Reminder of what we’re doing
For a while, the blog posts will focus on one of the scriptures in the Pray Scripture Bank. I’ll set a focus and give a sample outline, or some signposts, to guide our pray in the rain experience (see Isaiah 55:10-11 for the Word-as-rain image)
Use the outline, adapt it, or create an entirely new one from the anchor scripture. The truth avenues the Spirit opens to you in that scripture might be different to the guide below. That’s okay. Our aim is to ‘see’ a truth the Speaker is drawing attention to, and to pray responses in a way that draws our hearts into deeper agreement with him. A heart in agreement with him is at the core of prayer authority and prayer joy.
Today’s post: Admiration of the Lord through giving THANKS. Our focus: Celebrate his GOODNESS
Thanking is a celebration of God’s goodness (his Love being the fountainhead)
Thanks mentioned, or thanks unpacked?
We’re familiar with saying thanks to the Lord for blessings. We’re less familiar with unpacking our thanks. Meaning? Going beyond the brief mention of a thanks point, to a celebration that drills down into his goodness. The 1-sentence thanks is good and is an enjoyable part of pray continually mode. But it can be more; it can be the starting point for a bigger celebration.
At times giving thanks can be like naming stations as we pass by them in our bullet train. Unpacking thanks is different; it means we disembark and take time to explore the surroundings before continuing our journey.
We’ll look at 1 Thes 1 as an example before going to our Pray in the Rain anchor scripture. It’ll be a bit different to the way we did Pray in the Rain (1).
Paul tells the Thessalonian believers that he and his praying ministry team are always praying THANKS for all of you (2). Given the full apostolic ministry schedule and many prayer needs, surely that was enough? Not for Paul. Because thanks honours God’s goodness, he believes it should be done generously. So, he unpacks the thanks point for the Thes church.
What are they thanking God for? Three signs of his goodness to them: faith, love and hope (3). They add specifics: thanks for their work of faith and love, and their endurance through hope. But the prayer team do further unpacking, for added celebration of more Goodness!
What led the Thes church into faith, love and hope? Goodness of God. So, the pray-ers follow the thanksgiving thread back (4-8).
The Lord chose them; he made the first move (loud celebration here!). The Spirit’s power freed them to become imitators of Christ (more celebration!). The Lord gave them joy in suffering! He turned them from the hopelessness of idolatry to hope in Christ! He transformed them into examples to other believers!
Each of these unpacked signs of his goodness give fresh reason for thanks. And the pray-ers might have missed the bigger celebration had they simply settled for saying ‘thank you for them all’.
Our turn to Pray in the Rain
Our anchor verse is Psalm 136:1 (in the ‘Bank’ under Admiration – Thanks)
Give thanks to the Lord, for he is good. His love endures forever.
Through the singer, the Lord calls his people to celebrate his goodness by giving thanks (never forgetting that his love is the source). We’ll split the praying into 2 parts:
- Thank the Lord for his generous love that never tires of doing good to his people
- Thank him that his goodness is guaranteed to those he loves; it’s his nature, his Glory.
- Instead of thanking for personal blessings here, celebrate his goodness to an individual or group. Who will you give thanks for? Name them and mention your thanks.
Follow the example of the Pauline prayer team, going beyond mentioning thanks to unpacking it.
- What specific ‘thank points’ first come to mind concerning that individual/group; one or two things that are signs of the Lord’s goodness to them, and are reasons to give thanks? For Paul’s team, the faith, love and hope of the Thes church were the signs that stood out. Celebrate his goodness in those specific signs that have come to your mind.
- Follow the thread back. What led to the above? What did God do to bring them into the above experiences of his goodness? When Paul & co unpacked God’s goodness, they saw how he took the first step toward the Thes believers. And there was more: his Spirit’s power opened their hearts. And still more….. For those you are thanking for too, there are more layers of Goodness waiting to be unpacked and celebrated.
- How has the Lord changed their lives? Look for the signs and give thanks. Paul celebrated that lifestyle and culture had been changed – idols renounced, hearts turned.
- How are they being used to affect others? The Pauline prayer team gave thanks that the Thes church had become a testimony and example to others, near and far.
By unpacking thanks we get to see and celebrate more of the Lord’s goodness. As thanksgiving deepens, admiration of the Lord grows. And that’s the motivation: forever, we honour him by admiring him.