February 28, 2024

February 28, 2024

Author: Pastor Gordon Cook
February 28, 2024

When we think about praying, where do we go? We go to our Bibles. The Bible is to shape our prayers and when you think of One particular prayer that we most times think of when we think about praying, is the Lord's Prayer if you want to learn how to pray, I think that's the best place to go. But another great place to go is the prayers of the apostle Paul. So let me turn you to a few prayers of the apostle Paul very briefly. just read the sections of them, not the whole prayers. Colossians chapter one is a helpful place when you begin to think what shaped his prayers and what should shape our prayers. Again he's praying as a man who is inspired by the Holy Spirit and when he writes he's telling us again what kind of prayers we should be praying. Colossians chapter one and why don't you listen carefully for one particular word that pops up several times here to help us better understand what should shape our praying.

Colossians 1:3, “We always thank God the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ when we pray for you since we heard of your faith in Christ Jesus, know the love that you have for all the saints.”

1 Corinthians 1:4, and I'm only going to reference a segment of that prayer, “I give thanks to my God, always for you.”

Ephesians 1:15 “For this reason because I've heard of your faith in the Lord Jesus and your love toward all the saints, I do not cease to give thanks for you, remembering you in my prayers.”

Philippians 1:3, again, listen to his prayer in this portion of scripture. “I thank my God in all my remembrance of you, always in every prayer of mine.”

Now we have other prayers of the apostle I could have turned to but for the sake of time I won’t. But the key word that drives or shapes his prayers is the word thanksgiving. Did you see that? Thanksgiving. The apostle Paul prayed thankful prayers.

Sacrifice of prayer, thanksgiving, a Christian thanksgiving is marked or distinguished from the world's thanksgiving for things. What makes it different? Number one, we could say this, it always makes a bee line towards God. Sometimes when people give thanks, you don't do their thinking. Christian thanksgiving makes a beeline towards God. Paul was saying, “I thank God, I thank God, I thank God.” Go to the Psalms, you find the same emphasis, we give thanks to the Lord, that's one thing that marked out his thanksgiving, distinguishes thanksgiving, what makes it a Christian thanksgiving? He always thanks God.

The second thing that we could say about the apostle Paul's prayer of thanksgiving God sent to but Christ mediated. You picked that up. Romans 1:8. Here's what it says. Is another text, “I thank my God through Jesus Christ.” So we come to God giving thanks come to our Father through His Son the Godman mediator, God centered Christ mediated.

Third thing we can say about the Apostle Paul's prayer and thanksgiving is that it is constant or regular, not infrequent, constant, regular, not infrequent. It's not once in a while, maybe once a month or once a year but, “I give thanks,” listen to what the word he uses, “always,” “always.” It was a great constant in his prayers and sometimes we need to stand back and look at our prayers.

How many times am I really thanking God when I come to the throne of grace?

And there's one more thing. Maybe the one that we might wonder about a little bit more than the others. The one thing that we can also say about Christian thanksgiving that makes it so different from the world thanksgiving, it's God focused, it's Christ mediated, it's a constant.

Here's the other thing, it's a universal thanks. I'll give you one scripture text. I didn't read it this is another one. Philippians 4:6, “Do not be anxious about anything but in everything, everything by prayer and supplication give thanks.” If in everything and that's found three other places in the prayers of the apostle giving thanks in everything, everything and someone might say how can we be thankful in everything that sounds crazy, Insane. Let me show you one man who got hold of this everything perspective when it comes to thanksgiving. Who he was, Matthew Henry. He was robbed of his wallet. And after pondering the incident, here's what he wrote in his diary, “I thank the Lord first because I was never robbed before. Second, because although they took my wallet, they did not take my life. Third because although they took all my money it was not much. Fourth, because it was I who was robbed and not I who robbed.” He was thankful.

You can be thankful in everything. Just have to think about it. Can we be thankful for sickness, injury, disappointment, marriage problems, car accidents, unemployment, divorce, yes you can. Paul was thankful for the thorn in the flesh. Why? It kept him humble. Good. It kept him humble. It kept independent upon the grace of Jesus Christ. He saw the sufficiency of Christ's grace in ways he would never have seen the sufficiency of Christ's grace unless he had that thorn.

And God allows us to suffer for many, many reasons and so we can be thankful, the most thankful people on planet Earth should be the child of God. And we can always cry out to God to help us to be more thankful. If we're going to be a holy man, holy woman, I think we have to be marked by thanksgiving. Spurgeon said, “Perfume your prayers with thanksgiving.” “Perfume your prayers with thanksgiving.”