Bruce Collins, Evangelist

The personal website of Bruce Collins

Thank you, Father!

Meditation for the week of October 7, 2012

Therefore by Him let us continually offer the sacrifice of praise to God, that is, the fruit of our lips, giving thanks to His name.  (Hebrews 13:15)

I see prayer as a conversation with God.  We talk to Him and He talks to us.  Sometimes He talks to us through the Bible,  sometimes through circumstances, sometimes through other people and sometimes by controlling our minds and putting thoughts and impressions there.  We have to be careful when we think God is speaking to us because sometimes Satan convinces us to do things by using all the same techniques that God uses.  He even puts Scriptures into our minds.  However, he misuses them even as He did with the Lord when the Lord was being tried after his forty days and nights in the wilderness.

Talking with God is a great privilege.  However  when we pray, we are quite frequently asking God for some need.  A conversation with God can certainly be a request since God is able (and willing) to do exceeding abundantly above all that we ask or think (Ephesians 3:20).  However, a conversation should not be a memorized speech nor should it always be just requests.  When we speak to our fathers (and God is our Father), they would think it strange if we wrote out our conversation.  If we needed our fathers to run errands for us, we might give him a list of things that we need or want him to do.   Otherwise we would speak respectfully, but we would also speak normally.  We should have a conversation with him.

There are a lot of things about prayer that I do not understand.  I do not understand how some Christians can sincerely pray for our current president to be reelected while others just as sincerely pray for the challenger in our system.  Whose prayer is the Lord going to answer?  Perhaps this difficulty arises because our prayers are not Scriptural.  The Lord guides us as to how to pray in these cases.  He set an example when He prayed in the garden before his crucifixion saying, “Not my will but Yours be done  (Luke 22:42).”  In addition, He tells us to pray for those in authority.  Perhaps if we were more inclined to obey God in these matters, He just might take the man that we did not want leading us and have him make decisions that are best for us.  If the man that the Lord puts in office is really wicked, he might even be turned into a God fearing man just like Nebuchadnezzar was in Daniel 4.  This is the best way to pray, and God will no doubt honor those who have these kinds of conversations with Him.

However, prayer should be more than requests.  The Bible talks about praising the Lord, blessing the Lord and thanking the Lord.  These are the kinds of conversations that we normally have around the Lord’s table when we remember Him.  We call that meeting a worship meeting, and it is;  but we can and should be worshiping at other times.  Worship is more than the Lord’s supper, it is more than uplifting praise music, it is more than just saying words.  It is true devotion seen in true obedience.  We should be in the “attitude” of worship all the time.  That would keep us from being in the “attitude” of complaining and grumbling.  Worship cannot be easily defined, but it can be easily seen in the lives of those who are true worshipers.  One aspect of worship is a thankful spirit.

Our verse for today says that praise and thanksgiving are “sacrifices”.  A sacrifice costs something so praise must not be natural or easy.  Sometimes it is very difficult to just say thank you to someone who has done something nice for us.  We all want to do something in return.  God has given us victory through the resurrection and we are to thank Him for it (1 Corinthians 15:57).  He has given us His Son (John 3:16).  To the believer in Christ He has given us eternal life  (Romans 6:23).  We who were without hope (Ephesians 2:12) have  now been given hope, that is we have been given a future filled with blessing.  But all of these things would be cheapened if we tried to pay for them.  They are priceless.  The only way to properly value the Lord and the things He has done for us is to say, “Thank you.”

This week in my personal prayer time, I am going to spend my time in blessing, praise and thanksgiving rather than in asking even though I have many things that I would like to request.  The Lord says in Matthew 6:32 that He knows our needs.  So while there is a time and place for asking maybe there is also a time a place for not asking so that we can be solely occupied with praising and thanksgiving.   The Psalmist says thanksgiving and praise pleases the Lord more than the sacrifice of an ox or bull (Psalm 69:31).  The Lord is a gracious giver, I am going to try to be a more thankful recipient.  I am going to just say, “Thank you!”

Bruce Collins

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