My Beloved Sunday School teacher Dawn recently challenged our class to pray at least once a day without asking for anything. This was much easier said than done, and revealed to me how much I take from God without even a genuine word of thanks.
Prayer has always been difficult for me. Over the years it has often been like ripping off a bandaid: I know I need to do this, but it makes me uncomfortable, so I’m just going to quickly say thanks for everything so He doesn’t take anything away and ask for a few things before I run off to make those things happen myself. Dawn’s challenge made me stop and think about what I was actually saying to God, and I can’t tell you how often I had to forcefully keep my brain from asking for blessings. In fact, I often write my prayers, and I would have, “Please…” written before I could stop myself.
Surely we know that if we ask, then we shall receive, and God gives us all that we need and often much, much more. I have far more than my basic needs met, and by not asking for more personal blessings, I am forced to go back again and look at all that I have to be thankful for. There is certainly much we still need to pray for, including better peace relations among all peoples of the world and cures for the diseases that plague us and break our hearts; believe me when I write that I am not making light of the very real, very devastating struggles of living in this world. But, by daily offering one prayer that is pure gratitude, I believe that we can better see what God has already done for us, and by doing so, we can experience joy in our present circumstances.
What prayer practices do you engage in daily? Are they memorized or personalized? Do you offer more prayers of thanks or prayers for blessings, healing, or change?