This morning I found Jesus in the quiet...in between my lament and thanks, woven with confession, He was there. He is always there when we go looking for Him, is He not? He is in the still moments when we need the reassurance to keep pressing on. To guide my quiet time this morning, I grabbed my trusty "Devotional Classics" and found the page marked at a discussion of prayer, thankful prayer. I must share, in hopes that it will encourage you, as it did me, this Multitude Monday:
"In prayer itself there is not fixed order, but both a primary impulse and the experience of praying people show that the first stage may be thanksgiving. A lecturer to a group of businessmen displayed a sheet of white paper on which was one blot. He asked what they saw. All answered, 'A blot.' The test was unfair: it invited the wrong answer. Nevertheless, there is an ingratitude in human nature by which we notice the black disfigurement and forget the widespread mercy. We need deliberately to call to the mind the joys of our journey. Perhaps we should try to write down the blessings of one day. We might begin: we could never end: there are not pens or paper enough in all the world. The attempt would remind us of our 'vast treasure of content.' Therefore the prayer of thanksgiving should be quite specific: 'I thank thee for this friendship, this threat overpassed, this signal grace.' 'For all they mercies' is a proper phrase for a general collect, but not a private gratitude. If we are 'thankful for everything,' we may end by being thankful for nothing. The thanksgiving should also probe deep, asking, 'What are life's abiding mercies?' Thus gratitude would be saved from earthliness and circumstance, and rooted in Life beyond life. 'Count your many blessings,' says the old hymn, 'and it will surprise you what the Lord hath done.' This prayer should end in glad and solemn resolve: 'Lord, seal this gratitude upon my face, my words, my generous concern for my neighbors, my every outward thought and act.'" --George A. Buttrick, A Simple Regimen of Private Prayer
And for my Joy Dare, gratitude list: 3 old things seen new...
~the practice of the morning walk and prayer with my husband, thankful for his strength and protection
~the 50 year old (or more) quilt on our bed, given as a wedding gift from my parents
~photos of old friends hung in our living room, lighting the way with their hard-won victories of faithfulness
~the grace given by new friends
~lunch-time talks with my love
~good health, winning the hard battle
~Chinese tonight with a dear friend
~my hard-working husband (can I give thanks enough for him?)
~the new bloom of the paper-whites, breaking into this winter day (though it doesn't seem so in FL!)
Have a Blessed and Thankful Day!