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Sunday, January 22, 2017

A New Attitude

You know, I'm sure, that the Bible is in favor of prayer, right? Jesus told the parable of the persistent widow who hounded a judge for justice until he gave her what she asked for (Luke 18:1-18). Why? "He was telling them a parable to show that at all times they ought to pray and not to lose heart." (Luke 18:1) Paul told the Thessalonians to "pray without ceasing" (1 Thess 5:17). The Bible is full of prayers and admonitions to pray.

In Colossians we read,
Devote yourselves to prayer, keeping alert in it with an attitude of thanksgiving. (Col 4:2)
Philippians says something very similar.
Be anxious for nothing, 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 comprehension, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus. (Phil 4:6-7)
Both include two components. Yes, pray, by all means. In one it is "Devote yourselves to prayer" and in the other prayer is "in everything". Now, I don't know about you, but I don't really do that well. No, that's not accurate. Truthfully, none of us do that well. Not "in everything"; not "without ceasing".

But there is a second common component in those two verses. Did you see it? It was "thanksgiving". In the first, while devoting yourself to prayer, keep alert in prayer with an attitude of thanksgiving. In the other, prayers and supplications are immersed in thanksgiving, the result of which is sanity found in the peace of God.

If we're not very good at consistent, constant prayer, I suspect we're even worse at thanksgiving. Imagine it. He says to be devoted to prayer with an attitude of thanksgiving. The image is a believer going wherever he or she may be going with a constant, "Oh, there's something I can be thankful for! Oh, there's another!" Think about it! What kind of people would we be if our entire attitude was one of gratitude? How would that change our interactions, our choices, our desires, our prayers?

Brothers and sisters, let me urge you as I urge myself: Devote yourselves to prayer, keeping alert in it with an attitude of thanksgiving. It's not my idea, but it is my aim.

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