Praise, Petition, Thanksgiving

A healthcare vote is scheduled for tomorrow. I could once again list the problems with this plan or provide a series of cartoons that make the case for me. But today I choose another route.

In everything by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, let your requests be made known to God, we’re told in Scripture. Prayers come in many forms, but three manifestations work together: praise, petition, and thanksgiving.

I want to start with praise.

Lord, You are everything we need or could ever hope for. I stand in awe of Your natural attributes of omnipresence, omniscience, and eternity of being. Yet even more I praise You for Your character. You love those who don’t care a thing about You. You judge righteously yet desire to show mercy. Your magnificence is enveloped in truthfulness and humility. What is there not to love about You? Everything You do is the essence of selflessness and integrity. You are to be trusted above all things in the heavens or upon the earth.

Once we have our minds properly focused on who He is, we can come to Him with our concerns.

I turn now to petition.

Father, You have put us on this earth to carry out Your will as best we can. That’s why we speak the truth to the world and warn against that which destroys. It may seem, to some, somewhat silly to be so disturbed by a potential action of government, but for those who understand Your principles, the imposition of increasing government control over the lives of Your people is in fact disturbing. At the moment, it comes in the form of a proposed healthcare bill, but there are many such manifestations. So, Lord, in this case and in all others, we ask that You bring Your presence to bear on these decisions. You have given men free will to walk away from Your principles. We understand that. But there have been times when You have intervened to turn us away from folly. May this be one of those times.

The petition is offered. Once again it is appropriate to recognize His Lordship.

I now express thanksgiving.

No matter what may happen, I know You are still Lord. I thank you that even when we choose foolishly, You can continue to work Your will through imperfect, weak vessels. The promise remains true that if we love You, You will work things together for the good of those who are putting their trust in You. Thank You for a love that is unchanging no matter the circumstance. Thank You for caring and desiring to develop relationship with those made in Your image. Above all, thank You for being You.

While certain forms and practices can be artificial, if we understand their real meaning and purpose, they are genuine. So if I end this prayer with the simple word “Amen,” it’s not just a formality. The word means, in effect, “so be it” or “may it be.”