How is it possible to always be thankful? How can tears of sorrow be turned into tears of joy? How do you lift your spirit from despair to hope? The answer? Thankful prayer.[featured-image single_newwindow=”false”]
You know it’s “biblical” but does that mean it’s automatically going to happen in your life? Not at all. Memorizing and quoting verses on thankfulness will not produce thankfulness. You need to practice, practice, practice!
I introduced a practice yesterday – saying The Akathist of Thanksgiving. I’ve been saying a “stanza” a day this week and am finding it powerful in bringing my heart and mind in sync with the Triune God. There are some unique phrases that will catch your attention and warm your heart.
After yesterday’s post advocating the use of The Akathist of Thanksgiving, I have two reflections:
1. We are to be thankful IN everything not necessarily for everything. My friend, facing a grave illness, can still praise God, offer thanks, and rejoice not because he’s happy about his illness but because God is still God. Focusing his heart and thoughts on God by using this hymn, helps transform his ability to deal with his situation.
No matter what you’re facing – pain, trial, overwhelming circumstances – you can lift your voice in praise. Using a Psalm or, in particular, The Akathist of Thanksgiving will enhance your ability to be thankful.
2. Prayer and Thanks are complementary in communion with God. They are a powerfully interconnected duo for all of life including the hardest of times. The Akathist of Thanksgiving is phenomenal in bringing prayer and thanks together as one (as are many of the Psalms).
I’ve grown up using the ACTS method of prayer. Prayer includes Adoration, Confession, Thanksgiving, and Supplication. In each prayer I’d try to go from “A” to “S.” As good as that was, now I’m experiencing communion with God more deeply by simply focusing on prayer and thanksgiving as one unified activity. The Akathist of Thanksgiving is an effective tool for this. The Psalms provide words like this as well.
In overwhelming circumstances, prayer must be simple. Too many “steps” will prove ineffective. Hear what St. Paul writes:
Be anxious for nothing, but in everything in prayer and supplication, with thanksgiving, let your request be made known to God. (Philippians 4.6)
Devote yourselves to prayer, being watchful and thankful. (Colossians 4.2)
Pray with thanks as you commune with God in everything and always.