Gratitude is the key that unlocks the kingdom prayers and moves them to the throne of grace. Gratitude… one word, one action, one heart felt emotion opening up the gates of heaven moving our groanings into the Father’s presence.
Man, I don’t know about you, but I’d really like to be able to pray like this. I’d like for my prayers to move mountains instead of ant hills. Why, I don’t even think I’ve moved any ant hills lately, unless I stepped on them accidently while walking across the yard. And Gratitude? Why, I’m thankful, very thankful! I’m thankful I got out of bed this morning and made it to work today. I’m thankful for my husband, all my kids, grandkids, my job, good hair days, well, you get the point. But am I grateful?
I decided to look up the word in the dictionary, just to get the facts right. Gratitude is a state of being grateful: THANKFULNESS. Yes, it was written just like that, in all caps. I took that as important. In other words, if I am full of thankfulness, then I am grateful for all the Lord has done for me. And when I learn to pray in a spirit of gratitude, my heart in turn will be full of thanks toward my heavenly Father for all He has done for me.
As I ponder on this thought, I think of what happens in my life (I will use myself as an example since I really don’t know how God works in your life): I pray for a specific person, thing, or situation, and nothing happens (the ant hill effect). Not realizing that just past the surface of things, God is at work in my life for my greater good. You would think that by now I would realize that God does not do anything quick in my life. He takes His time. Just like prayer, it takes time.
For example, when Daniel asked Nebuchadnezzar for time so he could interpret the king’s dream, he spent that time in prayer seeking God’s wisdom and direction. And when Nehemiah sought God’s help in rebuilding the wall around Jerusalem, he spent several months in prayer before he moved into action. I was beginning to see a pattern here…
My prayers need to take the time God allows in my life to teach me something more than just receiving an answer from Him. Did you get that? They are to teach us something about ourselves. Maybe not every time, but I can see, looking back on my own life, how God has used my prayers to change my heart toward someone or something He wanted me to love, change, correct or rebuild for my own good. Was this process painful? Yes. And was I grateful through the process? I cannot honestly say I was, but I am learning and that is what the Christian walk is all about - learning to walk. Maybe that’s why they don’t call it the Christian race.
“Prayer without ceasing is only possible in a life of continual thanks.” Ann Voskamp