Whatever challenge we may face, the desire to live peacefully and securely is fulfilled as we turn to God with gratitude for the good He gives, for the harmony He constantly maintains in His spiritual likeness, man.

The Bible tells us that before Christ Jesus raised Lazarus from death he gave God thanks in these words: "Father, I thank thee that thou hast heard me. And I knew that thou hearest me always." Jesus thanked God for answering his prayers before the restoration of Lazarus was apparent. Wasn't the Master's gratitude a powerful acknowledgment of God's supremacy and perfect, uninterrupted government of man? While the others were doubtful, Jesus was sure of God's willingness to maintain man's eternal harmony. Gratitude is an indispensable element of prayer. It reflects an assurance that God is in control of His creation. Often our narrow vision of opportunities or success hinders our seeing God's hand in our experience. As we pray to see how God is protecting and guiding us, and as we thank Him for all He has already done, we'll see more good taking place, more of the harmony of genuine, spiritual life coming into view.

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Being certain of God's care
November 30, 1992

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