The countdown has begun.
Today is Thursday, August 11th, and I now officially have 4 and 1/2 days remaining before my first class of the semester! I, for one, am ridiculously excited about this fact, because I am in graduate school, which means I chose to be here and thus love education. Some of you all might not be quite as psyched.
But here is where I lead into a little discussion about prayer, the actual topic of this blog. There are a lot of things in our lives that fall into the category of drudgery. In case that word is unfamiliar to you, substitute “totally boring.” We have to get up every morning, brush our teeth, eat the same old cereal, go to school or work, get home, clean up, do homework or housework, and go to bed. Yawn. I often find myself complaining about little things — a leaky faucet, the traffic on my five-minute commute to school, nothing decent to watch on TV.
Shouldn’t I instead be rejoicing about the fact that I have running water? Shouldn’t I praise God that I have a good car to get me to school — and for that matter, that I have the opportunity to go to school at all? Shouldn’t I thank my heavenly Father that I don’t have to work 18-hour days just to make enough money to buy food, and that I have some free time to watch TV in the first place?
The word “Rejoice” occurs in the Bible over 150 times, and the phrase “Give thanks” occurs 75 times! Yet, when we pray, we often rattle off a list of complaints and requests. Now, don’t get me wrong. God always wants us to be honest with him about our frustrations — the psalmist David was nothing if not honest when he complained to God. But David also spent a lot of time thanking and praising God.
Ephesians 6:18 tells us to pray “at all times,” and the Psalms are chock-full of commands to give thanks to the Lord. Give thanks to the Lord all the time! Thank God for electricity, for a warm bed, and for a healthy body when your alarm goes off at 6:15. Praise Him for a brain that works like it should and a country that provides you with a free education during math class. Rejoice in His provision of a home and a loving family when your mom tells you to take out the trash. Again. Be creative.
There’s no reason to be a sullen pray-er. Get yourself excited as you count down the days to school by praising God for everything. It just might change your attitude.