We were looking for gluten-free blueberry cake donuts. What we found was a church with a surprising name. Thankful Baptist Church. It was an imposing structure of brick and stained glass, and I was as happy with our find as if we'd netted a dozen donuts.
I wanted to meet the pastor of such a happy church and ask him if the name was true. Were they really a thankful church? Unfortunately, I tried every door, but no one was home.
The filled-with-thanks-to-God church. It would be a good place to visit.
The psalmist tells us we are to "enter His gates with thanksgiving, and His courts with praise." (Ps 100:4) "Come before His presence with thanksgiving..." (Ps 95:2)
We don't often acknowledge it, but those verses are game-changers for the one who wants to enter the presence of God.
Nowhere in Scripture does it say enter the presence of God with whining and complaining. Nowhere does it say enter His presence with a grocery list of stuff we want.
What about the psalmist's words are hard to understand? We are to enter the presence of God with thankful hearts, presenting our grocery list of thanksgiving, not requests. There's a time and place for requests, but it's not when we first enter the presence of God.
I made a conscious choice to enter God's presence with fewer requests and more thanks, and it changed my prayer life. Not long ago, I was asked to pray for some missionary needs. I was nearly to the end of my prayer when I realized I'd forgotten the needs. I'd been too busy thanking God for what He'd already done.
Even God likes hearing how much He's loved and appreciated.
Occasionally, I'll say, "God, you already know the needs. You heard us talk about them. We're leaving them in your hands so we can take time to tell you how much we love You. How much we appreciate You. How terrific we think You are." I don't know if I get more answered prayers that way, but it definitely brings me closer to the presence of God.
Today, why not join me as the Thankful Church of God Almighty and His Son Jesus Christ? Let's spend all our quiet time thanking God for the things He's already given us. What about our requests? He knows our needs. Let's simply ask Him to handle them as He sees fit.
If we want to enter the presence of God, we should do it with the thanksgiving that comes from grateful hearts.
If you'd like to help support this ministry, here's the link to give: Global Outreach Acct 4841 If you'd rather use a check or money order, make it out to Global Outreach. Remember to put "Account 4841" on the "for" line. Mail it to: Global Outreach, PO Box 1, Tupelo MS 38802