Tuesday, November 4, 2008

Pages from a preacher's prayer book (6)

The Positive Power of Thankfulness

In our prayers for you we always thank God (Col. 1:3)
….giving thanks to the Father (Col. 1: 12).
….abounding in thanksgiving (Col. 2:7).
And be thankful (Col 3:15).
Devote yourselves to prayer, keeping alert in it with thanksgiving (Col 4:2).

Christian thankfulness is not a matter of courtesy. It profoundly liberates and motivates prayer. Even from a prison cell, Paul’s epistle is peppered with thanksgiving. It’s an intentional mindset of someone who is determinedly saying “Thank you God” for each new day. Whatever dark events may occur, God’s faithfulness is unshakeable and so is the faith and love of other Christians. In his imprisonment Paul gives thanks because of others’ faith in Christ Jesus (Col 1:4).

Keep saying: “Thank You God” and you open the door to his grace and love. A thankful spirit opens hearts and minds and begets generosity. Miserable ingratitude centers on self and stifles generosity.

Preachers, in common with all humanity, can easily let one bad thing overwhelm nine good things. It is a great gift when preachers show hearers their thankfulness. Positive thanking leads to positive praying, which leads to positive living in God. The old advice “Count your blessings” breathes gratitude into relationships. There is always more to give thanks for than we first imagine. In my ministry, the heroines and heroes have been ordinary people who have radiated peace and courage. And as I think of them I light up with thankfulness. Thankfulness is the secret to freshness in prayer and ministry.

A Prayer: O Lord, help me to be thankful to you, today. To open my mind and heart to your daily goodness; to notice things that I have taken for granted and to take time to reflect on your generosity through Jesus Christ and through Christian brothers and sisters. Help me to radiate the positive power of thankfulness, Through Jesus. Amen.

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