For the past few days instead of writing today’s post in my head I’ve been writing another post in my head. That other post is dated January 1, 2012. It’s the date on which I will have, God willing, successfully completed my pledge to post-a-day in 2011. The reason this post has been floating around in my head is because I have been quite busy lately and have had a hard time keeping up with posting every single day, especially since I generally schedule posts ahead of time to go live at 8:00 a.m. each morning. Obviously, I did not accomplish that today.
As I kneeled to pray this morning, feeling weary and out-of-sorts because I hadn’t posted today, an idea for today’s post came to me. But I didn’t have time to actually put it together until after getting home from work. It’s not much of an idea, but it’s what God gave me, so it’s what I’m going with today.
I just want to share how I start my prayers each morning, and that is with thanksgiving and praise. The first few lines, sometimes more, of my prayer always go something like this:
Heavenly Father, I praise You and worship You. I love You with all my heart. You are the Alpha and the Omega, the Beginning and the End, the Almighty. You are the Creator of all that is, both seen and unseen. I am nothing without You, I am but dust, and even the dust I am formed of would not exist if not for You. I have not words sufficient to describe You, and yet I offer what I have. You are merciful and forgiving, and I praise You for Your compassion and love for me. I thank You, Lord Jesus, for Your willing sacrifice on the cross to redeem me, to pay the ransom I could not pay. I thank You for Your Holy Spirit to guide me and give me strength and courage.
It is only after this introductory language of praise that I move into prayers of thanksgiving for specific blessings or answers to prayer, and then onto prayers for others and my own needs. On mornings when I am rushed, this introduction may be all I get to, followed by a brief “You know the people and the concerns that are on my heart, and I thank You in advance to the answers to those prayers.”
But the introductory praise is essential to my prayer life. It’s not that God is not aware of these things, or that He doesn’t know that I am aware of these things. The prayers of praise are really for me, to put me in a correct frame of mind and attitude for the remainder of my prayer time and for my whole day.
If you do not currently include such langauge of praise in your prayer time, I encourage you to borrow my prayer. Or develop your own prayer of praise to begin your daily prayers. Try it for just a week and see how it changes the rest of the day. It’s a habit worth cultivating.