By prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God (Philippians 4:6).
How often do you approach your prayer time with a thankful heart? If I’m honest with myself, I often lead with my list of needs without taking time to reflect on the many prayers God has already answered. Paul reminds us that our “prayers and petitions” go hand in hand with a thankful heart (Phil. 4:6).
I’m glad you’ve stopped by for Day Three of “30 Days of Thankful.” Today, I’m hitting the pause button. I’m slowing down so that I can lead into prayer with an attitude of praise. I’m also being mindful to make my requests with a heart filled with thanks.
One way I’m doing this is to lower my expectations. This may sound like I’m dialing down my hopes and dreams—which I’m not. I’m simply trying focus first on God’s breathtaking rescue. I don’t want to lose sight of how He saved me from Hell and set me on course to spend eternity with Him. Deserving hell. Gaining heaven. Everything else is gravy.
Also, I want to approach God with a sense of humility, not entitlement. One Christian author said it well: “You’re never thankful for that which you think you deserve.” If I think God owes me, I’ll live in a constant state of thirst. Life without gratitude is barren, lacking in wonder.
There’s a quaint old saying to express surprise and wonder. You may remember it. “Lo and behold!” A person might say: “Lo and behold! There’s my cousin Sarah. I haven’t seen her in years!”
A woman recently shared how her grandmother helped her understand the meaning of “Lo and behold.” “My grandma told me long ago that ‘lo and behold’ means your expectations are “low” that what you want or wish for will come true or happen. Then “behold!” and “Oh, thank you God!” when it did happen or come true!
I like her grandma’s folksy wisdom. So I’ll continue to dream big and trust God with my heart’s fervent prayers. But I’ll l keep my expectations “low.” And I’ll look forward to “beholding” what God will do as I trust Him. The Bible teaches He’s a God of wonder and majesty. He is full of surprises. Beholding Him makes my heart well up with thankfulness.