Nov 16, 2008

Devotional - Prayer with thanksgiving

"Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God." Php_4:6

What a word this is! "Everything!" You are privileged, saint of God, to go to the throne of God with everything. What, with every little occurrence? Yes. What, with things that people call trifles? Yes. With your daily concerns? Yes. If you feel that there is a God who can hear you, it is your privilege to go to him in everything. All things are comprehended; nothing is excluded. In everything, and that by prayer and supplication. Sometimes we pray, sometimes we supplication. 

Prayer is something more gentle than supplication, less earnest, less fervent, less powerful; yet not less effectual. I have sometimes compared prayer and supplication to two things in nature. The one to a river--a stream, such as we see in our low country that flows with gentle course to the sea; the other to the torrents found in mountainous countries, that leap from precipice to precipice. The one is the calm prayer of the soul, the other the fervent cry, the earnest supplication, the breathed agony of the spirit rushing along into the bosom of God with many a broken sigh and many an earnest groan. 

Here the two seem contrasted. There is prayer, calm and gentle, the simple pouring out of the soul into the bosom of God; and then there is supplication, which is earnest, and calls upon the Lord as though the soul must be heard. We see it in the blessed Jesus himself. We read on one occasion that he went into a mountain the whole night to pray. Now we have no reason to believe he prayed on that occasion in the same way that he prayed in the garden and upon the cross. In the one case he had sweet union and communion with his Father; in the other he cried with groans and tears and was heard. The one was prayer; the other supplication. 

When your soul is calmed by the presence of God, and you feel the breath of prayer to enter your bosom, then you can pray to the Lord with sweetness and with spirit. But there are times and seasons when the soul, under the attacks of Satan and a terrible sense of guilt and shame, is obliged to cry as one that must be heard, and that is supplication. But there is another thing which is to be mingled with it, and a thing much omitted, and that is thanksgiving. These are the three constituents of a spiritual service--prayer, supplication, and thanksgiving.