September 25, 2017

Prayerful Thanks

Philippians 4:4-7

Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God.

—  Philippians 4:6

Prayer is first about awe, realizing that the God who created and sustains the world also listens to us as we pray. Truly, the sovereign God hears our prayers and cares deeply about our lives.

Prayer orients us. When we bring God our thoughts, praise, petitions, laments, and gratitude—we are orienting ourselves to reality. In other words, we are acknowledging and naming the truth that God is Creator and we are his creatures. God reigns over all, and we are fully dependent on him. We are weak, but he is strong. God is the giver, and we are receivers.

A phone call in the middle of the night impressed this truth on me. My husband and I were in Mozambique. Back home, my sister had given birth to premature twins. The situation was critical. Overwhelmed with feelings of helplessness that I had not known before, I saw how dependent we are on God. Though I could not physically help in this situation, I could pour out my heart to the listening, all-powerful God.

The Heidelberg Catechism tells us that prayer is necessary because it is the most important part of our thankfulness to God. Even in times of trouble, knowing that God cares and wants to carry our burdens of sorrow and pain gives us a reason to give thanks.

So give thanks today in prayer. God is listening, and he cares.

Listening God, thank you for listening to us in love. Inspire us to pray. In Jesus’ name, Amen.

About the author — Ruth Boven

Ruth Boven serves as minister of congregational life at LaGrave Ave. CRC in Grand Rapids, Michigan. She and her husband, Greg, have two adult children. They find rich purpose in urban ministry and delight in enjoying the wonders of God's good creation.

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