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Friday, March 16, 2012

Lord, Teach Us To Pray! Part 16

Prayers of Thanks continued...

Luke 17:17-19, “So Jesus answered and said, ‘were there not ten cleansed? But where are the nine? Were there not any found who returned to give glory to God except this foreigner?’ And He said to him, ‘arise, go your way. Your faith has made you well.”

Jesus noticed! Not only did Jesus notice that ten had been healed and only one had returned to thank Him and give glory to God, he also inquired where the other nine were. The man who had returned had no answer, he could not tell Christ where the other nine were, all that he knew was that he had returned and was now giving glory to God and thanking Jesus for what He had done on his behalf.

You are responsible for you, I am responsible for me, and I cannot answer on behalf of others as to why they did not come before God with prayers of thanks. I can only answer on behalf of myself.

God keeps immaculate records. He doesn’t overlook certain things for the sake of sparing our feelings, He isn’t under the weather some days and so misses out on some things we did or failed to do. He remembers all that He has done for every one of us, and I dread the thought of God asking ‘didn’t I bless Mike? Why has he not returned to thank Me?’

Thankfulness is not a natural human trait, it is a characteristic that must be molded and groomed in us as individuals. No one is born thankful, we learn to be thankful. Just as little children must be taught to say ‘thank you’ to those who show them kindness, we must teach ourselves to thank our heavenly Father for all that He does for us.

Jesus, our chief example, always thanked the Father for all that He did. If Jesus took the time to pray prayers of thanks to God, ought we not to follow His example and likewise have thankful hearts toward Him?

It’s easy to excuse our absence of thanks. We’re too busy, there’s too much to do, we have bills to pay and clothes to wash and dinners to cook, but if we really wanted to, we could always find the time to thank God for everything that comes from His hand.

It need not be a long and practiced speech, it need not be the perfect moment, or the perfect place to go into a long soliloquy, we can thank God on the go, as we’re driving, as we’re working, as we’re cleaning or cooking, just as long as we thank Him with sincerity of heart as the Samaritan who returned to Jesus did.

The word of God also discusses prayers of thanks for those things which God has not yet done, but which we know, by faith that He will do on our behalf. Yes, even Jesus prayed such prayers, the most noteworthy of which is the prayer He prayed at the tomb of Lazarus.

John 11:41-42, “Then they took away the stone from the place where the dead man was lying. And Jesus lifted up His eyes and said, ‘Father, I thank You that You have heard Me. And I know that You always hear Me, but because of the people who are standing by I said this, that they maybe believe that You sent Me.”

As yet Lazarus was still dead, he was still in his tomb, and the only thing to have happened up to this point was that the stone had been taken away. Yet when Jesus prays, He does not say ‘Father, I thank you that You will hear Me’, he does not use the future tense, but rather the past tense, thanking the Father as though that which He had prayed for had already come to pass.

Even though the people standing there had not as yet seen the miracle of Lazarus’s resurrection, even though they had not as yet seen him come out of the tomb bound hand and foot with grave clothes, and his face wrapped with a cloth, Jesus thanked the Father as though this had already come to pass.

In faith we thank God for what He will do as though He has already done it. We thank Him for the work He has completed, although in the physical it has only just begun, we thank Him for the provision He has made for us, even though in the physical we are at the moment in need, because when we thank Him in faith for something that has as yet not occurred as though it already has, we are acknowledging His faithfulness and mercy toward His own.

Absence of thankfulness is also a warning sign of a deteriorating spiritual condition. If absence of thankfulness persists, and goes untreated, if it is allowed to cement itself in the heart of the individual, making it cold toward the things of God, it can even lead to apostasy in our conduct, walk and life.

Yes, it is a serious matter, and the word of God proves it out as such.

Romans 1:20-21, “For since the creation of the world His invisible attributes are clearly seen, being understood by the things that are made, even His eternal power and Godhead, so that they are without excuse, because although they knew God, they did not glorify Him as God, nor were thankful, but became futile in their thoughts, and their foolish hearts were darkened.”

One of the clear signs of the apostate, of those who become futile in their thoughts, and darkened in their foolish hearts, is absence of thankfulness, and absence of glorifying Him as God. When men cease to glorify Him as God, when men cease to be thankful toward Him, it is a slippery slope that ends in their being given up to uncleanness.

All that we are seeing today, the judgment of being given over to a reprobate mind and vile passions, is the end result of thanklessness and not glorifying Him as God.

With love in Christ,
Michael Boldea Jr.

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