God… ‘Thank You’

August 23 – August 29

“We need deliberately to call to mind the joys of our journey. Perhaps we should try to write down the blessings of one day. We might begin; we could never end; there are not pens or paper enough in all the world.” -George A. Buttrick

It has been said that the most powerful prayer in the world is just two words long: “Thank You”.

When the worries and fears of life suddenly show up at our doorstep, we pray — we ask God for help. Most of us quote the Apostle Paul — “Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication…”(Phillipians 4:6).

What’s interesting is that the verse continues with these words — “…with thanksgiving”. But, when life is not the way it is supposed to be — when nothing makes sense — when the light at the end of the tunnel is a train coming your way — how do you pray “thank you”? I have found reflecting on these scriptures to be a wonderful help:

“When the righteous cry for help, the LORD hears and delivers them out of all their troubles.” (Psalm 34:17 ESV)

“…come into His presence with thanksgiving…” (Psalm 95:2 ESV)

“Call to me and I will answer you, and will tell you great and hidden things that you have not known.” (Jeremiah 33:3 ESV)

“Sing to the LORD with thanksgiving…” (Psalm 147:7 ESV)

Praying when you are burdened, and adding “thank you” is a conscious choice. It’s about choosing to put “life” in perspective, especially when I am troubled and anxious.

Matthew Henry (1662-1714), writer of the well known commentary Exposition of the Old and New Testaments, was robbed one night. On that very night, after the robbery, he penned this prayer, “I thank thee first because I was never robbed before; second, because although they took my purse, they did not take my life; third, although they took my all, it was not much; and fourth, because it was not I who robbed.”

When you pray, add a “P.S.” — an “attitude of gratitude”. While you may not understand everything right now, tell God “Thank you” for being there… “Thank you” for your steadfast love… “Thank you” that I can trust your heart even though I don’t understand… “Thank you” for your grace… “Thank you” for… you fill in the blank.

An old hymn reminds you to “Count your blessings — name them one by one.”

Pray? Of course. Ask God for help? Yes. But be sure to add “Thank You”. It just might turn your prayers — and your life — around.

Posted on: Aug. 23, 2011, 4:47 p.m.