A popular prayer sign off at the midweek prayer services I used to attend as a kid went something like this: “We’ll be sure to thank You, God, and give You all the glory.” To my childish mind, it sounded sort of like a spiritual-sounding bribe—basically, God, if You’ll answer the prayer I just prayed, I promise to do some good PR for You. I never knew if people actually fulfilled their part of the bargain or not.
I don’t believe I’ve ever used the phrase in my own prayers. And I hadn’t even thought about it for years, probably decades. But, out of nowhere, it came back to me the other day as I was getting ready for Thanksgiving.
It occurred to me that God had answered tons of my prayers this year. But I hadn’t really paused very long to thank Him. Instead, with maybe just a quick “thanks, God,” I’ve returned my focus to the prayers that I’m still waiting for His response on—the “perseverance required” kinds of prayers.
But God deserves more than that. So I’ve been taking some time to intentionally call to mind all the different ways God has answered prayer this year. For instance, He . . .
. . . worked out a life situation for a friend’s daughter . . . protected me from a really close call while traveling overseas . . . husbanded me countless times when the single life was overwhelming . . . brought anointed partners to do ministry with . . . inspired countless writing projects . . . gave wisdom in decision making . . . put a friend’s son back onto a straight path . . . started a church in a city I care about. . . worked in friends’ marriages . . . revealed Jesus to a refugee family . . . provided meaningful work to an unemployed friend . . . gave me faith to trust Him in a new spiritual challenge . . . sold a co-worker’s home in record time . . .
These are just a few. If I were to make a regular practice of intentionally noticing and acknowledging God for all the prayers of mine He’s answered, I am pretty sure that every day would be Thanksgiving Day. And I imagine doing that would indeed bless Him and give Him glory. And I know it would bless me! So here’s a prayer I hope He will answer:
Father, give me an attentive heart that sees You at work and notices every time You answer. Make me truly grateful. And as I seek to intentionally thank You for the many ways You hear and answer, may You indeed receive all the glory!