Have you ever complimented someone, then they returned a compliment to you, but you knew that they were just saying something because they thought they should? Did it really mean anything to you?
When you pray to the Lord, do you really mean it? I’m not talking about when you ask for something you want, or when you have a dire need or are praying for someone else’s dire need. Stuff we pray for that we want, we do really want and we do really pray for, earnestly.
I’m talking about the “regular” prayers; you know, thanks for the food, thanks for the job, etc. When we give thanks for something do we really feel the emotions that we state, or are we just doing what we were taught we should do?
Are we just zombie praying? Are we just going through the motions without the e-motions?
I like to thank the Lord for the medicines I take each morning, and especially for the fact that there are so few of them. I like to thank God for the veggie egg wrap I get each morning from Dunkin Donuts each workday on my way to work (and occasionally I really, really pray they will bring back the turkey sausage one.) And when I thank God for the job I have, the people I work with, my wife, our love, the life He has given us together, and everything, (not to brag) I really mean it.
I have been blessed in having to scrounge up enough coins to buy a Dinty Moore Beef Stew can for my meal that day. I have juggled bills so well I could have starred on the Ed Sullivan Show (ooh- I am really dating myself now.) I have been bankrupt, came back and gained a good financial foothold, then lost all the money I saved to alimony and child support, only to see it go to smoke because I paid a ton of money for 2 years and my son was still wearing T-shirts for diapers, even though his mother lived rent-free.
I say this not to engender pity or respect, but to point out that, yes- it was a blessing to go through those trials because they taught me how to be really thankful. Someone who never has had a lack of anything (I believe) can not be truly thankful for anything. How can you appreciate having what you have never lacked?
And, since we are talking about God, about ethereal things, about salvation and eternity- all things that we humans can’t appreciate as much as we could if we were ,oh, say…a fallen angel, then how can we pray and really feel it?
It is possible, but you need to allow the Ruach to help you. I know what it feels like to be with the Lord- when the Ruach entered my body, I was ethereal, I was in the Spirit, and I was there for a second or two. But I will never forget what it felt like.
I have felt God’s touch, His embrace, and it brought me to tears of joy. I haven’t felt that so much in the past few years, most likely because I have become inured in my prayer life and in my worship. I pray as David prayed, to be given a clean heart and have a right spirit renewed in me, to remember the joy of my salvation. And because I knew God’s touch, I know how much I miss it when my worship is half-baked (my fault), and so when I pray for it I really mean it.
I don’t wish hardship on anyone but, well…I lied. I do wish everyone would go through hardships in their life. The gold will never be refined if it doesn’t pass through the fire, and metal will never stand up to stress if the slag isn’t removed. I pray (and I mean it, too!) that everyone who wants to be blessed by God go through want, and depression, and suffering (both physical and emotional), and hunger, and unrequited love. All the worst things that can happen to a person, only so that they will all the more appreciate and be thankful, truly thankful, for when they receive from God all that they had lacked.
If life is good and nothing is wrong, pray with thanks to God for His protection, but also realize that the Enemy will leave you alone if you aren’t doing anything for God. Trials and tribulations strengthen us- just ask Jimmy (his book is in the New Covenant writings) and pray that God will strengthen you. And get started doing more for God.
I am really thankful when I am thankful, and I hope that you can say the same. Look deep into your soul, because that’s where God sees you, and make sure that you are truly thankful when you pray. If not, I think it would be better to just not say anything.
Better a truthful lack of thanks than a hypocritical attempt to be “correct”, so don’t pray just to pray- pray as you feel.