“Enter his gates with thanksgiving and his courts with praise; give thanks to him and praise his name” (Psalm 100:4).
Prayer is always personal even when offered in public. It is an expression of relationship between persons. Jesus’ intimate conversation with the Father often spilled over into His public life and ministry. When our lives are filled with prayer this will happen to us as well.
Praise—“I thank You, Father, Lord of heaven and earth, that You have hidden these things from the wise and prudent and have revealed them to babes” (Mt. 11:25). In the middle of a sermon Jesus’ hidden dialogue with the Father is revealed when He can no longer contain the praise that is in His heart over the gracious work of the Father. True praise erupts when we have eyes to see and ears to hear the activity and voice of our Father. The personal forms of prayer lead to this public expression of passion.
Thanksgiving—“Father, I thank You that You have heard Me” (Jn. 11:41). It would be unfathomable to picture Jesus, the only Son of God, as anything but overflowing with gratitude to the Father He is so intimate with. In addition to thankfulness at meals (Jn. 6:11; Mt. 26;26), more significant was Jesus grateful responsiveness to the Father’s work and listening ear. The raising of Lazarus was in response to Jesus’ petition and even before the request was fulfilled Jesus’ gratitude was expressed, knowing that He had been heard.
Passion in prayer gives the settled assurance that we have been heard without having to see the answer enacted. It is an example of the mature faith of believing without seeing, of living by faith not by sight.
Father, my heart is filled with gratitude for Your goodness in my life! Your praise is always on my lips for You have blessed me beyond anything I could ever think or imagine! May I never miss an opportunity to lift up Your name as I walk by faith and not by sight.
–Adapted from Giving Ourselves to Prayer: An Acts 6:4 Primer for Ministry (Chapter 23, Jesus as a Role Model of Personal Passion in Prayer by Howard Baker). This book is available at prayershop.org. Use the code CONPSP3 at checkout to receive an additional 10% discount.
Praise God for his great mercy. Thank God for forgiving you and bringing you back after failure and rebellion (Zech. 8:7-8). Confess times of presuming on his patience and mercy. Commit yourself to consistent obedience from a heart of gratitude for God’s forgiveness. Ask him to forgive your debts as you have forgiven your debtors, and to lead you not into temptation but to deliver you from evil.
Pray that the unsaved in your network of relationships will be won to the Prince of Peace by seeing fallen Christians restored. Ask God to show them his healing through the mending of your own life.