“Praise Prayers”

The Upper Room devotional reflection for Wednesday, January 5, 2022 comes to us from Valerie Bryant Bennett of Tennessee.

1 Sing joyfully to the LORD, you righteous; it is fitting for the upright to praise him. 2 Praise the LORD with the harp; make music to him on the ten-stringed lyre. 3 Sing to him a new song; play skillfully, and shout for joy. 4 For the word of the LORD is right and true; he is faithful in all he does. 5 The LORD loves righteousness and justice; the earth is full of his unfailing love. 6 By the word of the LORD the heavens were made, their starry host by the breath of his mouth. 7 He gathers the waters of the sea into jars ; he puts the deep into storehouses. 8 Let all the earth fear the LORD; let all the people of the world revere him. 9 For he spoke, and it came to be; he commanded, and it stood firm.

Psalm 33:1-9 NIV
 

“Praise Prayers”

One day I began my usual morning prayers. I prayed for my children’s needs, my needs, and the needs of friends and family. Suddenly, a vivid image of a gumball machine popped into my head. As a child, I enjoyed putting a coin in the slot, turning the handle, and having a colorful gumball fall into my hand. I realized I had been praying as if I were inserting coins into a gumball machine. Almost all of my prayers were petitions, and I was acting as though I expected God’s answers to drop into my life like gumballs into my hands.


While God is compassionate and willing to help us when we ask, I realized I was taking for granted the wonders of creation, God’s generous gifts, and the sacrifice Christ made for us. Now when I pray, I begin with praise. Instead of immediately thinking of what may be lacking in my life and the lives of my loved ones, I find joy in first recognizing the amazing love and generosity of God. And I find that when my “please prayers” remind me of all that God has done, my “please prayers” come from a trusting, thankful heart.

 

Friends –

I have learned to say “Thank God” when something good happens, when I see someone do something kind, or when I see a beautiful view of God’s creation. Valerie Bryant Bennett’s reflection reminds me how important that thankfulness can become, as we remember God’s generous acts of creation. I am also reminded that I don’t have to wait until the Thanksgiving holiday in November to give thanks to God for all that surrounds me. I invite you to remember some of moments that you can thank God for.

--Pastor Bea

 
Prayer:

Dear Lord God, help us not to wait until we need something but to stay close to you at all times, expressing praise and trust. Amen.

--Valerie Bryant Bennett

 
Prayer Focus:

Those seeking help from God.


Thought for the Day:

I will balance my prayerful petitions with praise for what God has done.

 

Sing to the Lord a new song! Sing his praise from the ends of the earth. Isaiah 42:10 (CEB)