The smell of pumpkin pie and spiced apples fill the air. The bellow of laughter, football cheer, and a crackling fire consume the room. Mouths water as the roasted turkey and stuffing are pulled from the oven. Family and loved ones grab hands to praise God for His provisions. Ah…sights, sounds, and smells of Thanksgiving. How I love it! But is this the only time we say thank you? I’ve been challenged to pray in the now and praise forward. Here’s how the challenge unfolded.
With my head bowed and eyes closed, I started to pray.
The usual words fell from my lips:
Thank you for today, for waking me up, and for this time I have with you.
Then I leapt straight from thanking to asking.
Father, I pray for [a friend]. Be with her today as she has surgery. Go before her; take care of all her needs. Prepare the room for her. Guide the surgeon’s hands during the surgery.
I pray for [a friend]. She has great financial needs right now. Her burden is heavy. Will you make provisions for her needs?
I heard a whisper. Not audibly, but that nudging in my heart that I have come to recognize over time as God interacting with me. “Stop asking Me for what I am already doing!”
With a brow bent my mind replied, “What, Lord? What did you say?”
I heard nothing so I continued my prayer.
I pray for [a friend]. You know the loss she has experienced and the pain she has endured. Help her as she faces the battle.
Then another whisper, “Stop asking Me for what I am already doing!”
I paused again.
“I am already with her…I am Emmanuel, God with us.”
“I have her healthcare under control…I am Jehovah Rapha, Healer.”
“I have already provided what she needs…I am Jehovah Jireh, Provider.”
“I see her battle… I am Jehovah Nissi, her banner.”
Still puzzled by the interrupting whisper, I closed my prayer time and went about with the rest of my day’s activities.
Later, in the busyness of the day, I experienced the “aha” of His whisper. I remembered 2 Peter 1:3, “His divine power has given us everything we need for a godly life through our knowledge of him who called us by his own glory and goodness.” (NIV) It all became clear to me. If God is providing, I need to start praising.
His Word always confirms His whispers.
What if we determined to live every day as thanks-giving…minus all the food and football? What if we paused to examine our request to see how He is already working then praise Him for what He is already doing and will do? It’s a radical thought, I know. We might need to readjust our normal prayer time to make room for His whispers and praises but imagine the joy it would bring to the Father to hear our praises as well as our prayers
Pray in the now for what you need, and praise forward for what He is doing and will do. Happy thanks-giving day…
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Discuss: How is God responding to your prayers? How are you responding to His answers? Commit to the “pray in the now and praise forward challenge” for 30 days. Record in your journal the way God is working in and through your prayers.
Pray: Dear Father, You are so faithful to provide everything I need. Please forgive me when I fail to praise You and become consumed with myself. Help me to accept and complete this prayer and praise challenge and make every day thanks-giving.